Stevens Institute of Technology’s Student Government Association surprised a pair of Howe School professors on April 27 with distinguished awards handed out annually by the association.
Neither Dr. Ann Murphy, the associate dean of undergraduate studies for Howe, nor Dr. Don Lombardi, a distinguished industry associate professor, were expecting to be honored when students encouraged them to attend the brunch at which the awards were handed out. Both, however, said they were touched to be recognized by their own students.
“I think what meant the most is that it came from students, because that’s what we’re here for,” said Murphy, who received the Leadership Excellence Award, presented to those at the dean level or higher who demonstrate exemplary community leadership. “The idea that they’d notice what I do is amazing.”
Ashley Tomasura, a junior studying Business and Technology who is SGA vice president, nominated Murphy for the award after observing her commitment to the Howe School’s nascent program with EY, in which top students take an independent study course on consulting. Freshmen and sophomores apply to the program, which is partially facilitated by EY.
“I felt very strongly about giving the award to someone who can create these real-life experiences for us. That’s what our education is all about,” Tomasura said. “She takes time to meet with each student and see what their ultimate goals are.”
Tomasura, who accepted an internship at EY for the summer, said Murphy also has a deep professional network that “she’s eager to put to work for students.”
Lombardi, meanwhile, was honored with the Community Engagement Award, which is given to any faculty or staff member who is particularly devoted to the community. Lombardi has worked with Stevens students on a number of community initiatives, including the Stevens Healthcare Educational Partnership; the university’s veterans programs; the Heart to Heart Drive that coordinated a Sandy relief effort in Asbury Park; and SAT Max, an affordable test prep course offered for students in impoverished districts.
He was the “perfect” recipient, Tomasura said.
“His work with the veterans programs at Stevens deserves so much more recognition. His work with veterans shows his valor and love for those who’ve served our country,” she said. “Being a leader for all these projects shows he’s such a kindhearted individual who wants to do well for the community.”
Lombardi was touched by the honor from students, also, which he said “shows how big their hearts are.”
“Every place we went with these four big projects, people would say, ‘You know what, Doc, we knew these kids were smart, but now we know they’re really good kids.’ And that’s why that award meant a lot to me. Each and every time, when the going gets tough, these kids get going.”