Four Employees Receive Presidential Award

President Richard H. Brodhead on Wednesday honored four staff members with the Presidential Award for outstanding service in 2011.

Among them are James Hildebrand, medical technologist and supervisor at the Duke Allergy Lab, and Cynthia A. Sherwood, program coordinator for education at the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences.

The award is one of the highest honors given to Duke staff and faculty. It recognizes employees who have made distinctive contributions in various job categories to Duke University and Duke University Health System in the past year.

“In every one of the thousands of units that make up the university, there are people who lead the effort in bringing the highest competence, the highest imagination, the highest pride in service to their work. That’s what it takes to make a great university,” Brodhead said. “I could not be more grateful for the quality of work you have done and the luster you each bring to Duke University.”

In addition to the four Presidential Award winners, Brodhead recognized 13 Meritorious Award winners. Presidential Award winners receive a Presidential Award Medallion and a check for $1,000. Meritorious Award winners receive a plaque and $100.


James Hildebrand
Medical technologist and supervisor
Duke Allergy Lab, Duke Medicine

James Hildebrand keeps a spreadsheet on which he tracks how many vials of allergy vaccine his lab has formulated in the 27 years he’s been there. He’s closing on 120,000.

Hildebrand, the supervisor of the Duke Allergy Lab, oversees the formulation of customized allergen vaccines. These vaccines contain small amounts of the allergy-inducing substance designed to help a patient develop a tolerance for allergy-inducing substances without provoking life-threatening allergic reactions.

Long before Duke Medicine adopted electronic records, Hildebrand led the development of software that simplified the vaccine formulation process, reducing the risk of overdoses. As computer capability advanced, he spearheaded efforts to allow physicians to enter the vaccine formulas directly into the computer, further reducing opportunity for medical errors.

Dr. John Sundy, medical director of the Allergy Lab, said Hildebrand’s expertise in allergy and immunotherapy is recognized within and beyond the walls of Duke. “He lectures frequently to fellows and residents in the Allergy training program at Duke and is often consulted by allergists, lab managers, scientific personnel in industry and other professional groups,” Sundy wrote in the award nomination. “He effectively bridges the interface between physicians, nurses, technicians and patients.”


Michael W. Golden
General maintenance mechanic
Duke Marine Lab


Mother Nature made Michael Golden’s job a bit more difficult last year.

When a snowstorm left six inches of snow on the Marine Lab in January 2011, Golden stayed at the lab through the night to clear sidewalks and ensure students were safe. Before Hurricane Irene slammed into the North Carolina Coast in August, Golden helped prepare the Marine Lab and was one of the first to return to the island to start cleaning up, despite the fact that his own home had also borne the brunt of the storm.

Golden, a general maintenance mechanic, handles everything from unclogging a toilet to ensuring the pumps that provide seawater to the turtles, octopus, shrimp and crabs in the research building operate smoothly.

“A culture of outstanding performance is set by example,” said nominator Cindy Lee Van Dover, director of the Marine Lab. “Mike Golden sets the standard very high.”

Clerical/Office Support

Cynthia A. Sherwood
Program coordinator for education
Duke Institute for Brain Sciences


When Duke agreed to start an undergraduate Neuroscience major in 2010, the implementation committee predicted that it would eventually attract at least 30 majors. Now in its third year, the vibrant program of study has 176 majors and 32 minors.

At the hub of all this activity is Cindy Sherwood, program coordinator for education. The growing complexity of the program has drawn Sherwood into new budgetary, assessment and supervisory responsibilities that she somehow squeezes into days already filled with inquiries from pre-majors, prospective students, current students and alumni of the program.

“Cindy has worked energetically, creatively, and productively to make the undergraduate neuroscience program one of the University’s top undergraduate programs,” said nominator Elizabeth Johnson, associate director of the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences, which administers the major. “Importantly, Cindy ensures that all allied departments and faculty, whether in Arts & Sciences, Pratt, Nicholas or the School of Medicine, know that they are integral partners in the major.”


 Ellen Wilbur
Director of the Executive MBA Programs
Fuqua School of Business


As the Fuqua School of Business embarked on its new international business initiative, the Executive MBA program was faced with the challenge of delivering three newly designed programs for 650 students in five new locations around the world.

Ellen Wilbur, director of the Executive MBA Programs, stepped up to the challenge. She helped reorganize the staff for the Weekend Executive, Global Executive and Cross Continent programs into one highly functioning staff. She oversaw the startup of programs in India, the Middle East, Russia, England and China. She even helped negotiate a solution in which working professional students could participate in the annual men’s basketball campout.

Her most lasting impact, however, has been on the way the staff support each other, according to John Gallagher, associate dean for the Executive MBA Programs.

“Ellen is inherently collaborative and team-centric, and she rarely, if ever, seeks credit for her individual accomplishments,” wrote Gallagher in a letter supporting Wilbur’s nomination. “As a result, she has created space for everyone else to grow and contribute at a time when it is needed most.”

Meritorious Award Winners

  • Margaret Brown, Perkins Library – Communications
  • LaMonica L. Hunter, Durham Regional Hospital – Special Care Nursery
  • James M. Doherty, Facilities Management
  • Tawynna Gordon, Radiology
  • Nicole H. Greeson, Occupational & Environmental Safety Office
  • Elizabeth Johnson, Duke Institute for Brain Sciences
  • Melissa Pascoe, Thompson Writing Program
  • LaDonna E. Worrell, DHTS – Customer Support Services
  • Valerie W. Abbott, Immunology
  • April G. Deal, Radiology
  • Kathryn B. Kwarciak, Athletics
  • Donna Page, Medical Staff Services
  • Carol Rush, Divinity School – External Relations

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