Chancellor’s Academic Professional Excellence awards honor University staff accomplishments


Brian Bauer

Chancellor Robert Jones speaks at the sesquicentennial celebration at the Krannert Center on Feb. 28. Seven University faculty members were awarded the 2017 Chancellor’s Academic Professional Excellence Award.

By Daily Illini Staff Report

Seven academic professionals were honored with the 2017 Chancellor’s Academic Professional Excellence awards at a reception on April 6.

Lisa Burgoon, Gavin Horn, Charles Murphy, Samuel Panno, Norma Scagnoli, Angela Wolters and Tim Yardley were recognized for their work and personal achievements.

The Chancellor’s Academic Professional Excellence award honors the accomplishments and contributions of academic professionals who perform vital functions for the campus community.

Each recipient is awarded a total of $4,000, — a $2,000 award,   a $1,000 increase in their base salaries and a $1,000 budget for their departments.

Gavin Horn, director of research at the Illinois Fire Service Institute, said he was proud to receive the honor.

He is not sure how he will utilize the award money.

Horn has secured and executed over $12.5 million in grants for the University and the institute.

The Illinois Fire Service Institute is the statutory training academy for the state as well as a unit of one of the Research 1 institutions in the country, Horn said in an email.

The institute utilizes staff and collaborators with unrivaled scientific and firefighting knowledge.

“In recent years, we have impacted our curriculum, both in terms of lecture and hands-on drills, with new course offerings and our own policies such as hygiene and hydration,” Horn said.

Horn said that the most rewarding aspect of his position is the opportunity to work with incredible minds from many different disciplines.

He was touched to have been nominated by someone on his team.

“I sometimes feel like I’ve been in a 13-year post-doc appointment,” Horn said. “One day we could be working with some of the top mechanical engineering researchers and the next with the leading research groups on cardiovascular health in exercise science or industrial hygienists.”

In each case, the institute has prepared firefighters for their profession with as much information as possible.

Horn said that the applied nature of the work allows them to teach firefighters what the complicated information means to their lives, and so it can be implemented to improve health, safety and effectiveness.

“I’m incredibly proud of receiving the award, particularly considering the company in the room yesterday,” Horn said. “I appreciate the University having such awards for academic professionals.”

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