For information on the University of Iowa’s response to COVID-19, please visit the Campus Coronavirus Updates website.

IMU recognizes staff for 2020 IMU Values Awards

Congrats to the IMU Values Awards 2020 Recipients (images of recipients listed below)


Annually, the Iowa Memorial Union recognizes staff and students from the organization who embody one of the five IMU values throughout the year. The five values include: relationships, inclusion, ingenuity, performance and student success. Beginning in 2019, awards were presented to both staff and student employees. For more information visit imu.uiowa.edu/about/mission-values-and-vision/

John Cory

Assistant Director • Guest and Event Services

Relationships Award: Collaborating with and caring about students, alumni, and campus & community partners

Regardless of the request or last-minute challenge, John provides exemplary customer service to the public, university departments, and most importantly – our students. In his role as assistant director for Event Services, John has built important relationships across the University that allow for creative collaborations and a consistent experience of programming and event planning for our campus partners. To guarantee the best outcome, for both the customer and their guest, John’s attention to the big picture and finishing touches ensures the difference between an “ok” and “highly successful” event. Of significant note, John’s leadership and collaboration has directly increased revenue from wedding events, allowing the IMU to better support student focused initiatives and programs. No matter the request, John’s always friendly, “can-do” demeanor is a positive influence on his team and the IMU as a whole.

Brandon Vacco

Des Moines, Iowa • Major: graphic design • Student Life Marketing and Design

Relationships Award: Collaborating with and caring about students, alumni, and campus & community partners

Brandon has worked as a student graphic designer for Student Life Marketing and Design for three years. During his time creating for the Division he has been a positive unifying force for our entire team. He is consistently considerate of others, thoughtful in his client relationships, and always looking for ways to build community across campus. He has forged impactful networks with past alumni, gained opportunities by the bonds he’s built from campus connections, as well as he’s always ready to provide a good laugh for all who will listen. His humor, candor, care, and kindness, make him a joy for all who have the pleasure to know him. He most recently worked with the Center for Advancement to hand illustrate a giant traveling photo backdrop that highlights all of the key areas of our institution and shouts IOWA pride!

Alex Linden

Former AmeriCorps Vista for Leadership, Service, and Civic Engagement • Leadership, Service, and Civic Engagement

Inclusion Award: Affirming and celebrating all backgrounds and personal identities through inclusive and equitable policies, programs, services, and spaces

Through his leadership in Leadership, Service, and Civic Engagement Alex has centered the voices and experiences of marginalized people in his efforts to build inclusive and equitable polices, programs, services, and spaces. In the face of the COVID-19 Pandemic, Alex worked with a dedicated group of student leaders to assess rising need around food insecurity and advocated strongly to re-open services from the University of Iowa Food Pantry. In the face of the panic, frustration, and loss that was brought on by this pandemic Alex assured vulnerable members of our community had a place to rely on for safe, healthy, and diverse food resources. Alex’s humble leadership and service through these past few months are a strong demonstration of his commitments to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Charlotte Lenkaitis

Ames, Iowa • Leadership, Service, and Civic Engagement • Major: Global health studies and Spanish, with a minor in environmental policy & planning

Inclusion Award: Affirming and celebrating all backgrounds and personal identities through inclusive and equitable policies, programs, services, and spaces

Through her work as both a student employee in the Office of Leadership, Service, and Civic Engagement and the Executive Director of the Food Pantry at Iowa , Charlotte Lenkaitis has been an invaluable leader on campus in promoting inclusion and equity. As an employee in the Office of Leadership, Service, and Civic Engagement, Charlotte plays a vital role in connecting all students with various service opportunities in the community and promoting civic engagement more broadly on campus. As the Executive Director of the Food Pantry at Iowa, she has diminished food insecurity by expanding access to free, nutritious food to hundreds of University students, faculty, and staff. In each and every one of her pursuits, Charlotte remains committed to uplifting all communities through excellence in her work.

Jose Recendez

Creative Coordinator • Student Life Marketing and Design

Ingenuity Award: Nurturing and supporting a culture of creativity that feeds imagination and meaningful discovery.

As a Creative Coordinator within Student Life Marketing + Design , Jose approaches his work with a fresh perspective, and infuses his creative talents in all he does. His positive and inventive outlook allows him to solve difficult design challenges with ease. He is imaginative in his approach and inspires students and staff to think outside the box. One of his biggest projects to date was the creation of the Iowa Hawk Shop vinyl store wrap, which has completely reimagined the customer experience when approaching the store. He leads by example and his kindness and creativity pushes those around him to discover the best within themselves.

Colin Lakadat

Pontiac, Illinois • Major: economics • Student Life Marketing and Design

Ingenuity Award: Nurturing and supporting a culture of creativity that feeds imagination and meaningful discovery.

As a Student Technician in our Apple Service Center , Colin has far outperformed the expectations for his position. He has used his unique ingenuity to develop processes, create forms, and suggest valuable improvements that have allowed the service operation to run much smoother and more efficiently. As a fully certified Apple Technician, Colin has already acquired the skillset to become a professional in that profession if he so chooses. This, in and of itself, is quite an accomplishment for a student employee, not to mention one as busy and involved in campus life as he is. Colin is also always willing to help in any part of the store, stepping in where needed and taking on some of the most difficult tasks. All in all, Colin is an invaluable member of our staff, and his creativity and work ethic are worth emulating.

Lori Husmann

Storekeeper III • Iowa Hawk Shop

Performance Award: Expecting and achieving a safe environment; strong, ethical business practices; and consistent, exceptional hospitality.

Performance can be defined by accomplishing a task, fulfilling a request, being efficient or exhibiting a certain behavior. Lori’s performance as the manager of our Web Fulfillment operation far exceeds this definition. When the COVID-19 shutdown occurred on campus, and commencements were moved online, Lori took it to heart and embraced how important caps, gowns and tassels are to seniors and wanted each student to have a little piece of achievement, during a very difficult, confusing and emotionally upsetting time. Lori along with the assistance from Hawk Shop warehouse staff were able to pick and process 3253 web orders for a total of $273,695. In comparison the same time frame a year ago with a full staff the Hawk Shop processed 1457 orders. We are excited for Lori to be recognized for the IMU Value Award of Performance, and proud to say we have the privilege to work alongside her .

Michael Cluchey

Warrenville, Illinois • Major: civil engineering • Guest and Event Services

Performance Award: Expecting and achieving a safe environment; strong, ethical business practices; and consistent, exceptional hospitality.

Over the past seven months, Michael has stepped up to lead the Iowa Memorial Union (IMU) student maintenance team during the absence of our full-time mechanic, Patrick Dolphin-Leahy. Simply put, Michael came into work, took over the department workload, and supervised student employees – all while keeping the IMU from falling behind on the everyday needs of our building users. During this time, Michael has demonstrated exceptional attention to detail that has earned him tremendous respect from staff, students, and guests of the IMU. While most of Michael's work at the IMU is cosmetic, he has also played an important role in reporting any issues with our main utility systems to Facilities Management. In addition, he has worked to maintain the spaces and operations of our UI Cultural Centers on the west side of campus. Because of his initiative, Michael has saved the IMU thousands of dollars, but more importantly is well deserving of our deep gratitude and thanks for his leadership.

Colton Smith

Coordinator • Student Life Human Resources

Student Success Award: Creating and promoting inclusive educationally purposeful programs and services, as well as fun activities

Colton consistently demonstrates a strong desire to learn, eagerly volunteers for new (and sometimes stretch) assignments, and genuinely wants to be of assistance to whomever needs it – whether student employees or regular full-time staff.  He is professional, yet approachable and friendly.  He also places a high value in going above and beyond with his customer service (as well as the student employees that report to him), all while maintaining a positive and growth-oriented approach.  Colton has been actively involved and looks forward to any student employment activity such as Student Employee Appreciation Week, UH&D’s Early Move-In Program, Job Fairs, and listening sessions.

Regan Smock

Coggon, Iowa • Major: sociology with a minor in Spanish • Dean of Students Office, Undergraduate Student Government

Student Success Award: Creating and promoting inclusive educationally purposeful programs and services, as well as fun activities

Regan demonstrates a strong commitment to students, and their success, through her advocacy efforts and involvement in University Student Government, and the excellent service she provided as a Hawkeye Guide, and as a student employee in Dean of Students Office and Office of the State Archeologist. Regan has gained the trust of those she works by adapting to an ever changing, fast-paced environment; she remains calm and collected when multiple calls, projects, or people require her attention. In case it’s not totally obvious to you– Regan is one of the most organized, efficient, and professional students you will encounter on campus. Above all, Regan treats others with genuine care and empathy and is dedicated to the well-being of her fellow students.