CSC News

May 11, 2023

Richards Named 2022-2023 CSC Person of Exceptional Performance (PEP)

The NC State Department of Computer Science is pleased to present the 2022-2023 “Person of Exceptional Performance” (PEP) Award to Donna Richards, Assistant Director of Research Administration.


The PEP Award, launched by the department in 2018, is intended to recognize faculty or staff who have exhibited truly outstanding performance, contributing significantly to the department’s success as role models for what it means to ‘think and do the extraordinary’. The recognition includes a custom acrylic plaque and a cash award. Richards becomes the department’s 6th winner of the PEP Award joining Dr. Thomas Price (2022), Dr. Lina Batestilli (2021), Leslie Rand-Pickett (2020), Dr. Sarah Heckman (2019) and Ken Tate (2018).  


Since joining the Department’s Contracts and Grants (C&G) office in 2016, Richards has been an integral part of the team, always giving everything she has to the job.  When Ann Hunt, our previous Contracts and Grants Manager, retired at the end of 2021, Richards gave some thought to the manager position and decided that it was not for her, but agreed to fill the role temporarily until a replacement could be found.  That temporary sacrifice went on far longer than anyone would have expected, ending only when we were able to hire Petya Radey as our Director of Research Administration -- more than 9 months later -- in October of 2022.


The intervening time was particularly stressful because the C&G office was understaffed, faculty were submitting new grant proposals at record rates, and research expenditures were at a record high. But Richards hung in there, even though it meant canceling vacations, working from home in the evenings, and generally being on the front line handling all the stresses that the C&G group had to face.  In fact, Richards’ sacrifice did not end with the hiring of Radey, because she took on the role of helping Radey learn the processes and procedures associated with the manager’s role – which has now been changed to “Director of Research Administration” -- and she continues to do that.


Richards was recognized for her efforts as an “Outstanding Administrative Staff Member” by being named one of the winners of “The Carla Savage Award” for Fall 2022.


Department Head Dr. Gregg Rothermel said, “I do not know how we could possibly have gotten through to today, in the shape we are in, without Donna’s devotion to the Department and to the Contracts and Grants group. Her insistence on giving everything she had to the job, at a time when it took absolutely everything a person could give to do the job, makes her truly a “Person of Exceptional Performance.”  Donna, you have my thanks, the thanks of a grateful faculty, and I’m sure the thanks of those in the C&G group, for all that you have done and all that you continue to do for the Computer Science Department.”


For her sacrificial efforts to “do whatever it takes to get the job done” in the Computer Science Department’s Contracts and Grants office, the department is honored to recognize Donna Richards as our 2022-2023 Person of Exceptional Performance Award winner.




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