University of New Orleans President John Nicklow announced the winners of the annual University Awards during his fall 2021 State of the University address.
The winner of the 2021 Cooper Mackin Medallion is Marco Perez, the longtime general manager of the UNO Lakefront Arena. The Mackin Medallion, established to honor UNO’s third chancellor, is awarded to a faculty or staff member who has made outstanding contributions in support of the University’s mission. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Lakefront Arena was forced to cancel all existing concerts, performances and events.
“Marco and his team pivoted to set up the arena as a site for COVID testing and then vaccinations and, now, both,” Nicklow said. “The Lakefront Arena has been a true university and community asset during the pandemic.”
History professor James Mokhiber is the winner of the 2021 Gordon H. “Nick” Mueller International Leadership Medallion. The award is named for the former faculty member, administrator and co-founder of the National WWII Museum. It is bestowed upon an individual who has provided significant leadership toward the internationalization of the University.
“Dr. Mokhiber has been a pillar of the UNO International Studies Program, and he serves as the adviser to the award-winning Model United Nations Club at UNO, which benefits from his commitment, expertise and leadership,” Nicklow said.
The President’s Award for Advancement in Diversity and Inclusion recognizes an employee, team or administrative unit that has demonstrated measurable impact and leadership in two ways: improving UNO’s profile as an institution that fosters racial equity and belonging, and advancing the University’s core values of diversity, equity and inclusion. The 2021 award winner is Tim Duncan, vice president for athletics and recreation.
“Tim has been both a leader in diversity, equity and inclusion on campus, in the Southland Conference and nationally,” Nicklow said. “He has crafted a strategic plan with the goal of the Athletic Department becoming leaders in inclusive excellence. And he’s helped shepherd the Privateers 4 Equality initiative.”
The Presidential Staff Medallion is awarded to the staff member who has demonstrated outstanding service to the University community. In a departure from tradition, Nicklow bestowed the 2021 award upon members of the University’s COVID-19 Task Force, as opposed to a single staff member.
The winners are David Richardson, director of environmental health and safety; Sherri Ganucheau, risk management coordinator; Carolyn Golz, associate vice president and dean of students; Tina Johnson, associate provost for faculty and diversity affairs; and Adam Norris, chief communications officer and strategic adviser to the president.
“For months, this group met weekly and sometimes twice a week to plan, pivot and advise on operations, and they are still meeting to this day,” Nicklow said. “I can’t tell you how much I’ve appreciated their advice and guidance through the last 18 months.”