One of the highest honors given to Duke faculty and staff each year, the awards were presented by President Richard Brodhead at a ceremony at the Washington Duke Inn and Golf Club Wednesday afternoon. This year's recipients are Candy Durant, supervisor at the Duke Eye Center sterile processing unit; Stan Paskoff, data processing specialist at the Sanford School of Public Policy; James Roberts, executive vice provost for finance and administration; Stuart Wells, administrative assistant in the Office of News and Communications; and Philip Wright, computer project manager for undergraduate admissions.

"In each of these categories, one person was chosen by the winners from last year to receive the very highest honor," Brodhead said at the awards ceremony, according to a Duke News press release. "These are people who receive presidential awards. They represent the kind of devoted work that allows Duke to be such a special place."

Several coworkers praised each of the award recipients for a variety of qualities.

Durant was noted for her attention to detail and work ethic—ensuring safety for doctors and patients in her cataloging of surgical instruments.

Colleagues praised Paskoff for both his problem-solving skills and his ability to connect with others.

"People in the school feel cared for, and Stan is one of the primary reasons," said Sanford Dean Kelly Brownell in the Duke News release.

Roberts has played a key role in the establishment of Duke Kunshan University, particularly in his management of the school's budget. Provost Peter Lange praised Roberts for his commitment and ability to motivate others.

Wells was noted for his work ethic, sorting through dozens of pieces of news on Duke each day.

"Stu is absolutely critical to the success of our office," Keith Lawrence, executive director of news and communications, said in the Duke News release. "As our name suggests, we're in the business of communication, and Stu, as much as anybody else in the organization, provides both the voice with which we speak and the eyes and ears with which we sense how we're being received."

Finally, Wright was praised for software he wrote that allows for the office of undergraduate admissions to process increasing numbers of applications at a higher speed.