Tracey Keister, retired office manager in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering in the College of Engineering, has received the 2012 Staff Career Achievement Award. Keister retired in 2011 after 11 years of service to the department.

Created in 2011 to recognize retiring staff members, the Staff Career Achievement Award is presented annually to up to five individuals who have distinguished themselves through exemplary performance and service during their university career. Nominees must have served a minimum of 10 years at Virginia Tech. Each recipient is awarded a $1,000 cash prize.

Keister joined the department in 1999 after she retired from the U.S. Navy, where she served for more than 20 years. In the nearly 12 years that Keister worked in the department, she was an invaluable member of its operations.

“Tracey’s skills in communication and organization reflected her military background and allowed her to multitask effectively, no matter with whom she was working,” said one nominator. “Her professionalism always showed, ensuring that everyone’s needs were met during their short visits or years of study.”

During her tenure, Keister was in contact with any group or individual with which the department collaborated, coordinated, or responded to for any reason. She served as chair of the College Association for Staff Engineering.

“As with everything else she did, her performance in this position was exemplary, exhibiting the highest level of professionalism and courtesy toward her peers,” another nominator said.

Keister was in charge of such details as textbook ordering and coordinating with faculty and staff to complete required university documentation. She also coordinated visits by dignitaries, seminar speakers, advocacy board members, international students, and administrators. She worked closely with the department head, ensuring that the myriad of documentation and meeting coordination were handled with ease. She also ensured that students, faculty members, and visitors were given the appropriate time and attention of the department head and additional staff.

“As chair of the department’s advisory board, I have often called upon Tracey for logistical and administrative support for our annual board meeting,” said Warren White, chair of the department’s external advisory board. “From managing hotel accommodations to helping with the difficult task of coordinating the scheduling needs of 10 or more attendees at each meeting, I have been supported as if Tracey were my office manager. I am proud of the high percentage of attendance at these board meetings, and I am convinced that, without the support of Tracey and her team, they would not have been as successful as they were.”

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.

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