The Dean’s Excellence Awards are the highest honor bestowed annually by SPS to exceptional members of the community. Our graduating students, faculty, administrators, and alumni leadership were invited to submit nominations in five categories: Student, Faculty, Alumni, Administrator, and Team Impact. Here are this year's winners.
Dean’s Excellence Award: Student
Hezekiah Williams is the winner of the Dean’s Excellence Award in the student category.
Hezekiah graduated from Jackson State University with a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering and is one of this year’s HBCU Fellows. While pursuing his Master of Science in Sustainability Management, he served on the SPS Student Government and the DEIA Committee. After graduating, Hezekiah will join the Ph.D. program in Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Notre Dame.
His nominators said that Hezekiah exemplifies the mission of the School. He was praised for being a dependable leader who always goes above and beyond, and for being an inspiration to others in all his efforts to make an impact here at Columbia.
Dean’s Excellence Award: Alumni
The winner of the Dean’s Excellence Award in the alumni category is Daniel Cahill, a 2020 graduate of the M.S. in Enterprise Risk Management program.
Dan holds a bachelor’s in Marine Engineering from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. As a commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve, Dan serves as an intelligence and information warfare officer. He is also a career U.S. government civilian employee, and works to prevent the illicit transfer of sensitive technologies to foreign actors. As a former nuclear engineer, he serves as an expert on nuclear-related matters.
Dan’s nominations extolled his accomplishments in the Navy, where he has been applying value-based enterprise risk management in his influence and daily work. He has been recognized for developing a big-data solution for identifying risk within the Navy. Dan has been an active alumnus, always volunteering to speak with incoming and current students and share his professional expertise, and is currently a course associate for the ERM capstone.
Dean’s Excellence Award: Faculty
The winner of the Dean’s Excellence Award in the faculty category is Steven Safier, Ph.D., the program director of our Master of Science in Human Capital Management.
Steve is a change management and turnaround authority. He began his business career consulting for HayGroup, and was then hired by one of his clients—the Subway Franchisee Advertising Fund Trust—to build out the marketing and advertising capability for Subway restaurants around the world. Steve has a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, and enjoys speaking on implementing business strategy through organization structure, role clarity, and personal and team behavior.
His nominators praised Steve for his commitment to teaching and for always aiming to meet the needs of his students. He is known for instilling the highest level of quality throughout all aspects of the Human Capital Management program. Steve is beloved by his colleagues and his students for his teaching skills, his caring leadership, as well as his kindness and sense of humor.
Dean’s Excellence Award: Administrator
The winner of the Dean’s Excellence Award in the administrator category is Director of Student Wellness Danielle Pompili.
Danielle has dedicated her career to supporting student mental health and wellness. Before joining SPS, Danielle served as a counselor at Texas A&M University. She holds an Ed.M. in Mental Health Counseling and an M.A. in Psychological Counseling from Teachers College, and a B.A. in Psychology from the University at Albany.
Danielle’s nominators commended her for being an incredible advocate for our students. One said, “there is literally no problem she hasn’t heard and nothing she shies away from.” She has established a deep sense of safety at SPS, and works closely with students through their most challenging circumstances with empathy, compassion, and absolute professionalism.
Dean’s Excellence Award: Team Impact
The Team Impact Award honors an SPS administrative team that has worked across units to successfully implement a new initiative, program, or project over the academic year that positively impacted the School beyond their team.
The winner of this year’s Team Impact Award is the Career and Communication Accelerator Project team: Kelly Ahn, Brandon Alexander, Shana Childs, Domi Enders, Debbie Lambert, Karen McFadden, Mary Pickett, Chris Rugen, Shelley Saltzman, Diane Spizzirro, David Taylor-Tumilty, and Matthew van Hellen.
This project team collaborated across departments to launch a new course focused on advancing the professional language skills of our students who study English. Nominators praised this project team for working all hours, from ideation to launch. One said the team was “a shining example of expert collaboration, agile project management, and steadfast dedication to the school's mission and vision.”
The 2022 Campbell Award
In 2016, the Columbia University Trustees and the Columbia Alumni Association established the Campbell Award, which is presented to a graduating student at each School who shows exceptional leadership and Columbia spirit as exemplified by the late Bill Campbell.
Bill Campbell was Columbia’s chairman of the Board of Trustees and co-founder of the Columbia Alumni Association. He was Columbia’s head football coach and went on to lead a major career in Silicon Valley, where he was known for continuing his love of coaching by mentoring some of the biggest names in the tech community including Steve Jobs, Larry Page, and Eric Schmidt. He was beloved across the Columbia community, especially by our President Lee Bollinger.
This year’s Campbell Award winner is Hezekiah Williams.
Congratulations to all of our award winners and to all of our graduating students!