Penny Crane Award 2011

2011 Penny Crane Award Recipient – Leila Lyons

Leila has given selflessly of her time and talents for many years through her leadership on the Board and participation in the conferences for over 25 years.
Leila Lyons is a consummate professional who has dedicated over 35 years of her working life to her academic institution and the IT profession. Even now in her retirement, Leila remains loyal to ACM SIGUCCS, as she leaves her duties over the past 6 years as chair and past chair of the SIGUCCS executive committee. She has agreed to co-chair the SIGUCCS 50th Anniversary Planning Committee; the event to be celebrated in the fall of 2013.

Leila’s participation and support of SIGUCCS and the higher education IT profession is extensive and broad. Starting with the presentation at the 1984 USC in Reno, Leila has presented or co-presented at 6 SIGUCCS conferences, along with other presentations at EDUCAUSE and ACUTA events. Since 1988, she has been involved on 4 USC program committees, twice as chair. In 2004 and 2005, she served as program chair and chair respectively, of the SIGUCCS Management Symposia, at a time when the SIG very much needed to breathe new life into that annual spring event (it had been held annually in St. Louis until 2003).

Most of Leila’s work experiences were focused on end user support services, thus it was appropriate that she has been a regular participant at the fall USC. She worked for 25 years as the senior manager of user support at the University of Delaware, where she managed a team of 40 professionals. Throughout her working career, Leila was sought out for advice and friendship from her peers and work associates. She always encouraged her staff to attend SIGUCCS events, and she supported their efforts to take part in the program.

Perhaps most important among her credentials for this award, is Leila’s welcoming spirit and her emulation of Penny Crane’s legendary attitude toward the young and/or new members of the HEIT profession. Leila cares deeply about the SIG and the success of the people who participate in the SIG. Even in her retirement she has attended conferences and actively participates in the discussions.

Some thoughts from Leila ….
SIGUCCS has indeed meant a lot to me over the years, both professionally and personally, and I have surely gained more from the organization than I have contributed. I feel truly honored to join the ranks of other Penny Crane Award winners, several of whom I have had the privilege to work with in the organization and whose camaraderie and friendship I value greatly. In particular I would mention Jane Caviness, who introduced me to SIGUCCS when I worked for her and whose mentoring has had a profound effect on my career; and Jennifer Fajman, who introduced me to conference organization when she chaired  the 1989 USC and I was Program Chair. Since Jennifer’s and my roles in our respective institutions followed fairly similar paths, we frequently found ourselves facing similar challenges and so were able to exchange ideas and build a strong professional friendship. Both Jane and Jennifer cared deeply about striving for excellence in delivering IT services, in mentoring their employees as well as volunteers, and in SIGUCCS. Many others, too numerous to mention, have made my career and time in SIGUCCS very rewarding.

These experiences, which I am sure others can also relate to, demonstrate what is unique about SIGUCCS, namely its talented people and a supportive professional network that gives every individual the opportunity to grow professionally. Our lives and our profession are experiencing profound change and my hope is that the people of SIGUCCS will continually discover new ways for the organization to support the professional aspirations of its members and the institutions to which they belong. Though they are very different times from hers, I believe Penny Crane would have wanted that too!