Two medicine staff members earn university awards

Leah Jeunette and Marie Norris

Exceptional staff members recognized for distinguished service and volunteerism

Case Western Reserve staff members play a pivotal role in the university’s success, contributing to every aspect of campus life. Our employees are the backbone of the university—their dedication to areas from administrative support to academic guidance to facilities maintenance and more fosters an environment that supports learning, enriches the student experience and elevates the community.

Each year, exceptional staff members are recognized with two awards: the President’s Award for Distinguished Service and the Robin Kramer Volunteer Award. After reviewing submissions from faculty, staff and students, the Staff Advisory Council Staff Recognition Committee recommends nominees for both honors to the Office of the President for final selections. 

The 2024 award winners will be celebrated at the annual Staff Service Awards ceremony today, June 20, in Tinkham Veale University Center. The event will also honor employees with 10, 25, 35, 45 and 50 years of service at Case Western Reserve.

President’s Award for Distinguished Service

Each year since 1992, the President’s Award for Distinguished Service recognizes up to three staff members with qualities that are consistent with our university values and whose contributions to CWRU culture have a transformational effect on colleagues, students or visitors.

This award honors the late Roseanne Shaerban, whose family, friends and co-workers remember her for the care, concern, loyalty and support she demonstrated to the campus community during her years as a university employee. 

The 2024 President’s Award winners are:

Leah Jeunnette

President’s Award

Leah Jeunnette

Director of the Master of Arts in Bioethics and Medical Humanities Program

Department of Bioethics

Leah Jeunnette’s exceptional organizational skills, empathy and dedication to students led her to become the first staff member appointed as director of the highly ranked Master of Arts in Bioethics and Medical Humanities program. Previously, only faculty members held this role in the program’s 29-year history. 

Under her leadership, the program nearly doubled its enrollment, enhanced experiences and ensured well-being across a diverse student body.

“Leah Jeunnette is extraordinary,” said her nominator. “There are endless stories that could be shared about her efficacy, innovation, leadership, can-do attitude, compassion and tireless work ethic.”

During the pandemic, Jeunnette’s leadership shone as she led the department in transitioning courses to Zoom, a challenging task made more complex by the required 160-hour clinical rotations for master’s students. Helping secure internet access for a rural student and a laptop for a first-generation urban low-income student, all while driving curricular innovations and technical assistance, Jeunnette ensured the program maintained the highest level of academic excellence.

Jeunnette’s nominator added, “Her can-do demeanor is not only palpable by students, but also she is a morale leader among the staff and faculty. People look to her as a model for continuing to achieve high standards with attitudes of constructive progress and character based on a strong ethical compass.”

Beth Trecasa

Beth Trecasa

Associate Director

Inamori International Center for Ethics and Excellence

Beth Trecasa puts her heart into her work with the Inamori International Center for Ethics and Excellence, and her dedication and creativity have helped elevate its impact on ethical leadership both locally and globally. 

Trecasa has taken the Inamori Center’s journal—the International Journal of Ethical Leadership (IJEL)—to new heights, building a strong online presence leading to worldwide downloads of IJEL articles. She also expanded the journal’s reach by producing special issues in French and Spanish and recruiting international contributors. 

In addition to her work with the IJEL, she has helped organize the center’s reproductive justice events as part of their “Conversations on Justice” series, including an interactive exhibit in which she collaborated with archivists and librarians to locate, reproduce and curate the items.

Trecasa also is dedicated to the students she mentors, taking time to provide professional development, write recommendation letters and teach networking skills, on top of providing leadership experiences and guidance through her work as an advisor to the Global Ethical Leaders Society (GELS)—the Inamori Center’s student organization.

“Beth is open-minded, very respectful of others, creative, innovative, deeply committed to the Center’s mission and extremely caring,” a nominator wrote. “She has made the Inamori Center a haven for all, and she never forgets that we have a duty of care to all those who turn to us for support—especially our students.”

Robin Kramer Volunteer Award

Established in 2014 to recognize a staff member who actively volunteers in the CWRU community, this award is named for Robin Kramer, a university employee whose qualities and commitment to volunteerism set a standard for distinguished service before she passed away the previous year.

Marie Norris

Robin Kramer Volunteer Award

Marie Norris

Graduate Studies Coordinator

Department of Bioethics, School of Medicine

Marie Norris’ dedication to student success and diversity, equity and inclusion extends far beyond her role in the Department of Bioethics. The Robin Kramer Volunteer Award recipient is described as a careful and thoughtful listener who embodies the values she champions.

Norris helps facilitate the Diversity 360 program, actively engaging in campuswide educational initiatives aimed at boosting cross-cultural competencies, deepening understanding of privilege and marginalization, raising awareness about microaggressions and empowering individuals to become catalysts for change and diversity champions.

She serves as an executive committee member for the Sustained Dialogue program and helps cultivate diversity advocates through her work with the Train the Champion program.

“I want you to know how important Ms. Norris was to me as a student. She listened to what I was going through, helped me when I had problems (even helping me find a new apartment mid-year when mine was broken into),” said one alum. “I don’t think I would have been nearly as successful without Ms. Norris being so kind and generous.”

Norris’ nominator said she is deeply deserving of this award and demonstrates inclusivity and generosity through thoughtful listening, remarkable warmth and empathy that ultimately makes students feel connected to the greater university community.