"Ruth Anderson is one of those rare individuals who infuse administrative precision and stellar efficiency with empathy and compassion."

Department of History Graduate Chair, Thomas Kuehn

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Additional Dean of Graduate Studies Awards for Excellence Winners

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2020 Award for Excellence in Service: Christie Carlson

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February 07, 2022

Ruth Anderson, Former Graduate Program Assistant and Chair’s Secretary, has been an important fixture in the Department of History. Prior to retiring from her role, Anderson wasn’t only exceptionally capable in her work, but also went beyond the call of duty.

As a former Graduate Program Assistant, Ruth coordinated program admissions, scholarships, TA appointments, thesis defences, and student records with efficiency and accuracy. Dr. Hilmar M. Pabel, Acting Chair in the Department of History, admires her keen eye for organization, knowledge of university processes, and ability to foresee problems and offer solutions.

Beyond her administration skills, Ruth is also known for her compassionate demeanor and quick and encouraging responses, often reducing students’ stress and making their experience at SFU more enjoyable.

“I regularly sent inquiries to Ruth, sometimes two to three a day. All of these were answered promptly, and there was absolutely no indication from her that my concerns were unnecessary, irrelevant, or too frequent,” shares Joseph Burton, PhD student.

Dr. Jeremy Brown, Former Graduate Program Chair in the Department of History, also recognize her willingness to help all members of the community: “Ruth’s door was always open and she welcomed everyone who stopped by—graduate students, staff, faculty, and visitors—with a smile, specific and focused help, a story, and a genuine desire to listen and connect.”

PhD candidate, Leah Wiener, recalls a time when Anderson helped ease her concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As a graduate student, I knew that Ruth was there to answer questions as I worked on funding applications, my comps, and my thesis prospectus—that was her job,” says Wiener. “But Ruth was also there to listen to me when I became seriously ill in my second year, lost loved ones, and worried about what COVID would mean for my graduate work.”

With her compassionate attitude and exemplary administration skills, there is no doubt that Ruth has gone above and beyond in serving SFU graduate students.

“Ruth Anderson is one of those rare individuals who infuse administrative precision and stellar efficiency with empathy and compassion,” says Dr. Thomas Kuehn, Associate Professor and Graduate Program Chair in the Department of History.

The 2022 Dean of Graduate Studies Awards for Excellence are open for nominations. Deadline for nominations is March 25, 2022.