UM System vice president of human resources receives national Distinguished Service Award

Thursday, May 30, 2013 | 4:36 p.m. CDT; updated 5:52 p.m. CDT, Thursday, May 30, 2013

COLUMBIA — Betsy Rodriguez said she was surprised and humbled when she learned she had won the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources' 2013 Distinguished Service Award. 

"I had no idea, I didn't even know I had been nominated. It was a big surprise," said Rodriguez, the University of Missouri System’s vice president for human resources.

To win the award, one must be nominated by a colleague. A selection board then chooses the winner. The award goes to an association member "who has provided outstanding service to the association through constituent activities, such as service in governance or leadership roles, or through professional development contributions in support of the association,” according to the group's website.


The association's mission is to serve higher education by providing the knowledge, resources, advocacy and connections to achieve organizational and workforce excellence.

Rodriguez has been an active member of the association for 18 years. She has held several volunteer leadership positions, served on committees, presented at conferences and been a member of the group's national board of directors.  

“Betsy has been an active and engaged leader that has had a great impact on CUPA-HR and those with whom she has worked over the past several years,” Mark Coldren, the association's chair-elect, said in a news release.

The award means the award sponsor, Kronos Inc., will contribute $3,000 contribution to the institutional endowment or scholarship of Rodriguez's choice. Rodriguez has decided to donate the money to Health Care. 

"My daughter was in a very very serious car accident two years ago, and the health center basically saved her life," Rodriguez said.

Her daughter spent a week in the hospital immediately after the accident and received treatment for another six months. Her most recent surgery was in August.

The idea of donating the money to Health Care came to Rodriguez in the middle of the night, she said. 

"I was thinking it would be so fun to give it to someplace where it would just go to a really great cause."

Supervising editor is Scott Swafford.

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