Sept. 9, 2019 — Two members of the University of Houston Law Center staff were honored with President’s Excellence Awards Wednesday for their outstanding work and dedication to the students and faculty they serve.
University President Renu Khator honored Kristen Guiseppi as an “Effective Leader” and Elaine Fiala in the “Clerical” category during the annual awards dinner at the Hilton University of Houston Hotel.
“I am very proud to be dean at a law school with such an excellent faculty, staff and students,” said Dean Leonard M. Baynes. “Our staff make the school run. They are responsible for making sure that the trains run on time. They give their heart and soul to make the Law Center successful.
“I am delighted that the University of Houston and President Khator recognized two exceptional Law Center staff at the most recent President’s Excellence Award Ceremony. Kristen and Elaine are excellent leaders who make a difference in our students’ lives and are well respected by their colleagues. They are very deserving of this recognition.”
Guiseppi came to the Law Center in 2014 and serves as director of the Law Center’s ABA-recognized, award-winning Pre-Law Pipeline program. The program, which just completed its 5th year, is an eight-week residential summer course designed to increase diversity among law school applicants by providing undergraduate students from low-income, first-generation, and underrepresented backgrounds an opportunity to consider a legal education. To date, almost 160 students have completed the program with 46 accepted to law school. Under Guiseppi’s leadership, the program has developed both a local and national reputation and has been awarded a variety of grants to continue its work.
“I am incredibly honored and humbled to receive this prestigious award,” said Guiseppi. “I am also very thankful for all of the admirable leaders within the UH System who have paved the way for me, and others like me. Daily, my students and my colleagues inspire me to be the best leader that I can be. I am blessed to work within this fantastic institution where efforts are recognized and appreciated.”
Fiala came to the Law Center’s Health Law & Policy Institute in May 2010, serving as executive secretary to faculty members as well as the Institute. She is responsible for preparing course packets, class attendance data, and other duties for faculty and handles various administrative duties for the research institute, including logistics for conferences held both on and off campus such as signage, room reservations, and catering.
“The President’s Excellence Award is a university-wide award, which is why it is such a huge honor for me,” Fiala said. “And the fact that one of our law students nominated me makes it even more special! I love my job here and feel so honored that one of the students felt compelled to write about how much I touched her life here at the Law Center. I am very humbled by her words, as well as the support of two of my colleagues, and hope that I continue to live up to those high ideals.”
“Elaine is such a joy to work with,” said April Moreno, HLPI program director. “She is the definition of ‘my right-hand.’ It is refreshing to know that I can trust her to anticipate things and depend on her efficiency and dedication. She is an important component of our team and contributes in maintaining our Top 10 ranking.”