Marine Lab’s Rebecca Smith Receives Meritorious Service Award

April 22, 2016

Tim Lucas, 919/613-8084,

Rebecca Smith, administrative assistant to the director of the Duke University Marine Lab, has received a 2016 Duke University Meritorious Service Award.

The Meritorious Service Award is among the highest honors Duke presents to faculty and staff members. It recognizes exemplary contributions to the university.

Smith was one of 23 university employees selected for the honor this year. She was recognized for her outstanding service to the Duke Marine Lab in the managerial category.

President Richard Brodhead presented the awards, along with a $100 check for each recipient, at the annual Presidential Awards Luncheon at the Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club on April 14.

In her letter nominating Smith for the award, Marine Lab Cindy Van Dover noted that Smith is instrumental in managing the lab’s facilities and infrastructure, organizing its special events, supporting grant proposals, enhancing student engagement, coordinating academic administration, and spearheading community outreach, among other duties.

Van Dover wrote: “Rebecca is a 24/7 person, on-call for anything without complaint.  (She) is someone who pays attention to detail and can be relied upon to get things done. There is little about the operations of the Marine Lab that does not involve Rebecca, and there is nothing that does not benefit from her contributions. In terms of a high level of service, trustworthiness and respect, she exceeds all expectations.” 

Van Dover’s praise for Smith was echoed in numerous supporting letters submitted by other Marine Lab faculty, staff members and students who cited how she routinely goes above and beyond what’s expected .  

Smith appreciates their recognition but finds the experience of being singled out for the award a bit disconcerting.

“I am not a ‘front and center’ person,” she says. “I would rather keep my nose down and work quietly.”