Greg Toutges, Disability Resource Center Director, received the 2017 Professional Excellence in Service Award presented by the Minnesota State Board of Trustees yesterday, April 19, 2017.
During the luncheon, seven award nominees from Minnesota State universities, along with 31 Outstanding Educators from colleges throughout the state, were recognized by the Board of Trustees.
The Professional Excellence in Service Award acknowledges outstanding service to our universities and to the Minnesota State system. It recognizes the key role service faculty fulfill at our system’s universities in advising and counseling students; in the recruitment, retention, and placement of students; in residential life programming; in facilitation of student groups and student leadership; and other involvement in university and community activities.
Greg earned a bachelor’s degree in administration of parks, recreation and community education at MSU Mankato and a master of science in counseling and guidance at the University of North Dakota.
He joined MSUM in 2000 and worked in various capacities, including instructor, career specialist, counselor, interim director of the Academic Resource Office and interim director of Career Services, before joining the Disability Services Office in 2000, first as coordinator and then director in 2012. While Greg’s professional accomplishments and achievements are too numerous to mention, several noteworthy highlights include:
- Development and expansion of MSUM’s Academic Coaching program; 77 percent of fall 2016 respondents indicated Academic Coaching was a factor in their decision to persist at MSUM.
- Advancement of the MSUM mission by collaborating with community members to ensure full compliance under Section 504 and the Americans with Disabilities Act
- Commitment and advocacy for students to ensure MSUM is providing the best services possible for students at the local, system and state levels.
In her endorsement of Greg for the award, President Anne Blackhurst writes:
“Greg is a rare professional who pours his heart into working with our students with disabilities. His compassion, dedication and commitment to making a difference in students’ lives have not wavered, in spite of a growing and increasingly complex caseload. He comes to work every day with one goal in mind: helping students succeed, overcome obstacles and achieve their dreams.”
In a letter of support of Greg’s nomination, MSU Moorhead MSUAASF Campus President Jessica Swedberg writes:
“He exemplifies our campus values: grit, humility and heart. To quote Vice President Amenson-Hill: ‘I recently started working at MSUM as Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs in August 2016. Greg was one of the first directors that I had the opportunity to meet. Within a very short time it became obvious to me that Greg was a dedicated professional that worked hard to advise and mentor many students utilizing disability services. He is thoughtful, humble, hard-working and passionate about helping students meet their full potential. He is a student-centered leader that has spent his entire career supporting students on their path to graduation. He is a positive role model, great team player and respected by students, faculty and staff across the MSUM campus.’”