UBC Sauder employee recognized for outstanding community engagement

Posted 2017-09-06

Debra Harris, divisional assistant for UBC Sauder’s Accounting and Information Systems/Business Communications programs, has been awarded the 2017 UBC President’s Award for Staff in the category of Community Engagement.

The award recognizes individuals who have made exceptional contributions to the vision and goals of the university by enhancing their communities.

“I’m absolutely thrilled to win the award, and was humbled to know that my co-workers nominated me,” explains Harris, who has been with UBC Sauder for 15 years. “It’s very motivating to know that my co-workers value the volunteer work I do, both at UBC Sauder and within the community.”


Harris currently serves on UBC Sauder’s United Way Steering Committee and the Dean’s Dinner and Celebration Committee, and was previously on the Health & Safety Committee. Her community involvement extends across Vancouver, where she has contributed to projects for B.C. Children’s Hospital, B.C. and Yukon Arthritis Society, Covenant House and the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre. She is also a 33-year member of Beta Sigma Phi, an international women’s sorority founded in 1931 to encourage social, cultural and civic enrichment.

“I have the pleasure of working closely with Deb on various committees, and have witnessed the dedication she has to giving back to the community, says Linda Tommasini, director of resources and operations at UBC Sauder. “Her efficiency, drive and professionalism sets an example for others to follow.”

Professor Russell Lundholm, head of UBC Sauder’s Accounting division, seconded Harris’ exceptional work ethic: “In my 30-year long career in academics, I have never had an administrative resource as talented and dedicated as Debra Harris. She has a deep commitment to the success of the accounting division and it shows in the initiative she takes in keeping our group running smoothly.”

Recipients of UBC President’s Awards for Staff are first nominated by their colleagues and then selected by the president with support of an advisory committee. Awards are divided into six categories with two recipients each per year in the categories of leadership; creativity and innovation; enhancing the UBC experience; emerging leadership; advancing diversity and inclusion; and community engagement.

UBC Sauder staff have previously been recognized by the President’s Awards; in 2016, Margot Fraser, a program assistant at UBC Sauder’s Robert H. Lee Graduate School, won under the community engagement category, while Pamela Lim, assistant dean and director of UBC Sauder's undergraduate program, won in 2015 under the leadership category.