President Dean with Laura Simard - 2019 PAE Award Recipient
Presidential Award of Excellence, 2019

Academic/Student Services Assistant

Laura Simard is often the first person that students, faculty members, staff and visitors encounter when they enter the UNH history department. She is friendly and welcoming — as one nominator put it, “like a sun spreading warmth and light; and like the sun, an irreplaceable font of energy.”

Laura joined the department in 2010, stepping into the role of a longtime assistant whose retirement left many faculty members anxious. She proved herself to be a worthy successor. Today, those same faculty members praise Laura for her powers of organization, her institutional memory and her ability to juggle multiple tasks and individuals’ needs, all with a smile on her face. 

Laura coordinates student advising, course selection and student enrollment and helps students understand the academic requirements of their major. Multiple nominations from faculty members noted that she often knows the department’s students — particularly early in their academic careers —better than some professors do. Some students add that Laura is part of the reason that they chose to study history, thanks to the warm environment she creates in the history office. She handles a vast array of personalities and temperaments with calm and grace.

In addition to advising students, Laura capably juggles a range of tasks that keep the office running smoothly and efficiently. She’s overseen not one, but two wholesale department moves -- first down to the first floor of Horton Hall during a renovation, and then back up to the fourth floor when those renovations were finished. Tapping into her previous role as an event planner with the New England Center, she coordinates department banquets and conferences, as well as visits from job candidates and guest lecturers. She even manages the department’s communal chocolate supply and a number of her paintings hang on history department office walls.

It’s rare to find someone so competent in her job that she makes it look easy, but that is precisely what Laura Simard does.

About This Award

All members of the university community, including leadership, supervisors & managers, peers, colleagues and students may nominate any qualified staff member by completing the Presidential Award of Excellence nomination form online or by requesting a paper application from Human Resources and forwarding it to the Presidential Award of Excellence Peer Review Committee, c/o Human Resources, Nesmith Hall each year by the deadline.