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Naomi And Donald Hack Distinguished Staff Award

In 1999, the MSU Department of Chemistry inaugurated The Naomi Hack Distinguished Staff Award in Chemistry. This award is given in honor and memory of Naomi Hack, a wonderful person who contributed greatly to the Department during more than two decades of service as a secretary for Physical Chemistry faculty members.

Naomi's efficiency and dedication to excellence were legendary; beyond that, she played a key role in fostering a sense of community in our Department. She was truly a colleague of the faculty and staff in Chemistry. Naomi not only befriended generations of Chemistry graduate students and post-docs, but at times she also acted as a substitute mother for them.

Naomi Hack always put other people first. She dedicated much energy to improvements in the working and living conditions for members of the MSU community. Naomi fought successfully for the extension of benefits to staff who worked less than full time; she served on University-wide committees on work-life improvement. Naomi undertook a number of campaigns to help others. While many of these initiatives were little-heralded, they brought her deep satisfaction when they succeeded.

One of the facets of Naomi's work-life is acknowledged in many MSU Chemistry doctoral dissertations: she listened to students, counseled them, and helped foreign scholars adjust to life in the United States. To some of the students, Naomi extended loans with little expectation of repayment.

Naomi's wit shone in the Holiday Skit she wrote for the Department each year, in melody and rhyme. Naomi's extraordinary talents as a baker were also widely appreciated in Chemistry, since she brought home-baked goods to work every day!

More importantly, Naomi had the ability to bring out the best in people. She connected with students, faculty, and staff in the University in a special way, due to her deep spirit of caring. She could both laugh and cry with people; her sharing eased sorrows and deepened joys.

Naomi's life in the Chemistry Department was interwoven with her personal life. Her husband, Don, knew the faculty and staff almost as well as Naomi did; Naomi often discussed with Don and their children work-place interactions with great caring and concern. The Department was important in their lives.

After her retirement, Naomi and Don remained close to the MSU Chemistry community. All who knew Naomi were saddened by her unexpected death in 1998. Naomi's family, colleagues, and friends established an endowment in her name to fund The Naomi Hack Distinguished Staff Award. Following Donald's death in 2000, the name was revised to The Naomi and Donald Hack Distinguished Staff Award.

This Award commemorates Naomi's contributions. In 1980, in recognition of her contributions to the Department and to the MSU Community, Naomi received the University Distinguished Staff Award. Because Naomi always considered this to be one of the signal achievements of her life, it is especially appropriate to honor her by instituting this Award.

The Naomi and Donald Hack Distinguished Staff Award recognizes Chemistry staff members for their significant assistance to the Department, to Michigan State University, and to a broader constituency. Outstanding staff promote and enhance excellence at the University. The Naomi and Donald Hack Distinguished Staff Award in Chemistry is intended to recognize the unique efforts of Chemistry Department staff, as well as the wide range of important contributions staff members make to Michigan State University.

The MSU Department of Chemistry gratefully acknowledges the financial support given to the endowment of The Naomi and Donald Hack Distinguished Staff Award in Chemistry. Family, colleagues, and friends of Naomi and Don established this endowment in their names.