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Five exceptional staff members receive PLU’s Distinguished Staff Award at annual holiday banquet

Five exceptional staff members receive PLU’s Distinguished Staff Award at annual holiday banquet

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Image: Recipients of the 2023 Distinguished Staff Awards are honored during the annual holiday banquet on Thursday, December 14, 2023. From left to right, recipients are Keleigh Allen, Greg Briggs, Seth Carlson, Jennifer Childress-White and Ryan Marsh.

January 5, 2024
By Jeffrey Roberts
PLU Marketing & Communications

Awardees are nominated for their exceptional contributions, accomplishments, leadership and service to the university and its community members.

Each December, during the university’s annual Christmas celebration, the President’s Council recognizes up to five employees for their outstanding contributions. Employees are nominated to the President’s Council by the PLU community for their improvements to customer service, quality of work and campus life, interdepartmental teamwork, communication, inclusivity and developing creative solutions to challenges facing the university. Each awardee receives a certificate and a $750 honorarium.

The 2023 Distinguished Staff Award recipients are Keleigh Allen, Greg Briggs, Seth Carlson, Jennifer Childress-White and Ryan Marsh.

Keleigh Allen is an Advancement Analyst for the Constituent Engagement team in University Relations.

In her 24 years at PLU, Keleigh has exemplified what it means to be a lifelong learner. In her plethora of roles at the university, Keleigh has always stepped up when needed, learned new skills and helped teammates find solutions to complex challenges. Keleigh is a natural collaborator and has created new systems for email building, fundraising reporting and constituent engagement. Keleigh’s work and spirit allow us to communicate effectively with tens of thousands of alumni, families, and friends of the university.

One of Keleigh’s teammates told us that Keleigh is “an outstanding thought partner and talking through challenges with Keleigh makes our team feel affirmed, clarified and valued.”

Outside her team, Keleigh contributes to our community’s well-being by helping to ensure that people feel a sense of belonging and that they are known and valued. As a data analyst, Keleigh approaches each piece of data as an opportunity to demonstrate care for people, and Keleigh cares deeply.


PLU President Allan Belton (left) presents Keleigh Allen with a 2023 Distinguished Staff Award.
PLU President Allan Belton (left) presents Greg Briggs (right) with a 2023 Distinguished Staff Award.

Greg Briggs is the Network Manager for Information and Technology Services.

Greg has worked for Information and Technology Services for over 15 years and has distinguished himself through his dedication to providing reliable communications infrastructure for everyone at PLU. 

Greg has a unique role that requires him to have a working knowledge of everything from nursing simulation manikins, laundry and vending machines, HVAC control systems, cash registers and the other 13,000 devices used across the campus network. Although most of his work goes unseen to the average Lute, Greg’s work affects every student and employee every day that they work, attend class or spend time anywhere on campus.

Greg’s technical aptitude, critical thinking and creative problem-solving skills are all essential to this University. In the Fall of 2020, Greg was instrumental in a project that allowed the I&TS team to improve PLU’s cybersecurity infrastructure and sell three-fourths of our IP addresses for $1.2 million. Not only did this cash infusion come at a critical time for campus, but the network improvements will continue to benefit PLU for years to come.


Seth Carlson is the Assistant Director for Campus Safety.

Seth began his career with campus safety back as a student officer in 2014. In the nine years Seth has been with Campus Safety there has been a lot of change, and Seth has not only embraced the changes but has been instrumental in leading those changes. He has always kept an open mind and represents PLU well in everything he does. From training new staff to dressing up as Lancelute, Seth always steps up when needed.

As Seth responds to incidents around campus, he can clearly and calmly talk students, staff and faculty through challenging situations. He creates an environment of genuine care by making you feel seen, heard and cared for no matter your situation. Seth is frequently seen at campus events, providing a presence of safety and truly embodies what it means to be a Lute.

Seth Carlson, Assistant Director for Campus Safety
Jennifer Childress-White, Assistant Dean of Students and Title IX Coordinator

Jennifer Childress-White is the Assistant Dean of Students and Title IX Coordinator.

Jen has been at PLU for ten years. She has served our community as the Head Women’s Basketball Coach, Assistant Athletics Director, Title IX Coordinator, and most recently, the Assistant Dean of Students. 

Much of Jen’s work is never publicly discussed, yet PLU is a better place because of her diligence and unwavering leadership. Jen has built a diverse Title IX bench and journeys with students and families as they navigate the often confusing and messiness of Title IX incidents and processes. She is an advocate, a leader and a ready consultant for all who ask. Jen’s coworkers describe her as the person you always want in your corner because she naturally makes campus community members feel engaged and essential.

She is a role model for the whole community; you always feel known and loved when you are with Jen. Even after work, Jen interacts with and competes against students in intramural flag football and softball.


Ryan Marsh is the Administrative and Performance Manager in the School of Music, Theatre and Dance.

Ryan joined PLU in 2016, and since day one, his attention to detail and ability to manage a wide variety of tasks has greatly enhanced the workflow of the Music program.

Ryan’s coworkers say they can’t think of a better first person for students to meet when entering the Music Office. His attention, respect, friendliness and positive attitude are magnetic. His warm smile and kindness make you feel at home as you enter the music office.

Ryan schedules student recitals, classes, guest performances, ensemble sectionals and all of the department’s tours. This June, Ryan’s grace and competence led a group of more than 70 students for nearly two weeks across Ireland. Ryan worked tirelessly to ensure everyone was safe, the performances were successful, and the entire adventure ran smoothly. Ryan’s positive attitude, even in stressful situations, is an amazing gift to our touring group and the whole University.


Ryan Marsh, music staff at PLU, Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016. (Photo: John Froschauer/PLU)