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Faculty and Staff

DASA Employees Receive University Awards For Excellence

Abinadi Ehrisman's Award for Excellence.
Abinadi Ehrisman's Award for Excellence.

Anyone who has worked with Abinadi Ehrisman and Maurice Mathis throughout the Division of Academic and Student Affairs knows the value, energy and passion that they bring to their roles. Now the whole university community knows it too. 

Ehrisman and Mathis, both of whom received Awards for Excellence at the division level in April, were recently honored at the university level. Mathis, TRIO Programs’ senior director, received the Spirit of North Carolina Award, and Ehrisman, an assistant director of facilities for University Housing, was honored for his work in creating Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) accessible spaces across campus. 

Both employees received eight hours of leave time and a $1,000 cash prize from the university. 

“It’s super rewarding and exciting that my colleagues took the time to nominate me,” Ehrisman said. 

Above and Beyond for Accessibility

Throughout his many years with University Housing, one of Ehrisman’s biggest priorities has been to convert existing spaces to be ADA accessible, ensuring that as many students as possible have the opportunities they’re seeking to enter living and learning communities. 

“We’ve got so many different villages and different buildings that have different reasons why people might want to live there,” Ehrisman said. “If they’re not accessible, then our student’s educational opportunities become more limited. So it’s a big deal to us as a department and me personally to make sure that everyone has access to all the different opportunities that they might be interested in.”

Abinadi Ehrisman
Abinadi Ehrisman

Scott Wallace, an engineering and architectural supervisor for University Housing, has worked with Ehrisman for more than 15 years and has seen firsthand the extra effort he has put into creating these accessible spaces. 

For many of these projects, that involves speaking and working directly with the community members who will use those spaces. 

“He’s truly one of a kind,” Wallace said. “I can tell you that not just me but everyone on our team that works with Abinadi, that understands what he puts into his work, and how important he is to our department, is super excited for him and thinks that it’s well deserved.”

For Ehrisman, receiving the university-level award affirms that NC State recognizes the importance of his work in creating more accessible spaces throughout University Housing. 

“We’re trying to be inclusive and make sure that everything is accessible and available to everyone,” Ehrisman said. “So it is rewarding. I wouldn’t be able to do the work I do if I didn’t have the support of my supervisors and my department. It’s all a team effort. Everybody’s working together.” 

A Statewide Advocate

Mathis has spent the past 17 years with TRIO advocating for and supporting underprivileged students and communities nationwide, working to ensure that all students have equal opportunities to pursue higher education. 

When he received the Spirit of North Carolina Award, Mathis felt gratified that the entire university community recognized the importance of this work. 

Maurice Mathis

“It felt like the pinnacle of a 17-year career in TRIO,” Mathis said. “It’s really one of the highlights at this point. If I never got an award, it’s fine, because I love what I do and I truly have a passion for the work that I do and that my amazing staff does. But to hear my name called for the Spirit of North Carolina was surprising, amazing and heartwarming.

Division of Academic and Student Affairs Senior Associate Vice Chancellor Carrie Zelna nominated Mathis for his work not only with NC State but also helping TRIO programs across North Carolina serve over 28,000 students. 

Zelna said that Mathis goes above and beyond to help the other state-wide programs, making him a perfect candidate for the Spirit of North Carolina Award. 

“I think passion absolutely drives his work,” Zelna said. “This is all about providing resources to under-resourced children, who, without this help, may not move on to higher education. When you listen to him talk about his unit, when he talks about TRIO, he speaks with authority, he speaks with confidence, you know it’s a solid program. You know that they’re getting that work done and they’re providing students with what they need. I never doubt for one second that his work is making a tremendous difference in our state.” 

For Mathis, the most rewarding part of his work is knowing that he’s making a difference and that the TRIO Programs are providing historically underrepresented students with opportunities they may not have otherwise received. 

“There are amazing and very academically astute students who just happen to be born into families that don’t have a lot of money, and just happen to be born into families where their mother and their father have not received a four-year degree,” Mathis said. “So they’re just at a disadvantage because of where they were born. We’re helping to change the narrative that there’s good that comes out of impoverished communities and out of marginalized populations. There is good in those students. And they can perform at the high school and the collegiate level.”