The Provost Committee for Staff (PCS) Kindness Award at The University of New Mexico has announced the award winners for Fall 2022. The award was established in 2019 to recognize UNM staff who have demonstrated extraordinary kindness. Award winners demonstrate exceptional kindness and compassion and exemplify UNM values.

Manuel “Manny” Vigil is a custodian at the UNM Taos branch. Maria “Bernadette” Tafoya is the operations manager at the UNM administration. Each will receive an award plaque and monetary award, and will also be honored during the annual PCS Outstanding Staff, Workgroup, and Kindness Award Presentation Ceremony next year.

Vigil was nominated by 12 of his colleagues. They cited many examples of his kindness as well as his sense of humor.

One nominator wrote “Manny is the kindest person I have ever met. He is a true ray of sunshine. He can make anyone’s day better just by encountering him, and [him] telling you a joke.”

Another nominator noted, “He is someone that sees providing support to someone in need as a valuable use of time.”

“Manny is an exceptional individual with a kind-heartedness that lifts you up no matter the mood. He is strong, funny, and never fails to consider you as a person.”

“Manny is one of the kindest people we know. He is always positive and in good humor. It seems he is always in motion (fast speed) and never slows down. Our days have a happy note when Manny is in the building with his smiling eager face greeting us, asking how we are doing, how our families are, and if there is anything we need.

"Manny goes out of his way to support the students, faculty and staff. We have seen him stop to talk with the students, ask how they are doing, and ask how their studies are going. Manny takes great pride in how the UNM-Taos buildings look and are maintained. Rio Grande Hall literally shines and sparkles when he is here. He recognizes how it impacts the students and employees, giving all of us a sense of professionalism and pride.”

Tafoya’s nominators note, “Bernadette is constantly going out of her way to be kind. Whether it’s making food for an ill faculty member, collecting donations for the Food Pantry, giving rides to international colleagues, or helping a lost student, Bernadette never ceases to amaze me. She’s one of the kindest people I’ve ever met. I was particularly impressed last spring by how she treated our international colleague. Bernadette helped her find housing, transportation, and even the grocery store. When we hire new faculty from other units, they always praise Bernadette and describe receiving a level of support other departments do not. All of this is so above and beyond the call of duty.”

Another nominator wrote, “Ms. Tafoya is an amazingly dedicated colleague to the pursuit of excellence in our University College. She is a willing and friendly help in all endeavors and is not too high to support and aid any task…She can find a needle in a haystack, and brings good cheer to everyone, every day.”

The call for applications for the PCS Spring 2023 Academic Support Scholarships will open on Jan. 3, 2023. Applications are due by Feb. 3, 2023. Please visit the PCS website for more information or to apply.