Gopalaratnam celebrated for administrative excellence

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Mizzou Biology

The Division of Biological Sciences congratulates Anantha Gopalaratnam on being selected for the Barbara S. Uehling Award for Administrative Excellence.

Members from the University of Missouri Staff Advisory Council surprised Gopalaratnam with the award, which includes a plaque and a $1,000 prize. The award recognizes an administrator who has demonstrated qualities of leadership, administrative excellence, and has contributed in some way to improve working conditions and the quality of life for MU staff.

Gopalaratnam joined the Division of Biological Sciences in 2014. For two years, she was the lead fiscal manager for Missouri EPSCoR, a federally funded and multi-institutional research and educational project with a budget of $25 million. In 2016, she was appointed Senior Business Support Specialist and began assisting with the Division’s overall financial management and administrative functions. Prior to joining the Division, she worked for six years in MU’s Accounting Services Department, where she rose from an Office Support III position to an Accounting and Financial Services Specialist.

Knowledgeable is the first word Curators’ Distinguished Professor John Walker used to describe Gopalaratnam’s administrative excellence. He notes that she honed her expertise while working in Accounting Services and was often asked to train others at university-wide HR seminars.

“As a department, we have benefitted tremendously from Anantha’s fiscal expertise, her administrative talents, her knowledge of the fiscal process, as well as her long-standing collaborations and goodwill with staff across campus,” he said.

Waleed Atout, who works closely with Gopalaratnam in the Division’s business office, said he has benefitted personally from her willingness to share her fiscal knowledge.

“Her commitment to educating others is unequaled. She is extremely thorough in her training and provides great detail about the subject matter,” he said. “She brings true professional attributes and genuinely cares about delivering excellent quality work. I couldn’t ask for a more thoughtful, intelligent, and dedicated colleague.”

Going above and beyond to help others is another quality used to describe Gopalaratnam’s administrative excellence. Professor David Braun shared that he has tapped her fiscal expertise to help him coordinate the finances for an annual international maize research conference. He said he wouldn’t be able to do this important work without her.

“Anantha is always professional and does a fabulous job staying on top of the invoices, interacting with individuals from many different institutions and companies, providing regular updates on the status of the monies received, and being all around helpful,” he shared. “She is one of the best staff members I’ve worked with at MU, and I am very grateful for all of her help, dedication, kindness, and excellence in all that she does.”

Gopalaratnam’s administrative excellence extends beyond the walls of the MU campus. For over a decade, she has been a member of the Columbia Values Diversity Celebration Planning Committee and chair of the Hindu Temple and Community Center Service Programs Committee. She is a founder-member and helped coordinate Columbia’s Tamil Language School and also led the Bal Sabha of Columbia, a cultural and educational group for children of Indian origin.

“These experiences demonstrate Anantha’s commitment to MU’s core values. She is a stellar representative of Mizzou in the community, and we should celebrate that,” said Walker.

Gopalaratnam will be presented with the award at a ceremony during Staff Recognition Week in May.