Congratulations to Tanie Boeddeker, 2023 Mary Roper awardee!

Congratulations to Tanie Boeddeker, 2023 Mary Roper awardee!
Tanie Boeddker (center) celebrates her award with Dean Ann Ardis (left) and Mary Roper (right).

On December 5, 2023, the College of Humanities and Social Sciences hosted the annual Mary Roper Award. Faculty and staff gathered to recognize the work of Tanie Boeddeker, graduate programs administrator in the Department of Psychology.

The award is named for Mary Roper, whose long service to George Mason University is an exemplar of professionalism and dedication to Mason’s mission. Through her 17 years of work for the biology department, the Office of the Provost, and the dean’s office of the College of Arts and Sciences, followed by 13 years as the administrative assistant to the university’s chief of staff, Roper set high standards for service to her colleagues and to Mason’s students.

Ann Ardis, Dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, presented the award to Boeddeker, who joined Mason in April 2020, and thanked her for exemplifying the kindness and competence that CHSS is known for.  In their letter in support of her nomination, Boeddeker’s colleagues and Mason students alike emphasized her dedication, efficiency, and her warmth, and made clear their appreciation for her contributions:

"Tanie exceeds the criteria for this award, as she has demonstrated individual excellence for outstanding job performance but also efforts that go above and beyond her normal duties to serve our students and faculty. Our paths cross often regarding admissions procedures and processes, as well as the complicated issues that can arise for individual applicants. She provides tremendous support in strategizing how best to resolve various admissions issues or how to improve our admissions processes. She is thoughtful, collaborative with the various stakeholders, and demonstrates a willingness to help faculty and students with challenging admissions issues for a large volume of graduate applications, the largest within our College. And she does so with grace and humor. If she is every rattled, it is not evident.  She appears unflappable. "

"Her position is at times thankless, but she still does it with enthusiasm and dedication.  Tanie is a tremendous asset to the Psychology program as well as the university.  She is well deserving of the Mary Roper Award.”

"Our own faculty, specifically the program directors for our various degrees and concentrations and the chair, feel strongly about her dedication and outstanding support of a diverse, complicated, and large population of students. Tanie supports over 300 graduate students and over 40 full-time faculty.  The volume of work that she processes alone would be enough for an award, but it is the EXTRA that she gives that truly makes the difference."

“Tanie is completely dedicated to meeting the needs of the more than 300 graduate students in the Psychology Department. Despite the continual growth of the student body, and the increasing range of needs our students bring, she has been a constant source of support for each student. Faculty, staff, and students alike comment on her incredible performance and her warmth and professionalism even in challenging situations. She is a quintessential example of what this award represents—she has an absolute commitment to the mission of the Psychology Department, and the broader mission of the College, and her performance goes well above and beyond in helping us meet that mission.”

Mary Roper AwardeesCollege recipients of the Mary Roper Award, including Tanie Boeddeker, center. 

Boeddeker said she was humbled to receive the award, and thanked her colleagues for their incredible support. She recalled a comment made by former provost of Northwestern University, where she briefly worked before coming to Mason, that has stuck with her over the years and has become her mantra: “College should be difficult, but not unkind.” 

“It’s simple, but what I felt like I had been trying to do in higher education from the beginning,” she said. “I wanted to help students navigate the obstacle course that can be higher education. That quote has really helped ground me in the moments where maybe I'm forgetting the why or losing the energy to dig a little deeper into solving a problem or answering a question.”