Ellis, Gerwitz and Lewis Named 2021 Campus Safety Directors of the Year

The Director of the Year winners were announced at the 2021 Campus Safety Conference in San Antonio, Texas.

The 2021 Campus Safety Director of the Year winners, runners up and finalists were honored today at the Campus Safety Conference (CSC), held at the Marriott Rivercenter in San Antonio, Texas.

Higher Education Director of the Year Gerald Lewis

The winner of the K-12/school district division is Steven Ellis, coordinator of campus security and safety for the Corona-Norco Unified School District in Norco, California. Ray Gerwitz, executive director and deputy chief security officer for the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, came out on top in the healthcare/hospital division, while Gerald Lewis, who is former associate vice president of public safety and chief of police for the University of Texas at San Antonio, is the winner of the higher education sector.

Additionally, there were two runners up in the college and university division: Thomas Graham, director of emergency management at Tennessee State University in Nashville; and George “Tom” Torregrossa, who is director of police services at the University of Louisiana at Monroe Police Department.

Campus Safety Editor-in-Chief Robin Hattersley, who presented the awards at the ceremony, commented to CSC attendees that the Director of the Year program has taken on even greater importance this year with so many Americans questioning the value of campus security, public safety and emergency management.

Healthcare Director of the Year Ray Gerwitz

“There clearly is a lack of understanding and appreciation among many Americans of the roles of campus public safety, security and emergency management agencies,” she said. “The more information we can get out there explaining what you do and all that you achieve, the more folks will start to understand your vital role. Your participation has helped elevate school, college and hospital policing, security and emergency management, as well as demonstrate the value of your profession.”

The achievements of this year’s Director of the Year winners, runners up and finalists were, once again, very impressive.

For example, at UT San Antonio, Lewis instituted the Rowdy Watch program that recruits students to patrol the campus, conduct function checks of emergency phones, respond to door access requests and provide escorts.

At the MD Anderson Cancer Center, Gerwitz improved his organization’s response to COVID-19 by helping develop how and where people enter the campus, increasing physical security control for PPE and helping to implement a physical “moat” between clinical and academic areas of campus.

K-12 Director of the Year Steve Ellis

And, not to be out done, Ellis was instrumental in implementing a system at Corona-Norco USD that monitors student emails for signs of depression, suicidal ideation, self-harm, school violence and other safety issues.

Those were just a few of the many accomplishments achieved by this year’s winners.

The Director of the Year entries were judged by a distinguished panel of healthcare, higher education and school security, public safety and emergency management experts who reviewed pages and pages of nomination materials. The judges included Gary Sigrist Jr. of Safeguard Risk Solutions, former Fuller Theological Seminary Chief Gary Mejia, Allied Universal Vice President of Healthcare Lisa Terry, hospital security consultant Tom Smith, Idaho Office of School Safety and Security Analyst Guy Bliesner, La Salle University Assistant Vice President of Public Safety Amanda Guthorn, Safety Advisors for Educational Campuses President S. Daniel Carter and FEA Vice President Paul Timm.

All three Directors of the Year will be featured in upcoming articles appearing on CampusSafetyMagazine.com. Additionally, CS will begin accepting nominations for next year’s program this fall.

Congratulations to our winners, runners up, finalists and their departments!

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