Marsh O'Neill Award For Exceptional and Enduring Support of Stanford University's Research Enterprise

The Marsh O'Neill Award presents one of the few opportunities for faculty to acknowledge publicly the support of outstanding staff members who support their research activity.

In recognition of faculty appreciation for outstanding contributions to Stanford's research mission, this award is made annually to a member of the University's Staff or Academic Staff. The award is accompanied by a $5,000 cash prize. This prestigious award was inspired by the extraordinary career of Marsh O'Neill, Associate Director of the W.W. Hansen Laboratories, 1952 - 1990. Marsh was the first recipient of this award.


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About Marsh O'Neill

Marsh O'Neill,  Associate Director  W.W. Hansen Laboratories  1952 - 1990

Marsh O'Neill, who retired March 1, 1990 as associate director of the W.W. Hansen Laboratories, has been honored with an award "for exceptional and enduring support of Stanford University's research enterprise."


The inscription on the Marsh O'Neill Award reads:

For his academic statesmanship, and service to the entire Stanford community, mentoring colleagues, advising University Officers on research policies and practices, serving with cheer and quiet cooperation on numerous University committees and task forces;

for his 38 years of devotion and loyalty, culminating in his position as Associate Director of W.W. Hansen Laboratories, where he created models of perfection in management systems which made his operation the paradigm of all research departments;

for his management of more than 700 research projects totaling more than $361 million, which fostered the beginnings of SLAC, SSRL, high temperature superconductivity, tunneling microscopy, medical accelerators, tests of Einstein's theory of relativity, free electron laser and photon research, 13 National Academy of Science members, 3 Nobel Laureates, and 750 Ph.D.s; and

for his unfailing integrity, tact, humor, and patience in serving Stanford's research enterprise, managing to miraculously and consistently keep contract officers, entrepreneurial faculty, and auditors all happy at the same time,

MARSHALL D. O'NEILL Associate Director, W.W. Hansen Laboratories, 1952-1990

is hereby designated as the first recipient of THE MARSHALL D. O'NEILL AWARD For Exceptional and Enduring Support of Stanford's Research Enterprise.

O'Neill, who has worked at Stanford since 1952 and been associate director of Hansen since 1958, said the award, made at his retirement party, "was a delightful surprise. It touches me very deeply because of my long association with the University."

He also said that he believes that much of the credit for any success he has achieved should go to his predecessor, Fred Pindar, "who instilled in me the principles of research management and support."

Robert Byer, vice provost and dean of research, called O'Neill "a marvelous University citizen in every sense of the word."

From the Stanford News, March 2, 1990


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2019 Marsh O'Neill Award Recipients: Nona Chiariello and Niraj Dangoria

This year two employees have received the 2019 Marsh O’Neill Award for Exceptional and Enduring Support of Stanford University’s Research Enterprise: Nona Chiariello, staff scientist at Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve; and Niraj Dangoria, associate dean in the Office of Facilities Planning and Management at the School of Medicine.

Nona Chiariello

As the staff scientist at Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve, Nona Chiariello is involved in all aspects of how the Stanford community – and the regional community – interacts with the 1,193-acre preserve, which is located in the eastern foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Elizabeth Hadly, faculty director of the preserve and the Paul S. and Billie Achilles Professor in Environmental Biology in the School of Humanities and Sciences, and Anthony Barnosky, executive director of the preserve and a professor (research) of biology, wrote:

“In the 2017-18 academic year alone, there were 75 researchers conducting 60 different projects at Jasper Ridge, and Nona enabled the research of every one of them, in ways that ranged from helping them to craft proposals that maximize taking advantage of Jasper Ridge’s unique research environment, to helping them design and set up experiments – all the while preserving the unique cultural and ecological integrity that makes Jasper Ridge such as exceptional resource for Stanford.”

Niraj Dangoria

As associate dean of facilities planning and management for the School of Medicine, Niraj Dangoria has a long list of responsibilities: space planning, capital projects, maintenance and repairs, space rental and leasing, renovation, project management, emergency preparedness, and health and safety functions in the school’s buildings, on and off campus.

Linda Boxer, vice dean of the School of Medicine and professor of medicine (hematology), said few areas are as important and potentially contentious as research space, and no area has consistently created more headaches, anxiety, anger and disappointment than the issue of space constraints in recent years.

“It is against this background that Niraj has worked his magic – consistently, even-handedly, logically and cleverly,” she wrote. “During his tenure at the School of Medicine, I imagine Niraj has positively affected the work life of almost every faculty member and employee.”

Read more about Nona Chiariello and Niraj Dangoria.

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2018 Marsh O'Neill Award Recipient: Todd Eberspacher

Todd Eberspacher, Facilities, EH&S and Infrastructure IT Manager, Department of Chemistry, winner of the 2018 Marsh O'Neill Award . To quote one of many faculty  testimonials "His passion for laboratory work and his striving for excellence in all its aspects is both a huge enabler of our work and an inspiration to find and deploy the best experimental tools and resources." Read more.

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2017 Marsh O'Neill Award Recipient: Miguel Alvarez

Miguel Alvarez, animal care supervisor in the Veterinary Service Center of the Department of Comparative Medicine, will received the 2017 Marsh O’Neill, an honor in which faculty acknowledges outstanding staff members who support research activity.  Read More!


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2016 Marsh O'Neill Award Recipient: Jon Mulholland

Jon Mulholland 2016 Marsh O'Neill Winner.  Jon is the Director of the Cell Sciences Imaging Facility.   

Over the last 15 years, Jon Mulholland has transformed the Cell Sciences Imaging Facility into a world-class center by working tirelessly to keep Stanford at the leading edge of the revolution in technological advances in light and electron microscopy.

Jon Mulholland, director of the Cell Sciences Imaging Facility, is this year’s winner of Stanford’s Marsh O’Neill Award. That was one of many accolades bestowed by faculty members on Mulholland, winner of the 2016 Marsh O’Neill Award for Exceptional and Enduring Support of Stanford University’s Research Enterprise. Faculty members also described Mulholland as “an outstanding scientist, manager and educator,” “a treasure” and “a real star.” Read more about Jon Mulholland.

Jon Mulholland


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2015 Marsh O'Neill Award Recipient: Karlheinz Merkle

One short sentence, tucked among the many testimonials for Karlheinz Merkle, winner of the 2015 Marsh O'Neill Award, nicely sums up his impact on experimental research at Stanford: "He made my research idea come true."

Merkle, who has been the supervisor of the Physics Machine Shop since 1998, is the winner of this year's Marsh O'Neill Award for Exceptional and Enduring Support of Stanford University's Research Enterprise.

In the shop, located in the Varian Physics Building, Merkle and three laboratory machinists design and fabricate – and modify – highly specialized components essential to state-of-the-art research in the physical sciences and engineering. As members of the last full-service machine shop on campus, their services are in demand throughout the research community.

Read more about Karlheinz Merkle.

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2014 Marsh O'Neill Award Recipient

The 2014 recipient of the Marshall D. O'Neill Award for outstanding support of research at Stanford University has been announced!

Fernando Lopez-Lezcano, System Administrator- Lecturer

Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics, Department of Music

Read More!

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Previous Marsh O'Neill Recipients


Martha L. Kessler, Director of Finance and Administration, Health Research and Policy and Spectrum
Chris Webb, Ph.D., Executive Director, Spectrum

Read more!


Senior Research Scientist, Nanocharacterization Lab


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  • Christopher Scott Director of Research Development, School of Medicine Executive Director, ACCESS Associate Director, Beckman Center


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  • Grace Baysinger Head Librarian and Bibliographer, Swain Chemistry and Chemical Engineering Library, SUL/AIR

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