Commodore Award recognition of Dennis Spann

Remarks by Dean Linda Norman during awarding of Commodore Award to Vanderbilt School of Nursing’s Dennis Spann

Dennis Spann joined Vanderbilt 21 years ago. He spent five years with VUMC’s Center for Clinical Improvement before moving to Facilities and Plant Services as Administrative Officer. He handled office administration, budgeting, payroll, and operations for facilities, physical plant systems, and construction for 15 years under Vice Chancellor Ken Browning. In 2016, Dennis joined the School of Nursing as Administrative Officer for Space & Facilities and immediately became the go-to person for everything connected to our physical spaces. Within months of his arrival, VUSN launched its new building expansion project, and Dennis added coordinating construction activities to his other responsibilities.

Staff, students, and faculty use the same words about Dennis — kind, helpful, calm. “His acts of kindness show his appreciation of others. Dennis understands the value of excellence because it shows in everything he does,” one staff member wrote. “His consistently positive and friendly demeanor always brightens my day,” a faculty member said. “Dennis, without fail, treats everyone with respect and dignity. Dennis truly values all people he comes in contact with,” said another. Dennis has the gift to achieve positive outcomes while simultaneously working collaboratively as a devoted team member to keep things moving forward.

He makes the challenges of construction occurring beside classrooms and faculty offices look easy. “I believe he is the glue that holds us and the building together,” said a colleague. “From calling in work orders to ensuring that daily life at VUSN is as smooth as possible during renovations, you can always count on Dennis to be there for you,” said another.

Dennis finds significant ways to put Vanderbilt – and its people – first. The Saturday before we held the expansion’s grand opening — when no one else was onsite — Dennis was at work installing plants in the building’s lobby. One of his supporters put it best. “Dennis Spann makes Vanderbilt University a better place to learn, work, and live.”

Dennis has two dogs, a miniature donkey named Jose, and chickens. He loves gardening and spending time at his condo in Pensacola.