Pillars of the Profession

Each year at the annual NASPA Conference, the NASPA Foundation recognizes a series of distinguished individuals who have served as leaders, teachers, and scholars in student affairs and higher education. Each individual is nominated and supported for designation as a Pillar by colleagues, students, friends, or others who find him or her deserving of this honor. In the nominee’s name, a gift of $2,500 is made to the Foundation to further research and scholarship in student affairs.

The NASPA Foundation’s Pillar of the Profession Award honors members of the profession who:

  • Are individuals of sustained professional distinction in the higher education field, as defined by donors and supporters
  • Have served in leadership roles in NASPA, either regionally or nationally
  • Are being recognized or remembered by colleagues, friends, students, or student organizations for extraordinary service
  • Significant lifetime contributions to the higher education field

Nomination Process:

Nominations may be submitted by individual NASPA members, family members, students, a NASPA Region, a NASPA member institution, students or a student organization at a NASPA member institution or other individuals associated with the student affairs profession. If selected as a Pillar, the nominator and selected Foundation Board member will raise $2,500 in the name of the nominate. The NASPA Foundation will vote to approve nominations at the annual September Board meeting and inform the nominee of their selection by October 1. The Pillar of the Profession class will be formally recognized at the NASPA Annual Conference. If the nomination was not selected, the name will move forward for one year. After this the nominator would need to nominate the individual again. A current resume and up to three letters are required to nominate a Pillar of the Profession. Nominations for the 2015 class will open in summer 2014.


We are currently accepting donations in honor of the 2014 class. Use the on-line donation form or downloadable Pillars donation form today.

John T. Blackburn Distinguished Pillars

The John Blackburn Distinguished Pillar Award

This award is presented annually in conjunction with the Pillars of the Profession award. The Foundation Board selects a previous Pillar of the Profession who has continued to grow and strengthen the student affairs field. This is the NASPA Foundation’s highest honor.  The 2014 John Blackburn Distingushed Pillar is Dr. Arthur Sandeen.

Arthur Sandeen

Professor, University of Florida

Arthur Sandeen was born in Chicago in 1938 and was educated in the public schools in Hinsdale, Illinois. He earned his B.A. degree in religion and psychology in 1960 from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, his M.A. degree in college student personnel administration from Michigan State University in 1962, and his Ph.D. degree from Michigan State in 1965 in administration and higher education. In 1982, he was a Fulbright Scholar in West Germany, and in 1984, completed the Institute for Educational Management program at Harvard University. Sandeen served as a head resident adviser and coordinator of freshmen orientation at Michigan State University from 1962-65, and as Associate Director of Residence Hall Programs from 1965-67. From 1967-73, he served as Dean of Students and Associate Professor of Higher Education at Iowa State. In 1973, he was appointed Vice President for Student Affairs and Professor of Higher Education at the University of Florida and served in this position until August 1, 1999. He served as Professor of Educational Leadership and Coordinator of the graduate program in student personnel in higher education from 1999-2004. He retired from UF on December 31, 2004. Sandeen was elected President of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators in 1977, and in 1987, chaired the committee that wrote the report, ‘A Perspective on Student Affairs’, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Student Personnel Point of View. He is the author of 3 monographs, over 50 published articles, 21 chapters in books, and 6 books; Undergraduate Education: Conflict and Change (D.C. Heath, 1976); The Chief Student Affairs Officer: Leader, Manager, Mediator, Educator (Jossey Bass, 1991); Improving Leadership in Student Affairs Administration (C.C. Thomas, 2000); Making a Difference: Profiles of Outstanding Student Affairs Leaders (NASPA, 2001); Enhancing Student Engagement on Campus (University Press of America, 2003); and Critical Issues in Student Affairs: Challenges and Opportunities (Jossey-Bass, 2006, with Margaret Barr). He received the Fred Turner Award in 1982 for contributions to NASPA, the Scott Goodnight Award in 1990 for outstanding performance as a dean, and NASPA’s award for contributions to research and literature in 2000.

View Past Recipients →

Pillars of the Profession Class of 2014

  • Margaret Balistreri-Clarke

    Vice President for Student Development / Dean of Students

    Edgewood College

  • Delight Champagne

    Prof of Psych/Director of the Student Personnel in Higher Education

    Springfield College

  • Magdalena H. de La Teja

    Vice President for Student Development Services

    Northeast Campus of Tarrant County College District

  • Richard Hoover

    Senior Lecturer Emeritus

    University of Nebraska - Lincoln

  • Helen Matusow-Ayres

    Vice President for Student Affairs

    Pratt Institute

  • Timothy Millerick

    Vice President for Student Affairs and Athletics

    Austin College

  • Debra Moriarty

    Vice President for Student Affairs

    Towson University

  • Richard Mullendore


    University of Georgia

  • Lori Reesor

    Vice President for Student Affairs

    University of North Dakota

  • Gregory Roberts

    Executive Director

    ACPA - College Student Educators International

  • Marcia Lou "Cissy" Petty

    Vice President for Student Affairs and Associate Provost for Academic Affairs

    Loyola University New Orleans

  • Mark Shanley

    Vice President of Student Affairs

    Radford University

  • Eugene Zdziarski

    Vice President for Student Affairs & Dean of Students

    Roanoke College