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 late October. 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 2017 class closed Friday, August 5, 2016.  The 2017 class will be released October 2016.


We will begin accepting donations in honor of the 2017 class in October 2016. The on-line donation form and downloadable Pillars donation form will be updated at that time.

John L. Blackburn Distinguished Pillars

The John L. 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.

David A. Ambler

Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Emeritus, University of Kansas

Judith M. Chambers

Vice President for Student Life Emerita, University of the Pacific

View Past Recipients →

Pillars of the Profession Class of 2016

  • Peggy Burke

    Associate Vice President for Student Development

    DePaul University

  • Les P. Cook

    Vice President for Student Affairs and Advancement

    Michigan Technological University

  • Jody Donovan

    Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs/Dean of Students

    Colorado State University

  • Lisa A. Erwin

    Vice Chancellor for Student Life and Dean of Students

    University of Minnesota Duluth

  • Lori M. Ideta

    Interim Vice Chancellor for Students

    University of Hawaii at Manoa

  • Charles J. Fey

    Vice President for Academic Support and Student Affairs

    New Jersey Institute of Technology

  • Berenecea Johnson Eanes

    Vice President for Student Affairs

    California State University Fullerton

  • Tisa Mason


    Valley City State University

  • Kenneth Kelly

    Director, SOAR/Parent and Family Program/Testing and Evaluation Services

    California State University, Long Beach

  • Anna M. Ortiz


    California State University, Long Beach

  • Bridgette O. Pregliasco

    Assistant Professor

    University of Louisville

  • Wm. Gregory Sawyer

    Vice President for Student Affairs

    California State University, Channel Islands

  • Marc L. Wais

    Senior Vice President for Student Affairs

    New York University

  • Richard Walker

    Vice Chancellor/Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Services

    University of Houston