Pillars of the Profession

Each year at the NASPA Annual 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 them deserving of this honor. If selected as a Pillar, the nominator and selected Foundation Board member will raise $3,500 in the name of the individual being nominated to further research and scholarship in student affairs.The NASPA Foundation’s Pillar of the Profession Award honors members of the profession who: 

  • Have provided significant service to NASPA through regional and/or national leadership roles within the Association; and
  • Have created a lasting impact on the institution(s)/organization(s) at which they have worked, leaving a legacy of extraordinary service recognized by a cross-section of institutional/organizational stakeholders; and/or
  • Have demonstrated sustained, lifetime professional distinction in the field of student affairs and/or higher education. 


Nomination Process:

Nominations may be submitted by individual NASPA members, family members, students, a NASPA Region, a NASPA member institution, or a student organization at a NASPA member institution or other individuals associated with the student affairs profession. Nominees should stand out in at least two of the three areas outlined in the criteria with particular attention paid to service to NASPA.
If selected as a Pillar, the nominator will be asked to:
  • Partner with a Foundation Board member to raise $3,500 in the Pillar’s honor
  • Participate in a brief fundraising training call in fall 2023. 
  • Communicate often and collectively with the Foundation Board member in regard to fundraising efforts and tactics
    • This can include:
        • Aid in developing a fundraising plan and meet when necessary with your dedicated board member
        • Assist the selected Pillar in creating a robust solicitation list. This includes gathering names and contact information for individuals who may be interested in contributing on behalf of the Pillar.
        • Participate in outreach for gifts on behalf of the Pillar
        • Consistent communication with your dedicated board member regarding outreach efforts and timelines
The NASPA Foundation will vote to approve nominations at the annual September Board meeting and inform the nominee and nominators of their selection by mid-October. The Pillar of the Profession class will be formally recognized at the NASPA Annual Conference. An alphabetical list of the Pillars of the Profession can be downloaded here.
Nominations for the 2024 class are open and will close July 17. 
For submissions, nominators should submit the following documents:
  • Complete the contact information below for the Nominator and the Nominee
  • A copy of nominee’s current CV or resume’
  • Nominators may solicit up to three (3) additional letters on behalf of the nominee beyond the nominator's own nomination. One letter should focus on NASPA involvement and no more than three letters will be accepted. 

Nominate a Pillar

Applications close July 17

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 up to two previous Pillars of the Profession who continue to grow and strengthen the student affairs field. This is the NASPA Foundation’s highest honor. 


View Past Recipients

John L. Blackburn Distinguished Pillars

2023 Distinguished Pillar of the Profession

2022 Distinguished Pillars of the Profession

2021 Distinguished Pillars of the Profession

Class of 2020

Class of 2019

Class of 2018

Class of 2017

Class of 2016

Class of 2015

Class of 2014

Class of 2013

Class of 2012

Past Pillar of the Profession Recipients

The following individuals have been honored with the NASPA Foundation's Pillar of the Profession Award, which is granted on the following criteria:
  • Have provided significant service to NASPA through regional and/or national leadership roles within the Association.
  • Have created a lasting impact on the institution(s)/organization(s) at which they have worked, leaving a legacy of extraordinary service recognized by a cross-section of institutional/organizational stakeholders.
  • Have demonstrated sustained, lifetime professional distinction in the field of student affairs and/or higher education.

An alphabetical list of past Pillars of the Profession can be downloaded here

Past Pillars of the Profession

2023 Pillars of the Profession
Pam Agoyo
Director of American Indian Student Services and Special Assistant to the President for American Indian Affairs
University of New Mexico

Lea M. Jarnagin
Holistic Coach, Facilitator & Strategist
Dr. J Consulting

Josie Ahlquist
Digital Engagement and Leadership Consultant
Dr. Josie, Inc.

Delmy M. Lendof
Vice President for Student Affairs
Pratt Institute

Michael N. Christakis
Vice President for Student Affairs
University at Albany

Terry C. Mena
Vice President and Dean of Students
Northeastern Illinois University

Kimberlie L. Goldsberry
Associate Vice President for Student Affairs
DePaul University

Lori Patton Davis
Professor and Department Chair
The Ohio State University

Stephanie A. Gordon
Vice President for Professional Development

Julie A. Payne-Kirchmeier
Vice President for Student Success
Indiana University

Juan R. Guardia
Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students
University of Cincinnati

Helen Grace Ryan
Vice President for Student Affairs
Bellarmine University

Shelia Higgs Burkhalter
Vice President for Student Affairs
Winthrop University

Nanette Vega
Assistant Dean for Diversity, Inclusion & Community Engagement; Assistant Professor for Medical Education
University of Miami Miller School of Medicine

Darryl B. Holloman
Vice President for Student Affairs
Spelman College

Wayne Young Jr.
Vice Provost for Student Success
Creighton University

Robin Holmes-Sullivan
Lewis & Clark College

Regina Young Hyatt
Vice President for Student Affairs
Mississippi State University

Carole Hughes
Director of Graduate Student Life
Boston College

2022 Pillars of the Profession
2021 Pillars of the Profession

Danita M. Brown Young
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Evette Castillo Clark
Dean of Students
Saint Mary's College of California

Kevin T. Colaner (posthumous)
Associate Vice President / Chief of Operations
California State Polytechnic University - Pomona

Walter Diaz
Vice President for Student Affairs
Eastern Connecticut State Unviersity

Janet Smith Dickerson
Vice President for Student Affairs
The Claremont Colleges Services

Debra F. Geller
Associate Dean of Students
University of California-Los Angeles

Kathy L. Guthrie
Associate Professor, Higher Education
Florida State University

Jim Hoppe
Vice President & Dean for Campus Life
Emerson College

Georj L. Lewis
Atlanta Metropolitan State College

Chris S. Meiers
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs
Washington State University - Tri-Cities

Beth Moriarty
Higher Education Consultant

Tonantzin Oseguera
Vice President for Student Affairs
California State University Fullerton

Rose Pascarell
Vice President for University Life
George Mason University

Laura E. Valdez
Director, Office of Advising Strategies
University of New Mexico

Lawrence P. Ward
Vice President for Learner Success and Dean of Campus Life
Babson College

2020 Pillars of the Profession

Angela E. Batista
Vice President of Student Affairs and Institutional Diversity and Inclusion, Champlain College

Paul R. Bennion
Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students,The College of Idaho

Michael D. Coomes
Emeritus Associate Professor of Higher Education and Student Affairs,Bowling Green State University

Jacob L. Diaz
Regional Assistant Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs and Student Success/ Dean of Students,University of South Florida, St. Petersburg

Pauline M. Dobrowski
Vice President for Student Affairs,Stonehill College

Brandi Hephner LaBanc
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs & Campus Life,University of Massachusetts Amherst

Kathryn T. Hutchinson
Vice President for Student Affairs,St. John's University

Jan Minoru Javinar
Specialist Faculty Assistant to the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs,University of Hawai'i West O'ahu

Maureen Keefe
Vice President of Student Development,Massachusetts College of Art and Design

John Wesley Lowery
Professor and Department Chair, SAHE,Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Daniel M. Maxwell
Associate Vice Chancellor/Associate Vice President for Student Affairs, University of Houston

Salvador B. Mena
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, Rutgers University, New Brunswick

Shana L. Warkentine Meyer
Vice President for Student Affairs, Missouri Western State University

Sandra Olson-Loy
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, University of Minnesota-Morris

Jeffrey S. Putman
Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs, SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University

Elena M. Sandoval-Lucero
Vice President, Boulder County Campus, Front Range Community College

Christine Schneikart-Luebbe
Dean of Students, Senior Student Affairs Officer, Newman University

David Zamojski
Assistant Dean of Students and Director of Residence Life, Boston University

2019 Pillars of the Profession

Javaune Adams-Gaston

Senior Vice President for Student Life, The Ohio State University

Timothy A. Alvarez

President, Otero Junior College

Susan E. Borrego

Chancellor, University of Michigan-Flint

Sherryl A. Byrd

Vice President for Student Affairs, Austin Peay State University

Trina Dobberstein

Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students, Baldwin Wallace University

Kenneth Elmore

Associate Provost and Dean of Students, Boston University

Wendy Endress

Vice Provost for Student & Academic Life, The Evergreen State College

Pamela Havice

Professor of Higher Education and Student Affairs, Clemson University

Debbie E. Heida

Chief of Staff, Berry College

Joy L. Hoffman

Independent Contractor-Trainer

Cedric B. Howard

Vice President for Enrollment and Student Services, SUNY Fredonia

Larry W. Lunsford

Vice President for Student Affairs, Florida International university

Kathryn Mueller

Vice President of Student Services, Coastline Community College

James Davidson Porter

Vice President of Student Affairs, Tulane University

Robert A. Schwartz

Professor of Higher Education, Educational Leadership and Policies Studies, Florida State University

Matthew R. Wawrzynski

Associate Professor of Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education, Michigan State University

Sarah B. Westfall

Vice President for Student Development and Dean of Students, Kalamazoo College

2018 Pillars of the Profession

Mamta Accapadi

Vice President for Student Affairs, Rollins College

Tony Cawthon

Alumni Distinguished Professor, Clemson University

Paulette Dalpes

Vice President, Student Affairs, Community College of Aurora

W. Houston Dougharty

Vice President for Student Affairs, Hofstra University

Felice Dublon

Vice President and Dean of Student Affairs, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Mary Jo Gonzales

Vice President of Student Affairs, Washington State University

Hampton Hawkins

President, Carolina College of Health Sciences

Tom Jackson Jr.

President, Black Hills State University

Sherry Mallory

Dean of Students, Revelle College, University of California, San Diego

Brian McCoy

Professor of Psychology, Nichols College

Kandy Mink Salas

Program Director, College Counseling and Student Development Program, Azusa Pacific University

Denzil Suite

Vice President for Student Life, University of Washington

Annemarie Vaccaro

Associate Professor, University of Rhode Island

2017 Pillars of the Profession
Marilyn Amey
Department Chair of Educational Administration, Michigan State University

Teri Bump
Vice President for University Relations/ Student Affairs, American Campus Communities

Nancy Crimmin
Vice President and Chief Academic and Student Affairs Officer, Becker College

Brian Haynes
Vice President for Student Affairs, California State University San Bernardino

John Hoffman
Director, Doctor of Educational Leadership Program, California State University Fullerton
Harry Le Grande
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, University of California Berkeley

Patrick Love
Vice President for Student Affairs, New York Institute of Technology

Ellen Neufeldt
Vice President for Student Engagement and Enrollment Services, Old Dominion University

Brett Perozzi
Associate Vice President for Student Affairs, Weber State University

Judy Sakaki
President, Sonoma State University

Frank Sanchez
President, Rhode Island College
2016 Pillars of the Profession

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

President, Valley City State University

Kenneth Kelly

Director, SOAR/Parent and Family Program/Testing and Evaluation Services, California State University, Long Beach

Anna M. Ortiz

Professor, 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

2015 Pillars of the Profession

Kevin Bailey
Rosie P.Bingham
Kari Ellingson
Anna Gonzalez
Ellen Heffernan
Brent Paterson
Enrique Ramos
Richard Rossi
Melissa Vito
Vernon Wall
Laura Wankel
Jeanine Ward-Roof

2014 Pillars of the Profession

Margaret Balistreri-Clarke
Delight Champagne
Magdalena H. de La Teja
Richard Hoover
Helen Matusow-Ayres
Timothy Millerick
Debra Moriarty
Richard Mullendore
Lori Reesor
Gregory Roberts
Marcia Lou "Cissy" Petty
Mark Shanley
Eugene Zdziarski

2013 Pillars of the Profession

Peg Blake
Joe Buchanan
Barbara Fienman
Jill Halvaks
Edward Hammond
Shaun Harper
Robert Kelly
Robert Page
Mary Skorheim
Sharyn Slavin Miller
James Studer
Victor Yanitelli

2012 Pillars of the Profession

Marilee Bresciani
Mary Coburn
Enrique Iglesias Hidalgo
Randy Hyman
Lyle Gohn
Levester Johnson
Gage Paine
Sandy Scherrens
Ed Spencer
Brian Sullivan
Patricia Telles-Irvin
Charlotte Tullos
Carol Wiggins

2011 Pillars of the Profession

Charlotte Burgess
Michael Cuyjet
Margaret Healy
Joan Kindle
Phyllis Mable
Jim Moore
Steve Neilson
Penny Rue
Robert Shaffer
Gail Short Hanson
Bette Simmons

2010 Pillars of the Profession

Stan Carpenter
Mary Desler
Diana Doyle
Bob Gatti
Tom Hill
George McClellan
Wanda Mercer
Tom Robinson
Mary Beth Snyder
Cheo Torres
Jo Anne Trow
Howard Wang
Jan Winniford

2009 Pillars of the Profession

Jill Carnaghi
Art Constantino
Tom Crady
Bill Flanagan
Brian Hemphill
Zenobia Hikes (in memoriam)
Susan Hunter Hancock
Carmen Jordan-Cox
Robert Naples
Tom Shandley
Lisa Waits
Lori White
Pat Whitely

2008 Pillars of the Profession

Judith Albin
Renee Barnett Terry
Larry G. Benedict
Kathleen Cramer
John Cernech
Michael Dannells
Jackie Gribbons
Ray Heath
Art Jackson
Barbara Jones
Richard Keeling
Kurt Keppler
Dorothy Knoll
Ronni Sanlo

2007 Pillars of the Profession

Sara A. Boatman
Margaret A. Jablonski
William L. Kibler
James R. Kitchen
Gary Kleeman
Bob Leach
Frances Lucas
Prakash Mathew
Fred W. Rhodes
Dwight L. Rideout
J. Michael Segawa
Janet E. Walbert
Jamie Washington

2006 Pillars of the Profession

Frank P. Ardaiolo
Patricia E. Askew
James A. Griesen
Ronald R. Kopita
Sheila Murphy
William L. Riley
Paula M. Rooney
Anthony R. Ross
C. Carney Strange
Patricia S. Terrell

2005 Pillars of the Profession

Donald Blumenthal
Cynthia Cherrey
Cynthia Forrest
Kent Gardner
Tom Goodale
Harold Holmes
Johan Madson
Kathleen Manning
Richard McKaig
Dennis Pruitt
Joy Smith
Margie Van Vooren
George Wallman
Ed Whipple

2004 Pillars of the Profession

Susan Adams
Johnetta Cross Brazzell
Dean Bresciani
Evelyn Clements
Henry Gee
Barbara Henley
Michael Jackson
Kevin Kruger
Linda Kuk
Thomas Miller
Dennis Murphy
Karen Pennington
Larry Roper
Alvin Tagomori
Jack Warner
Sue Weitz
Lee Wilcox

2003 Pillars of the Profession

Don Adams
Cherry Callahan
Larry Dietz
Kevin Duffy
Shannon Ellis
John Gavigan
Dennis Golden
Barbara Hollman
Don Howard
James Hurst
Almeda Jacks
Sandra Matsui
Sandy McClean
Keith Miser
J. Harrison Morson
Larry Moneta
Myrtis Powell
Theresa Powell
Karen Rigg
Hazel Scott
Saunie Taylor
Penny Wills

2002 Pillars of the Profession

Amefil Agbayani
Timothy Brooks
Marsha Duncan
Gwendolyn J. Dungy
Hal Gin
Elizabeth Griego
William Griffith
Sharon Justice
James Kuder
Don Mills
Mikell O'Donnell
Frederick Preston
Nancy Scott
Barbara Snyder
Alan Yang

2001 Pillars of the Profession

Barbara E. Bender
William R. Butler
James E. Caswell
Jon Dalton
Ursula Delworth
Larry H. Ebbers
Donald D. Gehring
Anne E. Golseth
Suzanne E. Gordon
John J. Koldus, III
Susan R. Komives
George Kuh
Gary Pavela
John Schuh
James E. Scott
Caryl Kelley Smith
Richard Stenard
Harvey Welch, Jr.

2000 Pillars of the Profession

David A. Ambler
Margaret J. Barr
Ronald Beer
Doris M. Ching
Joan Claar
Tom Dutton
Richard J. Correnti
James Lyons
Donald R. Moore
Dudley B. Woodard

1999 Pillars of the Profession

James R. Appleton
John W. Beatty
John L. Blackburn
Channing Briggs
Judy Chambers
Robert H. Ewalt
Billy D. Jellison
Alice Manicur
Jesse Marks
Wilma Minton
Elizabeth Nuss
Chester Peters
James Rhatigan
Arthur Sandeen
Laurence Smith
Emily Taylor
William (Bud) Thomas
John R. Webb
Gary E. Widmar
D. Parker Young
George Young