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:

  • 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. A current resume and up to three letters are required to nominate a Pillar of the Profession.  If selected as a Pillar, the nominator and selected Foundation Board member will raise $3,500 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. 

Nominations for the 2019 class closed Friday, August 3, 2018 and a list of past Pillars of the Profession is available here

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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 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.

Gwendolyn Jordan Dungy

Executive Director Emerita, NASPA

Susan R. Komives

Professor Emerita, University of Maryland College Park

View Past Recipients →

Pillars of the Profession 2019

  • Javaune Adams-Gaston

    Senior Vice President for Student Life

    The Ohio State University

  • Timothy A. Alvarez


    Otero Junior College

  • Susan E. Borrego


    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