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 them deserving of this honor. If selected as a Pillar, the nominator and selected Foundation Board member will raise $2,500 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. 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 2018 class closed Friday, August 4, 2017. 


We are accepting donations for the 2018 class! You may donate online or via hard copy.  

Pillar of the Profession Donations

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.

Larry Ebbers

University Professor Emeritus, Iowa State University

Elizabeth Nuss

Former Vice President and Dean of Students, Goucher College ,
Former Executive Director, NASPA

View Past Recipients →

Pillars of the Profession Class of 2018

  • 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 Hopkins


    Carolina College of Health Sciences

  • Tom Jackson Jr.


    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