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SACSA Awards Winners
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At each annual conference, members of SACSA recognize the accomplishments of a select group of colleagues. The SACSA Awards and Recognition Committee invites the membership to make nominations for the four most prestigious awards given by the Association. These awards are based upon merit and may or may not be presented each year.

Please read the award descriptions below and then nominate a colleague using the online form.

The Melvene Draheim Hardee Award

The Melvene Draheim Hardee Award recognizes contributions to student personnel work by a member of the Association. Recognition will be for achievement in one or more of the following areas:

  • Development of a model program or concept that impacts student personnel work in the Southeast.
  • Significant research and/or publication.
  • Providing outstanding leadership in professional organizations and/or endeavors.
  • Any unique and outstanding contribution to student personnel work that calls for acceptance and acknowledgement throughout the profession.

Previous award recipients are:

Ted Miller, 1976 Harold Riker, 1977 Margaret Ruth Smith, 1979 Harold Grant, 1980 April Heiselt, 2012
Phyllis Mable, 1982 Annette Gibbs, 1985 Bob E. Leach, 1986 Don Gehring, 1987 Melanie McClellan, 2013
John Jones, 1988 Roger Winston, 1989 Patricia Murrell, 1990 Barbara Mann, 1991 Deb Kladivko, 2014
William Bryan, 1992 Glenn Stillon, 1993 Gregory Blimling, 1994 Anne E. Gordon, 1995 Adriel Hilton, 2015
Cynthia Bonner, 1996 Stanley Carpenter, 1997 Bill McDonald, 1998 Mary Howard-Hamilton, 1999
Diane Cooper, 2000 Fred Rhodes, 2001 Gerald E. Tice, 2002 Merrily S. Dunn, 2003
Tony Cawthon, 2004 Almeda R. Jacks, 2005 Harry Shucker, 2006 Ralph Johnson, 2007
Dennis Gregory, 2008 Pam Havice, 2009 BJ Mann, 2010 Joelle Davis Carter, 2011

The Howard Davis Sr. Award

The Howard Davis Sr. Award recognizes outstanding service rendered to SACSA by a member of the Association. Recognition will be for achievements in one or more of the following areas:

  • Performance of duty above the expected.
  • Completion of a service to the Association that reflected faithful and competent achievement.
  • Development of new programs or concepts with a positive impact upon the Association.

Previous award recipients:

Mildred English, 1977 Dorothy Truex, 1979 Rocky Renneisen, 1980 Monica Burke, 2012
Jean Jones, 1981 Pauline Gravlee, 1982 Robert Jones, 1983 Jane Adams-Dunford, 2013
John D. Jones, 1984 Annie L. Cooper, 1985 Garth Jenkins, 1986 Matt Varga, 2014
Martha McGee, 1987 Joe Buck, 1988 Harold Hall, 1989 Sherryl Byrd, 2015
Richard Hudson, 1990 Fred Rhodes, 1991 Glenda Earwood Smith, 1992
Don Gehring, 1993 Francine Madrey, 1994 Gerald E. Tice, 1995
C. William McKee, 1996 Wayne King, 1997 Ralph Johnson, 1998
Harold Holmes, 1999 Brit Katz, 2000 James F. Conneely, 2002
Melanie McClellan, 2003 Pam Moon, 2004 Vanessa W. Smith, 2005
Tony Cawthon, 2006 Mark Kidd, 2007 Ann Bailey, 2008
Bob Glenn, 2009 Clay Brown, 2010 Laura Waltrip, 2011

The Bobby E. Leach Award

The Bobby E. Leach Award recognizes a student affairs professional or graduate student who has contributed significantly to the development of multicultural relations on a college or university campus. Criteria is as follows:

  • Currently active in SACSA (one year minimum membership).
  • Must have been significantly involved at least two years in efforts, which have contributed to improvement of multicultural relations on his/her campus.

Previous award recipients:

Aaron Lamar, 1991 Ralph Johnson, 1992 Dennis Golden, 1993 Creston Lynch, 2013
Brenda Richardson, 1994 Charles F. Lynch, 1995 Vernon Wall, 1996 Brit Katz, 2014
Frances Lucas-Tauchar, 1998 Emanuel Newsome, 1999 Jane Adams-Dunford, 2000 Shawnboda Mead, 2015
Leon Wiles, 2001 Ian Art King, 2002 Gerald Spates, 2003
Monica Burke, 2004 Idella Goodson Glenn, 2005 Melissa Shivers, 2006
Michael Snowde, 2007 Marc Shook, 2008 Tanisha Jenkins, 2009
Lakiesa Cantey Rawlinson, 2010 Darris Means, 2011 Sabrina Brown, 2012

The New Professional Award

The New Professional Award recognizes a new professional who has provided exemplary service to SACSA. Criteria is as follows:

  • No more than five years of full-time experience in student affairs.
  • Current membership for at least one full year and active involvement in SACSA.
  • Demonstrated service to the profession (e.g., presented a paper, workshop, conducted research, demonstrated leadership) and promise shown for becoming a leader in the field.
  • Attended at least two SACSA affiliated professional development conferences, workshops, or activities.
  • Possess outstanding character and potential role model stature for other new professionals.

Previous award recipients:

Sissy Whitlock, 1991 Ted Scharre, 1992 Terri Ducker, 1993 April Sith, 2012
Beth Campbell, 1994 Glenn S. Bryant, 1995 Denisha Sanders, 1996 Aubrey Holt, 2013
Corey King, 1997 Janice Gerweck, 1998 Bonita Fields Vinson, 1999 Cordarius McLean, 2014
Bobbie Jean (BJ) Mann, 2000 Jennie Royal, 2001 Joelle Davis Carter, 2002 Christina Wan, 2015
Roland N. Bullard, Jr., 2003 Dwaun Warmack, 2004 Kevin Jacques, 2005
Linda Jameison, 2006 Brianne Meagher, 2007 Terrell Strayhorn, 2008
Shawnboda Mead, 2009 Khorey Baker, 2010 Alison Brown, 2011

The Mid-Level Professional Award

The Mid-Level Professional Award recognizes a mid-level professional who has provided exemplary service to SACSA and on a college or university campus. Criteria are as follows:

  • Minimum of six years of full-time professional experience supervising, maintaining budgets, and/or programming in a higher education setting.
  • Current membership for a minimum of three full years and active involvement in SACSA.
  • Demonstrated service to the profession and his/her institution (e.g., presented a paper or workshop locally or at a state, regional, or national conference, conducted research, mentored graduate students and new professionals, campus committee involvement, and professional association involvement)
  • Attended at least three SACSA affiliated professional development conferences, workshops, or activities.
  • Possess outstanding character and potential role model stature for new and other mid-level professionals.
Matt Clifford, 2013
Aretha Milligan, 2015

The Outstanding Graduate Student Award

The Outstanding Graduate Student Award recognizes a graduate student for their academic achievement, campus involvement and potential for significant contributions to the Student Affairs profession. Criteria are as follows:

  • Enrolled as a full-time student pursuing masters or doctoral work in a Student Affairs-related degree program, with intention of pursuing a career within Student Affairs.
  • Current membership for at least one full year and active involvement in SACSA.
  • Demonstrated academic achievement.
  • Active involvement and leadership roles in campus activities and organizations.
  • Possess a paraprofessional or intern-related position within the Student Affairs Division.
Reginald Lane, 2011 Janice Hicks, 2014
Emilie Cravens, 2012 Fred Tugas, 2015
Tekita Bankhead, 2013

The Joe Buck Service Award

This award is created to recognize the long-term membership and service of Dr. Joseph A. Buck, Vice President for Student Affairs Emeritus at Armstrong Atlantic State University, to the Southern Association for College Student Affairs. Dr. Buck currently serves as SACSA's inaugural Executive Director, a position for which he has volunteered since 2001. Prior to this role, Dr. Joe Buck has served SACSA with distinction since 1973. His accomplishments include:

  • SACSA Scholar, 2003, 2002
  • Local Arrangements Chair, 2000, 1990, 1980
  • SACSA Foundation participant
  • H. Howard Davis, Sr. Award Recipient, 1988
  • SACSA President, 1984-1985
  • SACSA Historian, 1976, 1975
  • Chair, By-Laws Committee, 1987, 1986
  • Chair, State of Georgia, Sexual Harassment Task Force. 1988, 1987
  • Chair, Consultative Services Program, 1977, 1976

The Joe Buck Service Award shall be presented to a dependable and dedicated SACSA member who has demonstrated exceptional commitment to the Association.

Selection criteria is as follows:

  • Minimum of 5 years of SACSA membershp.
  • Demonstrated record of committee service and/or leadership.
  • Has not served as an elected officer.
  • Has not received prior award recognition from SACSA.
  • Viewed by SACSA colleagues as a role model, mentor, and unsung hero of the Association.

Previous award recipients:

Kevin Koett, 2004 Bobby Woodard, 2011
Lisa D. Skelton, 2005 Dean Smedley, 2013
Bill Kelso, 2006 Lauren Rust, 2014
Kenneth Posner, 2007 Jason Cassidy, 2015
Roger Becks, 2008
Rusty Guill, 2009
Deb Kladivko, 2010


Dissertation of the Year Award

The Dissertation of the Year Award shall be presented to recognize high quality research by doctoral students in the SACSA region. Dissertations must be completed and signed between July 1 and June 30 of the year preceeding the SACSA conference where the award is to be announced (i.e. between July 1, 2010 and June 30, 2011 for the 2011 award). DEADLINE for submission is July 18, 2011. Submission information can be found here. Abstracts from winners from the past few years can be found on the SACSAworks page here.

Previous award recipients:

James L. McBride, 1982 Nancy Kane, 1983 Marilyn M. Buck, 1985 Rebecca Jane Caldwell, 2012
R. Thomas Fitch, 1987 Katherine Ford Spanton, 1988 Nancy Zimmerman, 1989 Claire Robbins, 2013
Scott Ingold, 1990 Bettie J. Glenn, 1991 James Conneely, 1992 Helen Diamond-Steele, 2013
Ralph Johnson, 1993 Jeffrey C. Long, 1994 Charles L. Donlin, Jr., 1994 runner up Ben Stubbs, 2014
Sherryl A. Byrd, 1995 Phyllis McCluskey-Titus, 1996 Leanne Newman, 1999 David Smith, 2015
Robert A. Littleton, 2001 David Jones, 2002 Jennifer Lease, 2003
Olga Rbalkina, 2004 Susan Martin, 2005 Jason Cassidy, 2006 (tie)
Ivan Harrell, 2006 (tie) Michael Shutt, 2007 C. Ryan Akers, 2008
Sarah Keeling, 2009 Matthew Clifford, 2010 Jodi Fisler, 2011


Research Incentive Grant

A Research Incentive Grant may be presented to encourage research in student affairs theory and practice. College student affairs professionals and graduate students working on a master's thesis or doctoral dissertation are eligible to compete for the award. The recipient must be from the SACSA region and be an active member of SACSA. For more information see the Research Committee page here or download details about the research grant here.

Previous grant recipients:

C. Ryan Akers, 2008 Linda Jameison, 2009 Tammy Kahrig, 2009 Emilie Cravens, 2012 Darrius Means, 2012
S. Regina Sargent, 2009 Melissa Gruver, 2010 Beau Seagraves, 2010 Jonathan L. Johnson, 2012 Adriel Hilton, 2015
Stacie Williams, 2010 Helen Diamond Steele, 2011 Jean Oldham, 2011 Sirena Cantrell, 2012
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