“Recognition is not a scarce resource. You can’t use it up or run out of it.” -Susan M. Heathfield

As we continue to navigate the waters of a tumultuous political season, changing protocols amidst a global pandemic, and the uncertainty facing the future of higher education, it often feels like identifying positive success stories becomes more and more challenging. Now, more than ever, we must pull each other up and celebrate great achievement under extraordinary challenges.

While COVID-19 has changed the way we work, it has not changed the importance of that work. During times of crisis, it’s important to remember the good work that we continue to do in service to NIRSA and our students. This year, more than ever, we call on our colleagues to recognize these achievements by nominating a colleague, coworker, or friend for a NIRSA Annual Service Award.

NIRSA presents Service Awards to members who demonstrate exceptional performance in leadership and development of NIRSA programs, policies, events, special projects, or committees. This can be for one-time or cumulative efforts made during the year of nomination. Greater detail on eligibility and selection criteria—as well as the nomination form—are available online.

Nominate a colleague, coworker, or friend online through Monday, November 16. Nominators will submit a letter detailing why the nominee is most deserving of the Service Award. New this year, up to three additional letters of support can be uploaded; letters of support are optional.

Nominees must have a current NIRSA membership, have held a membership during the service year, have not have been previously recognized for the same contribution, and must be in good standing with the Association.

Need more inspiration? Check out our 2020 Award winners contributions as well as those from previous years!

2020 Professional NIRSA Annual Service Award Recipients

  • Randall Ford, University of Texas at Austin, for outstanding leadership and service to the association as Chair of the NIRSA Championship Series Executive Committee
  • David Bowles, University of Florida, for exemplary leadership, vision, and dedication in his years of service as a member of the NIRSA National Services Corporation Board of Directors
  • Andrew C. Doyle, Southern New Hampshire University, for dedication and passion in service to Small Programs members of NIRSA and outstanding leadership in that regard in Region I
  • Jenna Smith, University of Western Ontario, for her leadership and dedication to advance the work of the Canadian Region and remarkable efforts to inspire engagement in the association

2020 Student NIRSA Annual Service Award Recipients

  • Alyssa Moncrief, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, for her extensive work on the Region IV Student Lead On committee and inspiring dedication to serve the students of NIRSA
  • Caroline Ayers Ciell, University of Alabama, for exemplary leadership and outstanding efforts to engage students as the 2018-2019 NIRSA Student Leader

2020 Group NIRSA Annual Service Award Recipients

  • Faculty of the Aspiring Directors Workshops, for their vision and leadership to develop educational offerings for the aspiring directors in NIRSA
  • NIRSA Championship Series Long-Term Vision Task Force (Series 2.0), for incredible vision and execution in the leadership and evolution of NIRSA’s Championship Series

In addition to the handsome plaque that is normally bestowed on recipients, the Annual Service Award Committee and NIRSA will creatively celebrate award winners for the upcoming virtual NIRSA Annual Conference. More importantly, you can shine a light on the amazing efforts of your fellow members during a time when many need a spark of positivity. Will you shine a spotlight on some’s NIRSA contributions in a year when it’s needed more than ever? Submit a nomination today!


  • For more information, please contact NIRSA Leadership Programs Coordinator Chelsea Hansson.

Andrew (Andy) Lemons, RCRSP, is currently the Director of Campus Recreation at St. Edward's University in Austin, Texas. He serves on the NIRSA Small Programs Advisory Council and as the Region IV Representative on the Member Network. He can be reached at andyl@stedwards.edu.

Associate Director of Programs at The University of Alabama | NIRSA Profile

Brooke Turner is currently the Associate Director of Programs at The University of Alabama; you can email her at brooke.turner@ua.edu.