NIRSA Assembly

NIRSA Honor Award

The NIRSA Honor Award is the highest award given by our Association. It recognizes a member for outstanding achievements in the profession and exemplary service to the Association.

This prestigious award is presented each year during the NIRSA Annual Conference where colleagues celebrate the recipient’s many contributions to the field of collegiate recreation.

The nomination deadline is Friday, November 1, 2019

Submit Nomination
If you submitted an Honor Award nomination letter more than three years ago, please consider resubmitting or updating the letter to keep your nominee’s file under consideration and as up-to-date as possible. Please contact NIRSA Leadership Programs Coordinator to resubmit or update your letter.
Nomination letters are only active for five years after submission.


To be eligible for nomination, the individual should meet all of the following criteria:

  • Be a NIRSA Member in good standing (former members retired from the profession retain eligibility)
  • Be at least 35 years of age
  • Have at least eight years of experience in the field of collegiate recreation
  • Exemplify strong standards of ethical behavior, consistent with the NIRSA Code of Ethics

Nomination Requirements

Prepare a letter of nomination indicating how your nominee exhibits outstanding volunteer leadership in the Association and exceptional leadership on their campus by addressing the Eligibility and Selection Criteria:

  • Nominee must have at least three letters of support from NIRSA members to be considered
  • Encourage others who know the nominee to submit their own letter and provide additional insight (It is a conflict of interest for serving committee members to submit a nomination letter and recommendation for any nominee)
  • Nominators must provide accurate data relating to dates and accomplishment for cited contributions
  • Submit your nomination materials via the link at the top of this page

Selection Criteria

Your letter of nomination should address your nominee’s qualifications within as many of the following areas as possible:

  • Participation in efforts of significant breadth or impact to the services or programs of the Association
  • Contribution in efforts to support the Association through times of transition, change, self-assessment, or planning
  • Innovation or fulfillment of new initiatives within the Association
  • Contribution to the Association’s commitment to serve and recruit a diverse membership
  • Influence, motivation, or support in the development of students, young professionals, or emerging leaders in the profession
  • Contribution to the learning or scholarly endeavors of others through research, assessment, teaching, presentations, or publication development
  • Accomplishment of goals or strategic projects, through appointed roles or elected office within the Association at the institutional, state, regional, or national level
  • Enhancement of the visibility, awareness, or impact of the profession and/or the Association to external organizations, business or governing entities, or individuals

Additional characteristics/achievements that will be considered:

  • Volunteerism with public or civic organizations
  • Honors and awards

Tips for writing letters of support for Honor Award nominees

  • Don’t just say how wonderful your nominee is; give solid, well described examples of how your nominee meets or exceeds the selection criteria, and provide honest, specific information by expanding on examples from their resume
  • Show how your nominee was involved in volunteer leadership and give concrete examples as to what was accomplished as a result of their leadership
    • Example: “as an active member of three national committees, and the chair of two, (nominee) worked on (committee, sub-committee, leadership group) and was instrumental in hosting the (symposium/workshop, etc.)”
  • List ways your nominee has provided support to students and young professionals
  • Share your nominee’s significant contributions to their campus, showcasing any involvement in the support of NIRSA goals and professional and student development

Previous Recipients

2019 — Stan L. Shingles, Central Michigan University – Learn more
2018 — Vicki Highstreet, RCRSP, University of Nebraska-Lincoln – Learn more
2017 — Greg Jordan, Oakland University – Learn more
2016 — Mick Deluca, UCLA – Learn more
2015 — Moe McGonagle, DePaul University – Learn more
2014 — Mark Fletcher, University of Virginia – Learn more
2013 — Thomas G. Kirch, RCRSP, Oregon State University
2012 — Juliette R. Moore, CRSS, The University of Arizona
2011 — Kathryn George Bayless, CRSS, Indiana University
2010 — Patricia “Patti” Bostic, University of Connecticut

2009 — Sue Ivie Boling, CRSS, Virginia Commonwealth University
2008 — Sid Gonsoulin, CRSS, University of Southern Mississippi
2007 — Tom Dison, The University of Texas at Austin
2006 — John T. Meyer, CRSS, University of Colorado
2005 — Pat Besner, University of Toledo
2004 — Samuel Hirt, CRSS, Vanderbilt University
2003 — Natalie Kovac, CRSS, NIRSA National Center
2002 — Stan Campbell, CRSS, University of Nebraska – Lincoln
2001 — Hazel Varner, CRSS, Keene State College
2000 — Lawrence Preo, Purdue University, West Lafayette

1999 — J. Michael Dunn, Ohio State University
1998 — Jeff Vessely, Indiana University – Purdue University, Indianapolis
1997 — Janet C. Gong, University of California, Davis
1996 — Jesse A. “Tony” Clements, CRSS, University of Illinois
1995 — Horace Moody, Southern University
1994 — Judith Bryant, Georgia State University
1993 — Charles E. Fisher, CRSS, Oregon State University
1992 — Patti Holmes, CRSS, Holmes Training & Development
1991 — Mary A. Daniels, CRSS, The Ohio State University
1990 — Bill Vendl, CRSS, California State University, Long Beach

1989 — Gene Lamke, CRSS, San Diego State University
1988 — Don C. Bailey, CRSS, University of North Texas
1987 — Tom R. Jones, CRSS, Central Michigan University
1986 — Richard F. Mull, CRSS, Indiana University
1985 — Dennis A. Corrington, CRSS, Texas A&M University
1984 — William G. Manning, University of California, Berkeley
1983 — Louis Marciani, CRSS, University of Southern Mississippi
1982 — Chuck Schelsky, CRSS, Oklahoma State University
1981 — William A. Thompson, CRSS, Long Beach City College
1980 — Will M. Holsberry, CRSS, Oregon State University

1979 — Ellis J. Mendelsohn, CRSS, University of Louisville
1978 — C.E. “Pat” Mueller, University of Minnesota
1977 — David O. Matthews, CRSS, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
1976 — A.A. “Sonny” Rooker, CRSS, Governor’s Commission on Physical Fitness, Texas
1975 — Ned A. Linta, Delaware Valley College
1974 — H. Edsel Buchanan, CRSS, University of Nebraska, Omaha
1973 — Paul H. Gunsten, CRSS, Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University
1972 — J. Clinton Hollinger, The Cooper Union
1971 — Ross E. Townes, North Carolina Central University
1970 — Al C. Zuaro, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy

1969 — William N. Wasson, CRSS, Wayne State University
1968 — Albert E. Lumley, Amherst College
1967 — Embra C. Bowie, Morgan State College
1966 — Earl Riskey, University of Michigan
1965 — John Heffernan, Brown University
1964 — Paul V. Keen, University of Oklahoma
1963 — George Haniford, CRSS, Purdue University

For More Info

For more information about the NIRSA Honor Award, please contact Chelsea Hansson, NIRSA Leadership Programs Coordinator.