NIRSA Assembly

NIRSA Honor Award

The NIRSA Honor Award is the highest award given by the 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 Thursday, November 1, 2018

Submit Nomination

Please email your letter to NIRSA Leadership Programs Coordinator.

If you submitted an Honor Award nomination letter prior to September 2013, please contact NIRSA Leadership Programs Coordinator to resubmit your letter.
Nomination letters are only active for five years after submission.

The nomination period is closed

NIRSA members in good standing who meet the eligibility requirements can be nominated.


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

  • Hold current membership in NIRSA (former members who have retired from the profession retain their eligibility)
  • Be 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

Selection Criteria

Honor Award recipients exhibit outstanding volunteer leadership in the Association and outstanding leadership on their campuses. Your nomination should address your nominee’s qualifications within as many of the following areas as possible:

  • Exhibited outstanding volunteer leadership in the association and outstanding leadership in the workplace
  • Participated in efforts which are of significant breadth or impact to the services or programs of the association
  • Supported or contributed to efforts which allow the association to move through times of transition, change, self-assessment, or planning
  • Fostered innovation or the fulfillment of new initiatives within the association
  • Contributed to the association’s commitment to serve and recruit a diverse membership
  • Influenced, motivated or supported the development of students, young professionals, or emerging leaders in the profession
  • Contributed to the learning or scholarly endeavors of others through such activity as research, assessment, teaching, presentations, or publication development
  • Accomplished goals or strategic projects, either through appointed roles or elected office within the association at the institutional, state, regional, or national level
  • Enhanced the visibility, awareness, or impact of the profession and/or the association to other external organizations, business or governing entities, or individuals
  • Made significant contributions in their workplace

Additional admirable characteristics that will be considered:

  • Volunteerism with public or civic organizations
  • Honors and awards

Nomination Requirements

Prepare a letter of nomination indicating how your nominee exhibits outstanding volunteer leadership in the Association and outstanding leadership in the workplace by addressing the Eligibility and Selection Criteria

  • Include the nominee’s résumé or vita sheet
  • The nomination packet must include at least 3 letters of support from NIRSA Members.
  • Nominators must provide accurate data relating to dates and accomplishment for cited contributions
  • Contact others who know the nominee to encourage them to submit a letter to help provide additional insight on behalf of the nominee. It is a conflict of interest for serving committee members to submit a nomination letter and recommendation for any nominee
  • Submit your nomination materials via the link at the top of this page.

Tips for writing letters of support for Honor Award nominees

  1. Remember to show how this individual was involved in volunteer leadership. Give concrete examples i.e. served as an active member of three national committees, and served as chair of two. As a result of their leadership, describe what was accomplished. “Worked on the “blank” (sub-committee and/or committee) and was instrumental in hosting the “blank” (symposium/workshop).”
  2. Solid well described examples are critical to all of the selection criteria. Don’t just say how wonderful this person is, give examples of how they meet or exceed the criteria.
  3. List ways the person has provided support to students and young professionals.
  4. Significant contributions in their workplace. This is an opportunity to share how the individual has contributed on a campus level. It also provides an opportunity to showcase how campus involvement has supported NIRSA goals as well as professional and student development.
  5. Give honest information about the nominee and be more specific and less vague. Include items from their resume, but expand on them, with examples.
  6. Include examples of specific contributions the nominee made while in service, as well as any “outcomes” and “impact” resulting from their contributions.

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.