Volume 77 | Issue 3
May 2009

2009 Annual Conference: Community Builders Awards Ceremony

In line with the conference theme, “Where Tradition Meets Tomorrow,” the Community Builders Awards Ceremony in Anaheim featured past winners presenting awards to this year’s recipients. This annual event is a time for the Association to recognize outstanding members, volunteers, and institutions. Nearly 80 nominations were received for the campus and individual awards; 2009 winners are denoted here.

Campus Awards

Collaborative Program of the Year

This award recognizes a program that brings together two or more campus entities to achieve a common goal. This year’s winner was the University of Central Florida’s “Study Union.” This new tradition at the university brought together the Student Academic Resource Center, the union, numerous student groups, and community partners into a finals week extravaganza, where the union stayed open 24 hours a day and multiple vendors offered special pricing.

Excellence in Student Training Program

As student training is an important component of the success of college unions, the Excellence in Student Training Program award distinguishes those programs that use innovative, intelligent approaches and show a dedication to training. The 2009 winner was Bowling Green State University. The institution’s training program uses a 360 degree training cycle that consists of five intentional components: recruitment and hiring, orientation, area-specific training, shared input and recognition, and evaluation.

Excellence in Innovations for Sustainability

Sustainability is a hot-button issue on college campuses spanning the globe. This award was founded to honor institutions that implement sustainable practices in relation to the college union. This year’s recipient was the University of Vermont’s Dudley H. Davis Center. This recently completed building is LEED-Gold certified and is a campus-wide environmental and social justice initiative.

Student-Driven Program of the Year

This award recognizes the achievements of students charged with programming on campus. The 2009 recipient was University of Rochester for “ArtAwake.” The one-day art and music festival showcased performance art, installation, interactive pieces, painting, photography, and live music.

Outstanding Service Project of the Year

Created to honor those programs and program leaders who made a difference to the community and campus, the 2009 Outstanding Service Project of the Year award was given to the University of Notre Dame for “The Aidan Project.” This project, created by students to honor a classmate diagnosed with testicular cancer, raised awareness about this and other types of cancer that affect young people.

Facility Design Awards

The college union and student activities buildings on campus are important and special places for building community and strengthening the profession. The Facility Design Awards recognize outstanding and successful collaborations between architect and staff in the design of these buildings. Five recipients were honored for 2009:


  • The Collaborative Inc; John L. and Christine Warner Library Student Center; The Ohio State University–Newark/Central Ohio Technical College
  • EYP Architecture & Engineering; Hunton Student Center; Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Mackey Mitchell Architects; Ridgway University Center; University of Evansville
  • Workshop Architects; University Center; University of Wisconsin–River Falls
  • WTW Architects; Dudley H. Davis Center; The University of Vermont

Individual Awards

Richard D. Blackburn New Professional Award

Richard Blackburn was a leader in the Association; he served as executive director from 1982–91 and always volunteered in whatever capacity was needed. The award in his honor is presented to a member dedicated to the Association on both a regional and international level. Nominees must have worked two but no longer than five years in the profession, be employed at a member institution, and have demonstrated commitment to the college union and student activities field. The 2009 Richard D. Blackburn New Professional Award recipient was Filip Pongratz, Temple University.

Emeritus Award

Established in 1994, the Emeritus Award recognizes college union and student activities professionals who are retiring. Nominees must have worked for at least 10 years in the field and be retiring in the next year. This year, the Association recognized six individuals:


  • Al Bertelsen, Montana State University (awarded posthumously)
  • Joe Comeau, University of Hartford (retired)
  • Bill Dee, Iowa State University
  • Rowland Hughes, Creighton University
  • Larry Markley, Texas Christian University
  • Donnchadh O’hAodha, National University of Ireland–Cork


Two-Year College Professional Service Award

The Two-Year College Professionals Service Award was created to identify those student activities and college union professionals who find ways to dramatically affect students in just two years. The recipient of this year’s award was Thomas Priester, Finger Lakes Community College.


Other Awards

Earl Whitfield Regional Newsletter Award

This award recognizes the volunteers who work to create methods of communication for their region. Earl Whitfield was not only the director of college union and student activities at California State University–Fresno, but also an avid Association volunteer, spending much of his time and energy focused on the success of the regions. The 2009 award went to Region 8 and editor James McHaley, Northwestern University.

Steal this Idea Best of Show

Steal this Idea is a design and marketing competition. This year’s competition had 460 entries from 48 institutions; but only one could be named Best of Show. The 2009 winner was Kenji Enos, California State University–Sacramento, for the Marketing Department Show Reel.


Volunteer Recognition


Outgoing Board of Trustees

ACUI Board of Trustees members serve a two-year term. As such, the four outgoing members of the board were recognized:


  • David Barnes, James Madison University
  • Adam Burden, The Ohio State University
  • Lincoln Johnson, University of Washington
  • Thomas Lane, Missouri State University


Outgoing Education Council co-chairs and special appointments

The Association took time to recognize the outgoing Education Council Chairs and appointments made by the Board of Trustees. This year’s honorees included: 

  • Gary Chrzastowski, Indiana University–Bloomington, Facilities and Operations Education Council Co-Chair
  • Larry Mosher, Valparaiso University, Administration, Finance, and Management Education Council Co-Chair
  • Sharon Silverstein, Suffolk County Community College– Ammerman, Auxiliary Services Education Council Co-Chair
  • Raymond West, University of La Verne, 2009 Conference Program Team Chair
  • Daniel Maxwell, Indiana University-Purdue University–Indianapolis, ACUI Education and Research Fund Program Team Chair
  • Bob Rodda, College of Wooster, Liaison to the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education
  • Joseph Maurer, Lone Star College–Montgomery, I-LEAD® Program Team Leader
  • Betsy Sundholm, University of Michigan, Recreation and Leisure Activities Program Team Leader


Outgoing regional directors

Regional directors are the grassroots leaders of the Association. This year, five outgoing regional directors were recognized:


  • Region 7: Kim Jacobs, Bowling Green State University
  • Region 8: Ian Crone, Elmhurst College
  • Region 10: Patrick Keenan, University of Minnesota–Duluth
  • Region 12: Michelle Lopez, Texas State University–San Marcos
  • Region 13: Carol Garcia, Sheridan College