Shirley Bird Perry Staff-Driven Program of the Year

The Shirley Bird Perry Staff-Driven Program of the Year Award was established to recognize the impact of programming on student learning and to celebrate the achievements of staff charged with programming on their campus. Perry’s legacy of innovative programming on campus is clear, and this awards honors her legacy and the continued tradition of staff-driven programming. This award is given to a program that is created and implemented by professional staff and that represents standards of excellence and innovation in campus programming.

The recipient institution of the Shirley Bird Perry Staff-Driven Program of the Year Award will receive one year's membership dues in ACUI.


Any individual, campus organization, or institution that is an ACUI member is eligible to apply for this award. Nominated program must meet the following minimum standards:

  • Have been created and implemented by professional staff
  • Have occurred on the campus of an ACUI member institution
  • Have taken place since the beginning of the previous academic year


The review process includes, but is not limited to, an assessment of the criteria listed below. Due to the wide variety of programs that can be considered, a program does not need to meet every criterion.

  • Does the program demonstrate excellence in campus programming?
  • Does the program demonstrate the use of practices that exemplify outstanding creativity or introduce new approaches?
  • Did the program achieve its stated program outcomes?
  • Does the program lend itself to replication on other campuses?

Previous Recipients

2016 recipient:
Identities@Eastman at Eastment School of Music at the University of Rochester: facilitating a thoughtful, engaging, and meaningful discussion between members of their diverse community, to great acclaim from the students themselves. 

2015 recipient: My FSU Experience Campaign, Florida State University
2014 recipient: Social Media & Digital Identity Workshops, Virginia Tech
2013 recipient: The Power of Words, University of Colorado–Boulder
recipient: Color Me NKU, Northern Kentucky University
2011 recipient: First 30 Days Program, The Ohio State University

Shirley Bird Perry About Shirley Bird Perry

Shirley Bird Perry served as the first woman president of ACUI in 1972, but as important was her legacy at the University Union at the University of Texas–Austin. According to a plaque in the Shirley Bird Perry Ballroom at the University Union, “In the 80-year existence of a student union at the University of Texas–Austin, no name looms larger than that of Shirley Bird Perry. From her involvement as an undergraduate student through her service as director of the Texas Union, no single individual has had as much of an impact on the college union movement on our campus as did Shirley Bird.”

Perry’s list of “firsts” within the Association is impressive. She became the Association’s first educational program coordinator in 1976, a role that many future leaders would hold after her. She also was the first woman Butts-Whiting Award recipient in 1976. But Perry is perhaps best remembered for the spirit of innovation and advancement with which she led on campus and in the Association. She was known for rewarding creativity and new ideas and in holding people accountable to their commitments.

Nomination Information

Please place nominations online by filling out the Shirley Bird Perry Staff-Driven Program of the Year Award nomination form to include the following information:

  • Name, title, institution, and contact information of the primary staff person responsible for the program
  • Name, title, institution, and contact information of nominator (if different)
  • A two-page summary of the program, addressing: 
    • Title and description of the program (including intended programmatic outcomes)
    • Program budget and identified funding sources
    • Evidence of achievement of goals through program evaluations
  • Supporting documentation of program. This could include photos, videos, marketing samples, etc. that directly support the program

This year's nomination deadline has closed for this award, which will be presented at the 2017 annual conference. 


Selection and Presentation

Applications will receive written or electronic notification confirming receipt of the application(s). The ACUI awards committee, appointed annually by the ACUI president, will review the applications in January to determine a winning program. One winner will be chosen; one physical award will be given to the winning program. The winner will be recognized during the awards ceremony at the annual conference.


Updated Jan. 7, 2017