Pillars of the Profession

Each year at the NASPA Annual Conference, the NASPA Foundation recognizes a series of distinguished individuals who have served as leaders, teachers, and scholars in student affairs and higher education. Each individual is nominated and supported for designation as a Pillar by colleagues, students, friends, or others who find them deserving of this honor. If selected as a Pillar, the nominator and selected Foundation Board member will raise $3,500 in the name of the individual being nominated to further research and scholarship in student affairs.

The NASPA Foundation’s Pillar of the Profession Award honors members of the profession who:

  • Have provided significant service to NASPA through regional and/or national leadership roles within the Association.
  • Have created a lasting impact on the institution(s)/organization(s) at which they have worked, leaving a legacy of extraordinary service recognized by a cross-section of institutional/organizational stakeholders.
  • Have demonstrated sustained, lifetime professional distinction in the field of student affairs and/or higher education.
Nomination Process:

Nominations may be submitted by individual NASPA members, family members, students, a NASPA Region, a NASPA member institution, students or a student organization at a NASPA member institution or other individuals associated with the student affairs profession. Nominees should stand out in at least one of the three areas outlined in the criteria with particular attention paid to service to NASPA 

Nominators may solicit up to three (3) additional letters on behalf of the nominee beyond the Nominator's own nomination. A current resume / CV is required to nominate a Pillar of the Profession. If selected as a Pillar, the nominator and selected Foundation Board member will raise $3,500 in the name of the nominate. The NASPA Foundation will vote to approve nominations at the annual September Board meeting and inform the nominee of their selection by mid-late October. The Pillar of the Profession class will be formally recognized at the NASPA Annual Conference. 

Nominations for the 2020 class are closed and the class will be announced mid-October. 


John L. Blackburn Distinguished Pillars

The John L. Blackburn Distinguished Pillar Award

This award is presented annually in conjunction with the Pillars of the Profession award. The Foundation Board selects up to two previous Pillars of the Profession who continue to grow and strengthen the student affairs field. This is the NASPA Foundation’s highest honor.

View Past Recipients →


Pillars of the Profession 2020

  • Announced late October 2019