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Joyce E. Smith Excellence in Education Award

Established in 1983, the Joyce E. Smith Excellence in Education Award is presented to an individual or indivoiduals- members or non-members - who have improved the field of education and/or the way students are served.

Below are several (but not all) of the criteria taken into consideration when nominating an award recipient for the Excellence in Education Award.

  • Prominence: national figure in political or education arena; great influence over public opinion in matters related to education
  • Advocacy and Access: in their career, has been at the forefront of initiatives advocating for students and access to education

About the 2021 Award Winner:

The Nepal Justice League was created four years ago, when 60 Nepalese students lost their full-ride scholarships to a US university, Joan Liu, a counselor from the United World College of Southeast Asia, mobilized the counselors and admission professionals in the international community. Eight women came forward to form what came to be known as the "Justice League." This team rallied to work with universities across the world and the students whose scholarships were suddenly withdrawn  – at a time so late in the cycle that these students had already turned down acceptances at other institutions in the US and Nepal.

The Justice League found new placements for the students, resurrecting their futures.  Their actions rescued a group of international students — a population often overlooked and one that has few advocates. Their support made a destiny-changing impact not only on these students, but on their communities, their campuses, and within our profession.

Previous Award Winners:

  • 2020 - The Shawn Carter Foundation
  • 2019 - Joyce E. Smith
  • 2018 - The ACCEPT Facebook group (Founded by Marie Bigham, Steve Frappier, and Brandi Smith)
  • 2017 - William R. Fitzsimmons and Carmen Lopez
  • 2016- Stacy Lightfoot
  • 2015 -  Dr. Trish Hatch, Dr. Sandy Savitz-Romer, Campus Pride and Shane Windmeyer
  • 2014 - First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama
  • 2013 - Nicole Farmer Hurd and Ted O'Neill
  • 2012 - Greg Darnieder  
  • 2011 - Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA)
  • 2010 - Steve Peifer
  • 2009 - Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL)
  • 2008 - Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA)  
  • 2007 - Loren Pope
  • 2006 - Hugh O'Brian
  • 2005 - Irving Fradkin
  • 2004 - Rep. David Obey (D-WI)
  • 2002 - Sen. George V. Voinovich (R-OH), Rep. Judy Biggert (R-IL), and Rep. Betty McCullum (D-MN)
  • 2001 - Lee C. Bollinger
  • 2000 - Richard Riley
  • 1999 - William G. Bowen and Derek Bok
  • 1998 - Tom Joyner
  • 1997 - Dr. Benjamin Carson   
  • 1996 - Peggy Cooper Cafritz     
  • 1995 - David L. Boren
  • 1994 - Eugene Lang
  • 1993 - Arnold Mitchem    
  • 1992 - Sen. Herbert Kohl (D-WI) and Sen. Thomas Sawyer (D-OH)
  • 1991 - Theodore Sizer  
  • 1990 - Augustus F. Hawkins
  • 1989 - Harold L. Hodgkinson  
  • 1988 - Oluf Davidsen and George Hanford  
  • 1987 - Ernest L. Boyer
  • 1986 - William D. Ford, Samuel L. Meyers and Paul Simon  
  • 1985 - Alexander W. Astin    
  • 1984 - Fred Hargadon  
  • 1983 - Francis Keppel

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