NACAC Honors College Admission Leaders for Service to Students and the Profession

Media Contact:
Shanda Ivory

Arlington, VA (Sept. 18, 2017) — Leaders from across the field of college admission were recognized last week by the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) for the contributions they have made to students and to their profession.
Ten individuals and three programs were honored during the association’s 73rd National Conference in Boston.

Award recipients are as follows:

Gayle C. Wilson Service to Education Award

Youlonda Copeland-Morgan, provost of enrollment management at the University of California, Los Angeles, is a national leader within the field of college admission. Over the last three decades, Copeland-Morgan has shown a commitment to raising the bar for institutions with a particular focus on serving students who have been denied opportunities for far too long. She was chairman of the College Board’s Board of Trustees from 2008 to 2010, and was appointed vice chair of the College Board’s Advocacy and Policy Center in 2009. Copeland-Morgan is also an Advisory Council member for the UNCF/Gates Millennium Scholars program, which promotes academic excellence and provides opportunity for outstanding minority students with significant financial needs.
Established in 1973, the Gayle C. Wilson Service to Education Award was named for a fine and outstanding leader who devoted his life to counseling and assisting students in attaining their educational goals. The Wilson Award is presented to a NACAC member who, over a period of years, has performed outstanding service to their profession.

Margaret E. Addis Service to NACAC Award 

Lou Hirsh, who retired in 2012 as director of admissions at the University of Delaware, has devoted years of service to NACAC, as well as the Potomac and Chesapeake Association for College Admission Counseling. Throughout his career, Hirsh — the current chair of the NACAC’s Admission Practices Committee — has been a passionate voice for ethical practice and standards. As a member of the NACAC Steering Committee on Admission Practices, Hirsh helped craft the revised Statement of Principles of Good Practice, adopted Saturday by NACAC’s Assembly. He continues to work with students, high school faculty, and counselors on various parts of the admission process as an independent consultant.

Established in 1996, the Margaret E. Addis Service to NACAC Award honors a long-time, respected leader of NACAC who never faltered in his or her commitment to ensuring ethical practices. The Addis Award recognizes a NACAC member who has provided the association with unique and outstanding service.  

Excellence in Education Awards
(Two individuals were honored)

As executive director of College Horizons, Carmen Lopez helps make higher education more accessible for American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian students. Her program provides services and workshops to Native high school students, primarily during the summer, as a way to address the college access gap. She also helps connect Native students with admission professionals from colleges and universities around the country. Lopez, a member of the Navajo Nation, assumed the directorship of College Horizons after years as executive director of the Harvard University Native American Program. The initiative plays an instrumental role in the recruitment and support of Native students.

William R. Fitzsimmons, dean of admissions and financial aid at Harvard, has helped shape over 40 classes of entering students at the university. Himself a first-generation Harvard graduate, Fitzsimmons is credited with greatly increasing his university’s percentage of Pell Grant-eligible students. He has been a friend and mentor to generations of NACAC members. In his role as director of Harvard’s Summer Institute on College Admissions, Fitzsimmons invites current admission leaders to present on relevant topics to over 200 professionals each year. He also chaired NACAC’s Commission on the Use of Standardized Tests in Undergraduate Admissions from 2007 to 2008. The commission’s landmark report is regarded as a valuable resource within the college admission profession, and their recommendations are still relevant today.

Established in 1983, Excellence in Education Awards are presented to individuals who have improved the field of education and/or the way students are served.

John B. Muir Editor’s Award

Tommy Lucas and Whitney Linsenmeyer examined the impact of the events in Ferguson, Missouri, in Cutting Through a Crisis: Guiding Prospective Students and Families During Times of Unrest published in the Spring 2016 edition of The Journal of College Admission. Selected for its timely and significant message, the nominating committee said the piece was a well-done, important, highly relevant, and very readable submission. Lucas is interim director of the Office of Military and Veteran Enrollment Services at Saint Louis University (MO). Linsenmeyer is an instructor at Saint Louis University (MO).

The John B. Muir Editor’s Award recognizes authors who have made the most significant contributions to NACAC’s Journal of College Admission during the preceding year. The award is named for John Burke Muir, who was NACAC vice president for publication and research from 1983-1986.

Inclusion, Access, and Success Award
Celina Barrera-Scott, counselor at Veterans Memorial High School in Brownsville, Texas, has made access for underrepresented students her life’s work. Working in the Rio Grande Valley along the Mexican border, Barrera-Scott serves primarily Hispanic students, the majority from families at or below the poverty level. She has devoted her career to ensuring that her students have access to postsecondary education. She also works closely with her students’ families, many of whom only speak Spanish, to ensure they understand the path to college admission and are able to provide support and encouragement to their children throughout the process.

The Inclusion, Access, and Success Award celebrates individuals and programs that have been instrumental in making postsecondary opportunities available to historically underrepresented students.

Government Relations Award

Sarah Summerhill, assistant director of admissions at Michigan State University, has a passion for politics and a desire to make others aware of issues that impact education. She has been an integral part of NACAC's Government Relations Committee, serving as chair for four years and has been extremely involved in government relations work in her home state of Michigan. Sarah has presented on government relations issues at several affiliate conferences. Her enthusiastic attitude carries over in all she does and her passion for advocacy work has served NACAC well.

The Government Relations Award is presented to a NACAC member who has made outstanding efforts in support of policy initiatives that promote equal access to higher education, encourage student achievement, promote counselor excellence, and further the government relations priorities of NACAC members.

NACAC Rising Star Awards
(Two individuals and three program were honored.)  

Lindsay Barbeau, admissions counselor at Marquette University (WI), has made an indelible mark on the Wisconsin Association for College Admission Counseling. After serving on the Conference Planning and New Counselor Institute committees, she became chair of the Membership Committee in early 2016. In that position, she cleaned up the affiliate’s rosters, developed a new system of contacting lapsed members, and helped create and implement a more robust and efficient membership renewal system. She currently serves as executive assistant on her affiliate’s board of directors.

Meredith Norman, admissions counselor at Western Kentucky University, was instrumental in updating and improving the College Counseling Information Exchange (CCIE), a collaborative networking event offered annually by the Kentucky Association for College Admission Counseling (KYACAC). Norman also served on the Conference Planning Committee and helped coordinate the First-Timers Receptions at the 2015, 2016, and 2017 KYACAC conferences. In 2017, she chaired her affiliate’s Registration Committee, and currently serves as treasurer-elect on KYACAC’s executive board. In her various roles, Norman has shown that she is organized, level-headed under pressure, and willing to try new things.

• International ACAC’s Webinar Wednesdays connect a global village of like-minded professionals. Since the program launched two years ago, it has provided admission professionals with a virtual professional development session on the first Wednesday of every month. The program brings together an association of professionals that would otherwise rarely have the opportunity to see and learn from one another. Since its launch, the initiative has served 2,244 attendees from 67 different countries.

Government relations efforts directed by the New York State Association for College Admission Counseling (NYSACAC) yielded tremendous results following a complete program reorganization. Under the leadership of NYSACAC board members Brian Culligan and Daryl Hornick-Becker, the affiliate increased its number of legislative advocacy participants from 36 in 2015 to 150 in 2017. The affiliate has also increased the number of Action Alerts created to help affiliate members reach out to legislators on issues of importance.   

• The Michigan Association for College Admission Counseling’s Women in Admissions program provides a place for female professionals to network and connect with one another. Forty women attended the one-day event in May. The professional development program seeks to increase the number of women who hold leadership roles in the college admission industry.

The Rising Star awards, administered by NACAC’s Affiliate Presidents Council, honor individuals and programs that exemplify excellence and leadership in serving the needs of students in the transition to college. The awards were established to encourage affiliates to identify and support emerging leaders and innovative programs.


The National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), founded in 1937, is an organization of nearly 16,000 professionals from around the world dedicated to serving students as they make choices about pursuing postsecondary education. NACAC is committed to maintaining high standards that foster ethical and social responsibility among those involved in the transition process, as outlined in the association's Statement of Principles of Good Practice: NACAC’s Code of Ethics and Professional Practices.

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