2019 NASFAA Awards Announced in Orlando

National Association Bestows 2019 Awards on Financial Aid Administrators Who Exemplify Excellence in Serving Students

Wednesday, June 26, 2019 – Each year, the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) presents awards to deserving members of the financial aid profession and higher education community. These awards are reviewed and selected annually by NASFAA’s Awards Committee and ratified by the Board of Directors. They are presented each year at the National Conference, with nearly 2,300 student aid professionals from across the country in attendance.

NASFAA's 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award, the highest honor which the association can bestow on a member, was awarded this year to: 

  • Pam Fowler, director of student financial aid at the University of Michigan. Fowler, who served in 2011-12 as NASFAA national chair, has enjoyed a long and distinguished career in financial aid administration. She has been active at the state, regional, and national levels in a wide range of advocacy roles and has also been a significant contributor to the growth of NASFAA’s Standards of Excellence Peer Review Program, having served as a peer reviewer since the program began more than 20 years ago.

The Allan W. Purdy Distinguished Service Award, one of the highest awards that NASFAA bestows, may be awarded either for significant contributions in the furtherance of NASFAA’s goals over a sustained period of time, or for a single contribution of momentous importance. The 2019 award was given to: 

  • Lori Vedder, director of financial aid at the University of Michigan – Flint and NASFAA’s 2018-19 national chair. Vedder has worked in the financial aid profession serving students for over 28 years. Over this span she has actively engaged in association work at the state, regional and national levels. Vedder has served NASFAA in many key roles including as treasurer, Association Governance Committee member, and as a member of the Ethical Principles & Code of Conduct Task Force.

The Meritorious Achievement Award is presented to an individual who has made either an important single contribution to NASFAA or the profession, or multiple significant contributions. The 2019 award was given to:

  • Tony Sozzo, associate dean for student affairs and student financial planning at New York Medical College. As the founder and moderator of the MedAidL listserv and the longtime moderator of NASFAA’s Graduate/Professional listserv, Sozzo shares financial aid industry news items that impact our communities and acts as a resource to the graduate/professional community on a daily basis. He has served on numerous committees and task forces and, over the last 34 years at New York Medical College, has been honored with eight special Medical Student Senate Service Citations and Mentoring Awards. He was also awarded the NYMC chapter of the American Medical Women’s Association “Gender Equity Award.”

NASFAA this year recognized two recipients with the Robert P. Huff Golden Quill Award, which is presented to individuals chosen for their contributions to the body of research on student financial aid:

  • The National College Access Network (NCAN) was recognized for its overall body of work, which greatly enhances the lives of students and families. In 2018, NCAN published two important reports, one which analyzed the relationship between school district poverty and FAFSA completion and a second that focused on the affordability of four-year public institutions for a Pell Grant recipient who received the average amount of grant aid. In addition to these reports, NCAN conducted a “Form Your Future” FAFSA completion social media campaign, as well as its annual “Thankful 4 Pell” campaign, which saw more than 1,700 tweets and retweets in 2018.

  • Dr. Robert Kelchen, assistant professor of higher education at Seton Hall University. Kelchen’s 2018 book, “Higher Education Accountability,” contributed greatly to the literature on higher education, revealing the rationale behind accountability and outlines the historical development of how federal and state policies, accreditation practices, private-sector interests, and internal requirements have become so important to institutional success and survival. He is also a frequent contributor to the body of research available on student financial aid and related higher education topics, with dozens of articles and studies published in esteemed research journals, and has worked with NASFAA on previous publications published in the Journal of Student Financial Aid.

The association also presented six Regional Leadership Awards to recipients who have exhibited high integrity and character, have shown creative leadership, and have inspired and encouraged others to actively participate in professional development. One award was given in each of six regions to:

  • EASFAA – Wynette Zuppardi, director of financial services, Brown University

  • MASFAA – Susan Swisher, executive director of financial aid, Saint Xavier University

  • RMASFAA – David Martin, director of financial aid, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology

  • SASFAA – Amy Berrier, assistant director for operations, financial aid office, The University of North Carolina, Greensboro

  • SWASFAA – Denise Welch, director of financial aid, Panola College

  • WASFAA – Frank Green, president, Travel Institute of the Pacific

The Gold Star Award, which recognizes innovative ideas in the financial aid arena at any level, targeted toward any constituency, was given in 2019 to:

  • The Southern Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (SASFAA) for its State President’s Guidebook. This project was developed to provide state presidents with the useful and consistent information needed to be successful as they move toward their role as the president of their state associations while serving as a voting member of the executive board at the regional level.

To request an interview with a NASFAA spokesperson, please email [email protected] or call (202) 785-6959.


The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) is a nonprofit membership organization that represents more than 28,000 financial aid professionals at nearly 3,000 colleges, universities, and career schools across the country. NASFAA member institutions serve nine out of every 10 undergraduates in the United States. Based in Washington, D.C., NASFAA is the only national association with a primary focus on student aid legislation, regulatory analysis, and training for financial aid administrators. For more information, visit www.nasfaa.org.

Publication Date: 6/26/2019

View Desktop Version