NASFAA 2015 Awards Announced in New Orleans

National Association Bestows 2015 Awards on Financial Aid Administrators, Researchers Who Exemplify Excellence in Serving Students

Each year, the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) presents awards to the most 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 2,500 members in attendance.

NASFAA’s award recipients for 2015 are:

The Allan W. Purdy Distinguished Service Award (2 Recipients): The Allan W. Purdy Distinguished Service Award is one of the highest awards that NASFAA bestows. It 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.

Eileen O’Leary, 2014-15 NASFAA national chair and assistant vice president of Student Financial Services, Stonehill College. During her tenure as chair, O’Leary served as a strong advocate for rigorous professional ethics within the profession, and convened multiple policy task forces focused on topics such as student loan servicing, professional diversity, return of Title IV funds, and innovative learning models. Her clear vision for how the profession can be elevated through strategic policy initiatives and her focus on doing what’s right for students has made her an effective voice for financial aid and our nation’s college students.

Dr. Patricia Hurley, associate dean, Glendale Community College. Over the course of her career, Hurley has consistently promoted, advocated and mentored financial aid professionals, always adhering to NASFAA’s highest professional and ethical principles. She has worked tirelessly within the Western Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (WASFAA), the California Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (CASFAA), and the California Community Colleges Student Financial Aid Administrators Association (CCCSFAA), on numerous negotiated rulemaking teams, and on multiple NASFAA committees and task forces.

Meritorious Achievement Award (1 Recipient):  The Meritorious Achievement Award is presented to an individual who has made either an important single contribution to NASFAA or the profession, or significant multiple contributions.

Connie McCormick, NASFAA’s former chief training officer. McCormick joined the NASFAA staff in 1995 in the role of director of policy analysis and became director of the training department in 1998. Throughout her tenure, she established processes to ensure the highest quality in NASFAA training materials and products. Her guiding hand in the rollout of NASFAA University ensured the success of this flagship training initiative, which includes facilitated online classes, self-study guides, and credentials earned through testing. Her leadership has touched every single training product NASFAA has produced. In that regard, it’s hard to imagine others who have had as much influence on training the financial aid community.

Golden Quill Award (2 Recipients): The Robert P. Huff Golden Quill Award is presented to individuals chosen for their contributions to the body of research on student financial aid.

Dr. Jacob P.K. Gross, assistant professor at the University of Louisville.

Dr. Jacob Gross has served as the editor for the Journal of Student Financial Aid (JSFA) since 2011, and as a JSFA Editorial Board member from 2008-11. Gross has contributed greatly to the field of student financial aid with multiple research studies and articles, focused on postsecondary access and student success; policy analysis; and financial aid, published in highly respected research journals including: Journal of Higher Education, Research in Higher Education, and NASFAA’s Journal of Student Financial Aid, as well as several book chapters focused on multiple aspects of student financial aid.

Dr. Stephen DesJardins, professor of education at the University of Michigan.

Dr. Stephen DesJardins has produced high quality, rigorous research on student financial aid for more than 25 years. His most recent research-based article, “The Impact of the Gates Millennium Scholars Program on the College and Post-College Related Choices of High Ability, Low-Income Minority Students,” appeared in the Economics of Education Review, one of the most prestigious journals in the nation for scholars doing research related to the economics of education.

Regional Leadership Awards (6 Recipients): The individuals selected for these awards must exhibit high integrity and character, must have shown creative leadership, and should have inspired and encouraged others to actively participate in professional development. One award is given in each of six regions:

EASFAA – Larry Chambers, director of financial aid, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
MASFAA – Richard Shipman, director of financial aid, Michigan State University
RMASFAA – Sharon Kienow, financial aid director, Northern State University
SASFAA – Brad Barnett, senior associate director, James Madison University
SWASFAA – Lisa Hopper, director of financial aid, National Park Community College
WASFAA – Sandra Guidry, awards/special projects coordinator, University of Nevada – Reno

Gold Star Awards (1 Recipient; 2 Honorable Mentions). The Gold Star Award recognizes innovative ideas in the financial aid arena at any level, targeted toward any constituency. This year, NASFAA gave one award and two honorable mentions.

Winner: The University of Oklahoma for “The Nine Things Every College Student Should Know About Money, a course created to provide students with an understanding of personal finance and how financial decisions will impact their lives going forward.

Honorable Mention: PASFAA – the Pennsylvania Association – for nextPAGE, PASFAA’s Advancement of Generations Exchange. Created to empower the next generation of financial aid administrators, nextPage is targeted to financial aid administrators with less than 10 years’ experience, and gives participants tools to grow and succeed in financial aid and to build a strong network.

Honorable Mention: University of California, Santa Barbara for the University of California Financial Aid Leadership Institute, which was created to prepare the UC system for a large predicted loss of experience and Institutional knowledge in the financial aid office and elsewhere on campus.

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

About NASFAA  

The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) is a nonprofit membership organization that represents more than 20,000 financial aid professionals at nearly 3,000 colleges, universities, and career schools across the country. NASFAA member institutions serve nine out of every ten 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

Publication Date: 7/21/2015

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