AACRAO celebrates our 2020 award winners

April 3, 2020
  • AACRAO Awards
  • AACRAO News
photo of balloons with text: "AACRAO 2020 Award Winners"

AACRAO members have been recognized for their distinguished service through the Awards program since 1959. This year, we are honoring 11 individuals from institutions around the country for their service to the profession, dedication to higher education, and commitment to our Association.

Emerging Leader Award

This award is presented to professionals who have, early in their AACRAO engagement, made an exceptional or unique contribution that demonstrates promise as a future AACRAO leader.

Erin Mason, Associate Registrar, University of Connecticut

Erin is known for her insatiable curiosity, tenacity, passion for social justice, and raucous laughter. She is especially proud of her work with AACRAO on the Registration and Academic Support Committee and the Women’s Caucus. Erin is profoundly thankful for the opportunity to be of service to so many students, faculty, peers and colleagues across the country. 

Steven McDowell, Director of Financial Aid Services, Connecticut State Colleges & Universities

Steve serves as the chief system designee for student financial aid, providing leadership and direction in all areas of financial aid administration. This includes policy analysis and development, research, legislative and regulatory analysis, program management, and information systems. He resides in Connecticut with his wife and four children.

Tiffani Robertson, Associate Director of Admissions, Governors State University

Tiffani serves as the Chair for the Nominations & Elections Committee and is also a member of the Black Caucus, Member Engagement and Outreach Committee, and the Women’s Caucus where she serves as the Professional Activities Manager. She is extremely humbled and thankful for not only being nominated for the Emerging Leader award, but for also being selected as a recipient. 

Award for Excellence in International Education

This award is presented to a member who has exhibited excellence in the field of international education and demonstrated a commitment to internationalism.

Karee Head, International Admissions Specialist, University of Idaho

Karee is a champion for the greater cause of international education and the opportunities it brings to students, their families, and the institutions that receive them. She has amassed significant  experience and influence in international student enrollment and has a true appreciation for internationalization and the benefits it provides to all. 

Thomas A. Bilger Award

Named for a Past President of AACRAO, this award is presented to a member in recognition of consistent vision, service and leadership in AACRAO with seven or more years of volunteer service.

Steven Smith, University Registrar, Adelphi University

Steve began his career as the evening transcript clerk at the community college in his West Virginia hometown and over the subsequent 27 years, served as a registrar at institutions in New Jersey, Maryland, and New York. He has served as chair of the Task Force on Institutional Gender Identity Recognition, the Work Group to develop the “How to Run a State and Regional Association” guide, and the LGBTQA Caucus. Steve has also been very active at the state and regional level, serving as the founding president of the Chesapeake & Potomac ACRAO.

Honorary Membership

AACRAO’s highest honor, Honorary Membership, is awarded to retired or retiring members in recognition of a career of active involvement and contribution to AACRAO.

Meredith Braz, Registrar, Dartmouth College

Meredith retires in June from her position as Registrar at Dartmouth College, having served in the profession for over 30 years. Meredith credits AACRAO for her professional development over the years and began attending conferences her first year in the field. While she has presented on numerous topics, she eventually focused on leadership issues. This culminated in her term as AACRAO’s Vice President for Leadership and Management Development. Meredith looks forward to the flexibility and opportunities afforded by retirement.

Scott Dittman, University Registrar, Washington and Lee University

Scott has spent 44 years working in higher education, including positions in development, admissions, financial aid, records and registration, and institutional research at three institutions. He has presented at "early adopter" technology sessions for 30 years with recent sessions on developing positive working relationships and updating business processes. Scott is grateful to his family and institutions for their support of his opportunities and service to AACRAO and elsewhere.

John Hall, University Registrar & Executive Director of Enrollment Services, Southern Methodist University

John has been a consistent advocate for strong professional associations, as evident by his maintaining active association memberships at the national, regional, state, and local levels. John has attended all but one Annual Meeting since his first in 1978, when Stan Berry was President. Per John, "It was a good first meeting and I recall Stan's kindest and encouragement to me." He will retire after 50 years of consistent advocacy for the role of the registrar and mentoring many professionals in their careers.

Sarah Harris, Senior Associate Registrar, University of Iowa

Over her 30-year career at the University of Iowa, Sarah worked in many offices. In 1993, she was invited to apply for a position in the Registrar’s Office, and has worked there ever since. She will officially retire in July 2020 from her position as a Senior Associate Registrar. Sarah has thoroughly enjoyed her time being involved with AACRAO, and will miss the many friends and mentors she has met along her journey.

Robert Morley, Associate Registrar, University of Southern California

Throughout his 38 years as a member, Bob has contributed to AACRAO and PACRAO in a variety of ways. He served as the first AACRAO Vice President for Technology, during which he submitted a proposal that resulted in the creation of the Postsecondary Education Standards Council, and helped launch the first AACRAO Technology Conference. AACRAO also provided the opportunity for Bob to propose marriage to Mary Neary of ASU from the podium of the opening session of the 1996 Annual Meeting in Reno. Married 24 years and counting.

Wanda Simpson-Munson, Dean of Records & College Registrar, San Jacinto College District

Wanda retired in 2018 after an exemplary career. She served as a former president of AACRAO and also held numerous leadership roles at the state level with TACRAO. She is a respected leader who has been a mentor and friend to countless colleagues. Wanda deeply cares about the wellbeing of students and has dedicated over 30 years to serving AACRAO and its members on various committees and initiatives.


Nominations for next year’s awards will open later this year. If you would like to recognize the exceptional professional contributions of a colleague, you can learn more about the Awards program here.



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