Raise up good work: Learn about AACRAO Awards

August 24, 2020
  • AACRAO Awards
cartoon man celebrates as a hand holding a trophy extends from his computer screen

AACRAO’s 2021 Awards nominations are now open.

Higher ed can often be taxing, thankless work -- recognition is important. Since 1959, AACRAO has recognized its members for their distinguished service to the association and the profession. This acknowledgment continues today. Whether it be your peer, mentee or mentor, there’s an award for everyone. 



Member awards

Early career

  • The Emerging Leader Award is presented to professionals who have, early in their AACRAO engagement, made an exceptional or unique contribution to AACRAO which demonstrates promise as a future AACRAO leader. Contributions may include those at the state or regional level and must include those at the national level.


  • The Thomas A. Bilger Award is presented to a member in recognition of consistent vision, service and/or leadership in AACRAO and with seven or more years of volunteer service.

Late career and/or retired

  • The Janie Barnett Distinguished Service Award recognizes an active or retired AACRAO member for exceptional contributions over an extended period of time for service to AACRAO at the national level. Formerly known as "The Distinguished Service Award," this award was renamed in 2019 in honor of Janie Barnett, a recently retired AACRAO Associate Executive Director. 

  • Honorary Membership is awarded in recognition of a member's active involvement and contribution to AACRAO.

Any stage

  • The Outstanding Mentor Award recognizes a current AACRAO member for exceptional commitment and personal investment in the mentorship, guidance, and development of others. (NEW)

  • The Award for Excellence in International Education is presented to a member for excellence in the field of international education.

Non-member awards

  • The Elbert W. Ockerman State and Regional Professional Activity Award recognizes outstanding professional activities of the state/regional associations and encourages development and expansion of quality professional activities among state/regional associations.

  • The AACRAO Centennial Award for Excellence, established in recognition of AACRAO's 2010 centennial celebration, is presented to an individual who is not an AACRAO member and is not in a traditional AACRAO focused role at an institution, but who has made a contribution to or influenced the higher education community in a notable and positive manner that supports the vision and mission statement of AACRAO.

Acknowledge Retiring Professionals

Know someone who is retiring from an AACRAO profession? Email awards@aacrao.org with the required information.

View the full list of award eligibility and submit a nomination today.



AACRAO's bi-weekly professional development e-newsletter is open to members and non-members alike.