2019 Awards of Excellence

NCAN is pleased to announce a call for nominations for the annual Awards of Excellence that will be presented at our 2019 national conference, Racing Toward Postsecondary Success, Sept. 16-18 in Indianapolis. The awards recognize excellence in college access and success organizations, their staff, and their executive leadership. Nominations must be received by Friday, June 28 to be considered.

We seek nominations for four awards:

  • The College Access Organization Award of Excellence recognizes the work of a college access program working to fulfill NCAN's mission of building, strengthening, and empowering communities committed to college access and success so that all students, especially those underrepresented in postsecondary education, can achieve their educational dreams. Nominations should include a brief description of the organization, including quantitative data on the program’s positive outcomes, examples of student success, service to the community, creative partnerships, and evidence-based results. A $5,000 award will be paid to the recipient organization for general operating support, scholarships, and/or professional development.
  • The Dr. David B. Swedlow Memorial College Access Staff Member Award of Excellence recognizes the dedication, hard work, and innovation of an individual working at a college access/success program. This award is named in honor of Dr. David B. Swedlow, a practitioner who dedicated his life’s work to helping students gain access to college. Nominees for this award may include program staff, advisers, or others employed by a college access organization. Nominations should include the nominee’s biography or summary of nominee’s work, professional accomplishments and service to the community, as well as details of the individual’s commitment to excellence in college access. A $1,000 award will be paid to the recipient’s organization in support of professional development.
  • The Executive Leadership Award of Excellence recognizes the dedication and hard work of an individual serving as a college access program’s executive director or president, or as a member of its board of trustees or directors. Nominations should detail the individual’s personal service and commitment to the organization, service to the community, and contributions to the field of college access. A $1,000 award will be paid to the recipient’s organization in support of a new, one-time scholarship named in their honor.
  • The To & Through Award of Excellence recognizes a postsecondary institution (or department within) that collaborates with an NCAN-member college access/success organization to ensure that the organization’s students – as well as all enrolled underrepresented students – get the supports they need to complete a degree. Nominations should include quantitative data demonstrating the institution’s enrollment, persistence and completion rates for underrepresented students, a description of the student supports the institution provides, and details of the relationship with the nominating NCAN member. The winning institution will receive $1,000 for need-based scholarships and/or professional development. 

Do you know a deserving candidate, you’d like to nominate? Download the nomination form and instructions here

Want to see an exceptional nomination example? Click here.

Award winners will be determined based upon demonstrated merit through letters of nomination, program descriptions, biographies of nominees, and letters of support from individuals other than the nominator. Unless otherwise stated, nominators and nominees must be NCAN members or board members of NCAN members in good standing*.

Programs and individuals may self-nominate. We encourage organizations to submit only one nomination per award category. Nominations will be reviewed by a committee of NCAN members. Completed nominations must be typed, submitted in PDF format, and received by Friday, June 28. Email completed applications to Member Services Associate Jamese B. Carrell at, and use the subject line “Awards of Excellence.” Please note: Applications that are not in PDF format, are hand-written, or are submitted late will not be considered.

*Please note: Both the nominator and nominee must be NCAN members to submit a nomination for all categories except the To & Through Award of Excellence. For this award, the postsecondary institution does not need to be an NCAN member, however the nominator does.

We look forward to your participation and to recognizing the important work being done by NCAN members around the country. If you have any questions, please contact Jamese at or by phone at (202) 347-4848 x207.   

Did you miss the initial webinar? The recording can be found in NCAN’s Webinar Archives.