2012 College Access Awards of Excellence

September 19, 2012

NCAN Announces Awards of Excellence at its 17th National Conference

Washington, DC – The National College Access Network (NCAN) is pleased to announce the recipients of its sixth annual Awards of Excellence. The awards were presented at the NCAN Annual Conference’s Awards of Excellence breakfast held September 19th, 2012 in Las Vegas, NV.

The NCAN Board of Directors created the NCAN Awards of Excellence to recognize excellence in college access organizations, staff, executive or board leadership, and a Champion of College Access. All nominators and nominees, with the exception of the Champion of College Access recipient, must be NCAN members or board members in good standing. The nominees were reviewed by a committee comprised of NCAN member organizations final decisions made by the NCAN Board of Directors.

This year’s awards are sponsored by USA Funds whom NCAN thanks for continuing to recognize college access and success leaders in the field. For more information on the Awards of Excellence, please visit www.collegeaccess.org/Awards.aspx. For more information about USA Funds, please visit www.usafunds.org.

Champions of College Access
Timothy and Bernadette Marquez
Denver Scholarship Foundation

As the visionary co-founders of the Denver Scholarship Foundation, Bernadette and Tim Marquez have created an institution that is changing lives and transforming the economic future of Denver. Since 2007, DSF has awarded more than $13 million in scholarships to 2,700 students, 75 percent of whom are first-generation college-goers. Through college admissions and financial aid advising, scholarships, and ongoing support to undergraduates, DSF is making dreams come true for students and families while also helping to significantly increase college enrollment and graduation rates for Denver students.  

College Access Organization Award of Excellence
uAspire (formerly ACCESS) of Boston MA, www.accessboston.org

uAspire helps aspiring college students and graduates make their dream of a college education an affordable reality. The mission is to ensure that all young people have the financial information and resources necessary to find an affordable path to - and through - a post secondary education. uAspire serves youth in Boston, Springfield and Lawrence through four programs:
•    High School Advising - uAspire Advisors guide students through the financial aid process and begin the conversation before senior year on how to prepare for college.
•    Community Engagement– uAspire partners with leading organizations in our community to build awareness of college affordability and empower students and families to act.
•    Postsecondary Success – Realizing that just getting to college is not enough, uAspire serves as a resource to students who are currently in college.
•    Last Dollar Scholarship– uAspire awards scholarships to students to help fill their unmet need between their financial aid award and the actual cost of their college.
The College Access Organization Award of Excellence recognizes the work of a college access/success program that is committed to college access and success so that all students, especially those underrepresented in postsecondary education, can achieve their educational dreams. uAspire received $5,000 toward general operating support, scholarships, and/or professional development, generously sponsored by USA Funds. uAspire will also receive a feature in the USA Funds magazine.

Executive Leadership Award of Excellence
Dr. Nicole Farmer Hurd, Founder and Executive Director
National College Advising Corp of Chapel Hill, NC , www.advisingcorps.org

Nicole Farmer Hurd, Ph.D. is the Founder and Executive Director of the National College Advising Corps, a consortium of 18 partner college/universities in 14 states that hires recent college graduates to serve as college advisers.  These advisers are placed into disadvantaged communities to work with low-income, first-generation college and underrepresented students to raise college matriculation rates. Dr. Hurd is a recognized leader in the field, championing the need for college access programs availability to students throughout the country. In recent years, she has been invited to participate in a White House Summit, selected as an American Marshall Memorial Fellow, spoken at conferences on social innovation and impact, and served on an advisory panel for the Institute of Educational Sciences.

The Executive Leadership Award of Excellence recognizes the dedication and hard work of an individual serving as a college access program’s Executive Director, President or as a member of its Board of Trustees or Directors.
National College Advising Coprs, of Chapel Hill, NC received a $1,000 award in support of a new, one-time scholarship made in honor of Dr. Hurd.

Dr. David B. Swedlow Memorial College Access Staff Award of Excellence
Daniel Cruz, Director of Student and Parent Services
Education is Freedom of Dallas, TX, www.educationisfreedom.com  

Daniel Cruz is the Director of Student and Parent Services for Education is Freedom (EIF). In this role, he is responsible for maintaining communications and an effective working relationship with Dallas Independent School District, the 14th largest school district in the country. Additionally, Daniel serves as the organization’s liaison with community organizations, manages the volunteer mentoring program, and directs a staff of 21 EIF Advisors.

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 program. On Point for College received $1,000 toward professional development in honor of Mr. Cruz’s award. The College Access Staff Award of Excellence is named for Dr. Swedlow, former NCAN Director of Programs, after his passing and in honor of his commitment to the cause of college access.

Incorporated in 1995 and headquartered in Washington, DC, the mission of the National College Access Network (NCAN) is to build, strengthen, and empower communities committed to college access and success so that all students, especially those under-represented in postsecondary education, can achieve their educational dreams. NCAN achieves this mission by serving as a convener for the access and success community, an advocate for public policy in support of student access and success, and a provider of member services and strategic assistance to communities seeking to create college access and success programs and networks. For more information, please visit the NCAN website www.collegeaccess.org.

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