John T. Blackburn Distinguished Pillars

The John L. Blackburn Distinguished Pillar Award

This award is presented annually in conjunction with the Pillars of the Profession award. The Foundation Board selects up to two previous Pillars of the Profession who continue to grow and strengthen the student affairs field. This is the NASPA Foundation’s highest honor.

Class of 2020

  • Michael Jackson

    Emeritus Vice President for Student Affairs

    University of Southern California

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  • Patricia E. Telles-Irvin (posthumous)

    Vice President for Student Affairs

    Northwestern University

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  • Gwendolyn Jordan Dungy

    Executive Director Emerita


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  • Susan R. Komives

    Professor Emerita

    University of Maryland College Park

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Class of 2018

  • Larry Ebbers

    University Professor Emeritus

    Iowa State University

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  • Elizabeth Nuss

    Former Vice President and Dean of Students, Goucher College

    Former Executive Director, NASPA

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Class of 2017

  • Robert H. Shaffer

    Previous Faculty and Dean of Students

    Indiana University

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  • Dudley (Doug) B. Woodard Jr.

    Professor, Higher Education

    University of Arizona

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Class of 2016

  • David A. Ambler

    Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Emeritus

    University of Kansas

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  • Judith M. Chambers

    Vice President for Student Life Emerita

    University of the Pacific

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Class of 2015

  • Jon C. Dalton


    Florida State University

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  • Alice Manicur

    Vice President for Student Affairs, Retired

    Frostburg State University

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Class of 2014

  • Arthur Sandeen


    University of Florida

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Arthur Sandeen was born in Chicago in 1938 and was educated in the public schools in Hinsdale, Illinois. He earned his B.A. degree in religion and psychology in 1960 from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, his M.A. degree in college student personnel administration from Michigan State University in 1962, and his Ph.D. degree from Michigan State in 1965 in administration and higher education. In 1982, he was a Fulbright Scholar in West Germany, and in 1984, completed the Institute for Educational Management program at Harvard University. Sandeen served as a head resident adviser and coordinator of freshmen orientation at Michigan State University from 1962-65, and as Associate Director of Residence Hall Programs from 1965-67. From 1967-73, he served as Dean of Students and Associate Professor of Higher Education at Iowa State. In 1973, he was appointed Vice President for Student Affairs and Professor of Higher Education at the University of Florida and served in this position until August 1, 1999. He served as Professor of Educational Leadership and Coordinator of the graduate program in student personnel in higher education from 1999-2004. He retired from UF on December 31, 2004. Sandeen was elected President of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators in 1977, and in 1987, chaired the committee that wrote the report, ‘A Perspective on Student Affairs’, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Student Personnel Point of View. He is the author of 3 monographs, over 50 published articles, 21 chapters in books, and 6 books; Undergraduate Education: Conflict and Change (D.C. Heath, 1976); The Chief Student Affairs Officer: Leader, Manager, Mediator, Educator (Jossey Bass, 1991); Improving Leadership in Student Affairs Administration (C.C. Thomas, 2000); Making a Difference: Profiles of Outstanding Student Affairs Leaders (NASPA, 2001); Enhancing Student Engagement on Campus (University Press of America, 2003); and Critical Issues in Student Affairs: Challenges and Opportunities (Jossey-Bass, 2006, with Margaret Barr). He received the Fred Turner Award in 1982 for contributions to NASPA, the Scott Goodnight Award in 1990 for outstanding performance as a dean, and NASPA’s award for contributions to research and literature in 2000.

Class of 2013

  • Dr. James J. Rhatigan

    Vice President for Student Affairs Emeritus

    Wichita State University

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James J. Rhatigan became the Dean of Students at Wichita State University (WSU) at the age of 30, making him the youngest person to serve in that capacity in institutions of 10,000 and above. He was named vice president for student affairs in 1970 and held that position until 1996, serving six years as senior vice president before his retirement in 2002. Rhatigan earned the rank of professor in 1985, through the regular tenure and promotion process, and he continues to work as a consultant at the WSU Foundation. In 1996 the 170,000 sq. ft. student union at WSU was renamed the Rhatigan Student Center. Rhatigan is particularly proud of the fact that people who served on his staff have gone on to very successful work elsewhere, including two college presidents. Within NASPA, Rhatigan served in a number of positions including NASPA President (1975-1976). He was the NASPA Historian for about 30 years, and was active in the creation of the NASPA Regions and wrote the original paper on the role of the Regional Vice President (early 70s). He received the Fred Turner Award in 1980 and the Scott Goodnight Award in 1987, making him the first person to win both awards. His a member of the 1999 Pillars of the Profession class. Dr. Rhatigan earned his B.A. at Coe College in American History, a M. A. from Syracuse University in American history and his Ph.D. University of Iowa focusing on student personnel administration.

Class of 2012

  • Margaret Barr

    Professor Emeritus

    Northwestern University

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  • Doris Ching

    Vice President for Student Affairs Emeritus

    University of Hawai’i System

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Margaret J. Barr served as Vice President for Student Affairs at Northwestern University from 1992 until she retired in 2000. She currently is professor emeritus in the School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern, serves as a Senior Fellow for Eduventures, and is a member of the Visiting Committee for the Dean of Student Life at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). She has been active in both ACPA and NASPA, having served as president of ACPA and president of the NASPA Foundation Board, and being recognized with some of the associations’ highest honors. Barr was a member of the committee that wrote “A Perspective on Student Affairs” issued on the 50th anniversary of the Student Personnel Point of View. She is the author or editor of: Critical Issues for Student Affairs: Challenge and Opportunities with Arthur Sandeen (2006), An Academic Manager’s Guide to Budgets and Financial Management (2002), A Handbook for Student Affairs Administration (1993), senior editor of the second edition of A Handbook for Student Affairs Administration (2000) with Mary Desler, coeditor of New Futures for Student Affairs with M. Lee Upcraft (1990), Student Services and the Law (1988) and Developing Effective Student Service Programs with L. Keating (1985). In addition, she served as editor-in-chief of the monograph series New Directions for Student Services (1986-1998). She current serves as contributing editor for The Student Affairs Leader. Barr received a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the State University College at Buffalo (1961), a master’s degree in college student personnel from Southern Illinois University Carbondale (1963), and a Ph.D. in educational administration from the University of Texas at Austin (1980). She was a Fulbright Scholar in Germany in 1986.
Doris Ching served as Vice President for Student Affairs at the University of Hawai`iI (UH) from 1987 until her retirement in 2005. Her prior positions were Assistant to the UH President; Associate Dean of Education; Director of Teacher Corps; associate professor of education; chair, Education and International Division of the Pacific International Center for High Technology Research; and middle school teacher. Her research and training grants brought several million dollars to UH. She received the EdD from Arizona State University and the BEd and MEd from UH. Doris serves on various national and local boards and commissions and was the first woman of color and first Asian/Pacific Islander to be elected president of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) and NASPA Foundation. An advocate of all students, Doris implemented various programs to serve the needs of a wide range of students. In her commitment to assure equal rights and benefits for all, Doris continues to mentor men and women professionals and consults in education and strategic planning in higher education in other states. She has received prestigious local and national awards and is active in national and local professional organizations.