ACUI Announces Host of Conference Special Honors

ACUI bestowed Honorary Lifetime Membership, Emeritus Award, and Legacy Leader Award during the 2024 Annual Conference in Denver. A full list of all awards presented as part of the 2024 Annual Conference may be found here.

Honorary Lifetime Membership

Honorary lifetime membership is conferred by the Board of Trustees to individuals who have demonstrated exceptional service. You may find recipient acceptance videos online.


Colleagues describe Dave Barnes as a joy to work with, a person who always sees the glass half full. Barnes retired in June after more than 30 years as the director at James Madison University. Barnes saw himself as a steward of his facility during his career, focused on creating a better future. Barnes provided his leadership and stewardship to ACUI through his roles as president, at-large Board of Trustees member, Education and Research Fund Team member, Conference Program Team member, and more. Barnes received the Butts-Whiting Awards in 2020.


Cameron retired in August of last year; he served for more than 36 years at Santa Clara University, most recently as assistant vice provost. Colleagues appreciate Cameron’s ability to problem solve; he can analyze any situation and assist in finding a path forward. Cameron brought his leadership skills to ACUI, serving as ACUI president, 1997 Conference Program Team chair, and Region 15 director, among other roles. Cameron received the Butts-Whiting Award in 2006.


Debra Hammond’s impact at California State University–Northridge can be found through facilities she brought to life to better serve students, including the Pride Center and Veterans Resource Center. She will retire in December after more than 30 years at the campus. She served through roles on the Board of Trustees, including president, and imperative working groups; as a leader of the Multi-Ethnic Professionals and Allies Community; and as mentor to many. Hammond received the Butts-Whiting Award in 2002 and Legacy Leader Award in 2022.


Lanita Legan will retire in May after more than 40 years in the field, most recently as the associate director at Texas State University. Her career is marked by her dedication to students and commitment to creating an environment for their success. Legan also worked for the success of ACUI; in fact, one of her nominators said that “her heart bleeds ACUI.” Among her ACUI volunteer roles, Legan was director of former Regions 5 and 12 and just completed a term as member of the Education Council.

Emeritus Awards

Emeritus Awards are presented by the Board of Trustees to professionals for leadership and dedication to serving students and advancing campus community. You may find recipient acceptance videos online.


Carlos Garcia worked for more than 40 years in the field; he retired in February as the associate vice chancellor for administration and finance at University of Colorado–Colorado Springs. Garcia is most proud of helping student affairs departments receive much needed resources. Garcia also served ACUI through roles in Region 12, as a consultant for the CUSA evaluation program, and as an at-large member of the Board of Trustees.


Susan LeBow is a dedicated leader, always making time for colleagues and students alike. She worked for more than 28 years at the University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point, retiring as the associate director, University Centers. The impact LeBow had throughout her career is immeasurable; in fact, nominators found it difficult to concisely define the importance of her presence, attitude, and work ethic.


During his career, Michael Madecky had a profound impact on those around him—both colleagues and students. He retired in January from the University of Kansas–Wichita after more than 50 years in the field. Madecky served the former Region 11 as a conference chair, regional representative, and other roles throughout this career.


Amy Lopez-Matthews will retire in July as executive director, Center for Student Involvement at the University of Dayton, concluding more than 35 years at the campus. Her time at the university helped to shape it into the welcoming community it is today. Lopez-Matthews also helped advance ACUI through her leadership as the Catholic Colleges and Universities Community leader for seven years.


William Schwehr helped bring new ideas to life during his time at the University of Houston. He retired last year after nearly 40 years as the assistant director, leisure services. Schwehr was passionate about his work and meeting student needs. He did for students beyond just the University of Houston as a host for ACUI’s recreational tournaments.


Rene Singleton is described as a pillar of the University of Washington by those campaigning for the university’s Singleton Leadership Fund created in her honor. Singleton retired from her role as associate director for student activities in December; she worked at the university for 33 years. In 2014, Singleton appeared in an In Focus video about ACUI and the role it plays in advancing campus community.


Sundholm retired from the University of Michigan in May of last year after more than 27 years with the university. Sundholm was an advocate for the role of recreation and leisure activities, primarily billiards, in the college union. She served as recreation coordinator for the former Region 7 and the Recreation and Leisure Activities Program Team chair, among other roles.

Legacy Leader Awards

Legacy Leaders recognize individuals who have served as leaders within the college union profession and have dedicated themselves to advancing campus community building, as acknowledged by fellow ACUI members.


Sarah Aikman is widely known as a leader in the field and ACUI. She has served as ACUI president, at-large member of the Board of Trustees, chair of both the 2008 and 2014 Conference Planning Teams, and chair of the Education and Research Fund, among other roles.

Aikman’s champion shared: “Sarah’s generosity, compassion, and willingness to give of herself inspires those with whom she works and reflects her dedication to community building.  She is committed to her work and to serving ACUI and truly personifies the qualities and traits of a servant leader.”


Lanita Legan has served the field and ACUI for more than 30 years. Legan has served in multiple Regional Leadership Team roles, including regional director, host chair fo the Annual Conference, and the Education Council. Her work on campus has been honored through various awards from her home campuses.

Legan’s champion shared:  “Lanita is the consummate professional, an engaged mentor, a fierce learner, a tireless teacher, a resolute volunteer, a stalwart supporter of ACUI, and all-around one of the best humans you will ever meet. She takes you under her wing immediately and pours herself into you.”


Gail Sutton’s dedication to ACUI spans decades. She was a long-time contributor and leader for ACUI’s involvement with College Bowl and NAQT. Other roles include regional director, Seasoned Professionals and Retirees Community of Practice, the Role of the College Union State Working Group, and the Investing in Our Profession Campaign Committee.

Suttons champion shared: “Gail is a quiet leader that always puts students first. She seeks neither limelight nor recognition, and no matter what initiative, she gives 110% of herself.  She is ACUI’s unsung hero, a dedicated volunteer, a sounding board, an ally, an advocate, and a steadfast colleague.”


  • Steve Chaplin

    Steve Chaplin is managing editor of ACUI’s The Bulletin and manager of the ACUI College Union and Student Activities (CUSA) Evaluation Program. A former newspaper writer, editor, and manager, he has volunteered as a student mentor as a member of the National Association of Science Writers, and received awards for his writing and reporting from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, the Kentucky Education Association, and the Kentucky Press Association.

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