The Chester A. Berry Scholar Award is presented to an individual in recognition of outstanding writing that honors ACUI’s first executive director’s timeless and intellectual contributions in the field of college unions and student activities. The award provides a $400 cash prize to the recipient.

2023 Recipient: Ralph Gigliotti, Ph.D., Rutgers University 

In his ACUI Bulletin article “Crisis Leadership on Campus: Understanding, Navigating, and Leading in the Complexity of Crisis,” Ralph Gigliotti, Ph.D., exemplified outstanding writing related to the spirit of community and solidarity cultivated by college unions. His research included the events/situations that are characterized as crises in higher education, how these events become defined and labeled, the prominent characteristics of the discourse around crisis and crisis leadership, and, finally, what skills, values, and competencies are important for the work of crisis leaders in higher education. 

Submission deadline is November 15, 2024. Check back soon for submission form link.

Submission materials must include the following:

  1. Name, institution, and contact information for all contributors.
  2. One compiled document—that is 2,000–4,000 words in length, including references and any appendices, and that contains no identifying information to ensure an anonymous review.
  3. An acknowledgement by that applicant that, if selected, they are committed to contributing at least one research-focused article, educational session, or other ACUI resource within 18 months of receiving the award.

The nomination period for this award is no longer open. Check back in 2024 for details on the next nomination period.

The review process includes, but is not limited to, an assessment of the criteria listed below. The submission must:

  • Be 2,000–4,000 words in length, including references and any appendices.
  • Be original work, heavily researched, and absent of first-person accounts or opinions.  
  • Demonstrate a quality of writing sufficient that ACUI could publish it as an article.
  • Have significance and relevance to college unions, student activities, and/or the ACUI research agenda.
  • Include citations of quality and significant literature.
  • Identify suitable implications for practice.
  • Result in at least one research-focused article, educational session, or other ACUI resource within 18 months of receiving the award.

Individuals with ACUI membership are eligible for this award.

Submissions will receive electronic notification confirming receipt of materials. A confidential panel of judges will conduct an anonymous review of the materials to make the selection based on the criteria identified for this specific award. One physical award will be given to the recipient, who will be recognized during the awards ceremony at the annual conference and in subsequent publications.

  • 2020: Dr. Brian Magee, Dr. Tricia Shalka, and Chloe Corcoran, all from the University of Rochester – Mentors That Matter: International Student Leadership Development and Mentor Roles
  • 2018: Mara Dahlgren, Indiana University–Bloomington & Alexis Parrill, Princeton University – Rethinking the College Union Story: Exploring College Union History Through Building Dates, Naming, & Construction Trends 
  • 2017: Christina Reddick, Florida International University – Servant Leadership Practices among University Student Affairs Leaders: A Survey of Involved Students  
  • 2014: Eric Love & Robert Meyer, Indiana University–Bloomington – Influence of Whiteness of College Unions 
  • 2013: Kaitlyn Moran, North Carolina State University – Competencies among New Professionals in the Union and Activities Field 
  • 2012: Dirk Rodricks, University of Vermont – Towards a more perfect union: Integrating social justice into college unions 
  • 2011: Julia Colyar, University at Buffalo & Trish Dillenbeck, Buffalo State College – Women in Leadership 
  • 2005: Steven Martin & Joshua Wick, Harford Community College 
  • 2003: Amanda Rainey, Indiana University–Bloomington 
  • 1999: Dana Lee Haines, Baylor University 
  • 1999: Dana Lee Haines, Baylor University 
  • 1992: Randy Mitchell, James Madison University 
  • 1991: Paul Kyllo, Clackamas Community College 
  • 1990: Gloria Cahill & Veronica Frisari, Pace University 
  • 1989: Katherine Alday & M. Shannon Smith, University of Tennessee–Chattanooga 
  • 1986: Jan Carlson & Mendi Spencer, Oklahoma State University 
  • 1985: Jan Carlson, Oklahoma State University & Eloy Chavez, University of Minnesota 
  • 1983: Jan Carlson, Oklahoma State University 
  • 1982: Joseph Euculano, Oakland University 
  • 1982: Vincent Leisey, Salisbury University

About Chester A. Berry

Chester A. Berry set a standard marked by his intellectual approach to the field. This award honors a man whose writings seem to travel through time; pieces written by Berry are as relevant today as they were decades years ago. In the 1971 annual conference keynote, “The Union and the Two Cultures,” Berry wrote, “A union, at least a good one, is interdisciplinary. Its program should involve whatever is important or interesting. Its very operation demands the balancing of both the fiscal and the intellectual budgets. It brings together components that the community needs to synthesize an approach to living.”

As the director of Rhode Island and Stanford Unions, Berry was a visible leader in the profession—advancing education through conference programs, proceedings, and The Bulletin; authoring Planning A College Union Building and editing College Unions—Year Fifty; and leading the association’s research committee for many years. Serving as the association’s president in 1960, his presidential address spoke on setting standards for college unions and union professionals, and almost 20 years later, Berry led ACUI, along with eight other associations, in forming the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS). 

Berry also served as the first full-time employee of ACUI, working as executive secretary from 1968–81.