The Legacy Leader Award recognizes individuals who have served as leaders within the college union profession and have worked throughout to advance campus community building. What makes this award unique is that it is a recognition by fellow ACUI members and colleagues of an individual’s impact on the field through their spirit and character.

By nominating an individual for this award, you agree to fundraise on their behalf. “Champions” will be provided with a toolbox of resources, and a member of the Education and Research Fund Program Team and staff at the ACUI Central Office will be assigned to help you reach your fundraising minimum of $2,500.

2024 Recipient: Sarah AIkman, Northern Kentucky University

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.”

2024 Recipient: Lanita Legan, Texas State University

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.” 

2024 Recipient: Gail Sutton, Georgia State University

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.”

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

Submission materials must include the following:

  1. Name and contact information of the nominator.
  2. Name and information about the nominee.
  3. A letter of nomination in support of the nominee to receive the award addressing a summary of how the candidate’s experience and achievements meet the criteria identified for this specific award.

ACUI is not currently accepting nominations for this award. Please check back in 2024 for additional information about the next nomination period.

  • Minimum of seven years of service to the college union and/or student activities profession.
  • Minimum of five years of leadership service to ACUI on a regional and/or international level.
  • Actively supports the mission of the Education and Research Fund through service and/or donations. 
  • Recognized by colleagues, friends, or students for extraordinary service to the field.
  • Membership in ACUI.

The Education and Research Fund Program Team will review all nominations, select the recipients, and notify nominators of the status of their nomination by mid-December. A physical award will be given to the recipients, who will be recognized during the awards ceremony at the Annual Conference and in subsequent publications.

  • Kyle Burke, University of Wisconsin–La Crosse
  • Jennifer Keegin, Binghamton University
  • Missy Burgess, University of Wisconsin–Oshkosh
  • Debra Hammond, California State University–Northridge
  •  Sharon “Chickie” Silverstein, Suffolk County College
  • Krista Harrell, University of South Alabama
  • Dwayne Isaacs, University of South Florida–St. Petersburg
  • Keith Kowalka, University of Houston
  • Tena Bennett, Southern Illinois University–Carbondale
  • Meg O’Sullivan, SUNY–Downstate Medical Center
  • Kerry Spicer, Daemen College