AHEAD Awards

Ronald E. Blosser Dedicated Service Award

The Ronald E. Blosser Dedicated Service Award is established to publicly honor individual members who have given extraordinarily outstanding and selfless dedication and service to the Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD) and whose service to AHEAD has consistently been of the utmost quality. The award is the highest recognition of service to the Association and one of AHEAD’s two highest honors.

AHEAD Honor for Meritorious Contribution

The AHEAD Honor for Meritorious Contribution on behalf of individuals with disabilities is to publicly honor individuals and groups whose vision, values, efforts and/or accomplishments have led to significant advances in access for people with disabilities. Such benefits or advances may relate to postsecondary education; if so, that should be articulated in the nomination. Recognizing vision, values, extraordinary efforts and accomplishments, this award is one of AHEAD’s two most prestigious awards.

Duraese Hall Excellence in Diversity & Inclusion Award

The Excellence in Diversity & Inclusion Award recognizes an AHEAD member or group of members who have promoted diversity within our profession and/or the place of work of the candidate(s). This award honors the legacy of Duraese Hall, a member of AHEAD who worked to diversify our membership and created dedicated opportunities for inclusion. This award not only recognizes the promotion of diversity in our profession, but of inclusion- the practice of welcoming these unique perspectives and valuing their inherent worth. Individuals nominated must be members of AHEAD or at least one member of a group nominated must be an AHEAD member.

AHEAD Professional Recognition Award

The AHEAD Professional Recognition Award recognizes outstanding achievement and contributions to Disability Resources by an AHEAD member. Any AHEAD member who has implemented an innovative idea or project, conducted research, or demonstrated outstanding dedication to the field is eligible to be nominated for recognition. This award distinguishes those AHEAD members who go the extra mile to affect change that results in increased access, improved services or evolving views of disability on their campuses.

AHEAD Partner Recognition Award

The AHEAD Partner Recognition Award was created to recognize outstanding contributions by individuals and groups external to AHEAD membership. These individuals and groups act directly or indirectly to benefit campus programs for students with disabilities. The award may recognize leaders in government, professionals, groups of professionals, a campus department, a research initiative or business effort.

Student Recognition Award

The AHEAD Student Recognition Award was established to recognize outstanding effort by an undergraduate or graduate student in representing disability identity or community on campus or by increasing campus access through advocacy or involvement . AHEAD hopes not only to recognize but also to encourage students to become involved in the issues of physical, technological, attitudinal and programmatic accessibility as well as disability

Ronald E. Blosser Dedicated Service Award

Please note: This award was originally called the Dedicated Service Award for its initial year in 1980.


Recipient Affiliation at Time of Award
2021 Lyman Dukes, III University of South Florida
2020 Jamie Axelrod &
Dr. Kristie Orr
Northern Arizona University; Texas A&M University
2019 Jane Thierfeld Brown Yale School of Medicine; College Autism Spectrum
2018 Rhonda Rapp St. Mary’s University
2017 Sandi Patton Nevada State College
2016 Teresa Haven University of Northern Arizona
2015 Katheryne Staeger-Wilson Missouri State University
2014 Terra Beethe Bellevue University

Jim Kessler

University of North Carolina
2012 Tom Thompson

Harper College (Emeritus)


Bea Awoniyi

Florida State University


Scott Lissner

The Ohio State University


Jean Ashmore

Rice University

2008 Paul Grossman USDOE - OCR
2007 Ron Stewart Dolphin Systems, Inc.
2006 Randy Borst SUNY Buffalo
2005 J. Trey Duffy University of Wisconsin
2004 Carol Funckes & Joanie Friend University of Arizona &
Metropolitan Community Colleges
2003 Sam Goodin University of Michigan
2002 Bill Pollard University of Massachusetts -Boston
2001 Sue Kroeger University of Arizona
2000 Christy Lendman &
Gladys Loewen
Rockford College &
Adult Services Centre
1999 Lydia Block Block Educational Consulting
1998 Ann Yurcisin The Ohio State University
1997 Jo Anne Simon, Esq. Brooklyn, New York
1996 Dianne Perriera University of Arizona
1995 Ward Newmeyer University of California, Berkeley
1994 Wayne Cocchi Columbus State Community College
1993 Brenda Brown &
Carol DeSouza
University of New Orleans &
University of Massachusetts–Boston
1992 Marge Fordyce &
John Timcak
Mott Community College &
University of Wisconsin– Stevens Point
1991 Loring Brinckerhoff Boston University
1990 Dona Sparger University of Tennessee, Memphis
1989 Pat Pierce Vanderbilt University
1988 Bill Scales University of Maryland–College Park
1987 Joanna Gartner Kent State University
1986 Catherine Johns (now Catherine Campisi) San Diego Community College District
1985 Sharon Bonney University of California, Berkeley
1984 Warren King The Ohio State University
1983 Steve Simon Wright State University
1982 Rich Harris Ball State University
1981 Janet Huss &
Gwen Callas-Miller
Iowa State University &
Kent State University
1980 Ron Blosser Southern Illinois University– Carbondale

2020 Awards

  • Duraese Hall Excellence in Diversity & Inclusion Award: Dr. Mary Lee Vance, 
  • Honor for Meritorious Contribution: Andrew Zeisler
  • Professional Recognition Award: Dr. Michelle Rigler
  • Student Recognition Award: Heather Schmoll

2019 Awards

  • Duraese Hall Excellence in Diversity & Inclusion Award: REDD SIG
  • Honor for Meritorious Contribution: Larry Markle
  • Partner Recognition Award: Dr. Kay Jansen
  • Partner Recognition Award: Missouri State Campus Recreation
  • Professional Recognition Award: Arlene Kanter
  • Research Reviewer of the Year: Janet Medina
  • Student Recognition Award: Megan Zahneis

2018 Awards

  • Excellence in Diversity & Inclusion Award: Jen Dugger
  • Honor for Meritorious Contribution: Lisa Meeks
  • Practice Brief Reviewer of the Year: Anne Osowski
  • Professional Recognition Award: Christy Horn
  • Professional Recognition Award: Arlene Kanter
  • Research Reviewer of the Year: Nina du Toit
  • Student Recognition Award: Madeline O’Meara

2017 Awards

  • Diversity Recognition Award: Jack Yong Ho
  • Honor for Meritorious Contribution: Melanie Thornton (Project ShIFT)
  • Honor for Meritorious Contribution: Gladys Loewen (Project ShIFT)
  • Honor for Meritorious Contribution: Sue Kroeger (Project ShIFT)
  • Honor for Meritorious Contribution: Carol Funckes (Project ShIFT)
  • Practice Brief Reviewer of the Year: Barbara Hammer
  • Research Reviewer of the Year: Janet Medina
  • Student Recognition Award: Ahman Mshaiel
  • Student Recognition Award: Elizabeth Anh Thomson

2016 Awards

  • Excellence in Diversity & Inclusion Award: Bea Awoniyi
  • Practice Brief Reviewer of the Year: Lisa Toft
  • Professional Recognition Award: Chris Lanterman
  • Research Reviewer of the Year: Janet Medina
  • Student Recognition Award: Kaitlyn Kellermey

2015 Awards

  • Diversity Recognition Award: Jimmy Yawn
  • Honor for Meritorious Contribution: David R. Parker
  • Honor for Meritorious Contribution: Michael Nusen
  • Practice Brief Reviewer of the Year: Neera Jain
  • Professional Recognition Award: Jimmy Yawn
  • Research Reviewer of the Year: Carol E. Marchetti
  • Student Recognition Award: Jaime Mitash

2014 Awards

  • Practice Brief Reviewer of the Year: Lori R. Muskat
  • Student Recognition Award: Scott Kupferman
  • Research Reviewer of the Year: Pamela Luft
  • Diversity Recognition Award: Randall Ward

2013 Awards

  • Professional Recognition: Wendy Harbour
  • Honor for Meritorious Contribution: Mobility International USA
  • Presidential Recognition Award: Paul Grossman

2012 Awards

  • Professional Recognition Award: Mary Lee Vance
  • Diversity Recognition Award: Melanie Thornton
  • Honor for Meritorious Contribution: DREAM: Disability Rights, Education, Activism and Mentoring; Michelle White, Organizer and Wendy Harbour, Advisor
  • Recognition Award: The Center for Community Partnerships
  • Recognition Award: Anthony Verdeja
  • Recognition Award: Tracy Villinski
  • Student Recognition Award: Trey Armstrong

2011 Awards

  • Professional Recognition Award: Sheryl Burgstahler
  • Diversity Recognition Award: Jose Soto

2010 Awards

  • Professional Recognition Award: Katheryne Staeger-Wilson
  • Diversity Recognition Award: Carol Funckes
  • Recognition Award: Michelle Ballan