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.

2022 Recipients

Missy Burgess, University of Wisconsin–Oshkosh

Missy Burgess works tirelessly—both on her campus and for ACUI. As one nominee said, "Your work-ethic, determination, and commitment to everything you are involved with are all testament to your legacy as a colleague and your impacts in the Association and every campus where you have worked.” Burgess used her energy, positivity, and leadership acumen to lead ACUI's efforts to host the first in-person conference in three years.

Debra Hammond, California State University–Northridge

Debra Hammond has brand recognition within ACUI. Nominators spoke to her compassion, commitment to new professionals, and transformational leadership skills. From the strength of her words and actions, her bright smile, to her infectious energy and recognizable laugh, Hammond has an impact on those around her. She is a servant leader who has directly and indirectly shaped the landscape of student affairs, student union work, and ACUI.

Sharon “Chickie” Silverstein, Suffolk County Community College

Sharon “Chickie” Silverstein list of volunteer services is long, including regional and international positions, roles on the Board of Trustees and with Conference Program Teams, and College Bowl. Nominators described Silverstein as motivated, caring, role model, positive legacy, advocate, leader, humble, engaging, loving, dedicated, friend, special, mentor, appreciative, and committed—and as the "epitome of this award."

Past Recipients

2021 Recipients
  • Krista Harrell, University of South Alabama
  • Dwayne Isaacs, University of South Florida–St. Petersburg
  • Keith Kowalka, University of Houston
2020 Recipients
  • Tena Bennett, Southern Illinois University–Carbondale
  • Meg O'Sullivan, SUNY–Downstate Medical Center
  • Kerry Spicer, Daemen College


Nominations are closed for this year; next year's award nomination process will be open in October 2022. Submission materials must include the following:

  • Name and contact information of the nominator.
  • Name and information about the nominee.
  • 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.

Criteria and Eligibility

  • 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
  • Active participation in advancing the mission of the Education and Research Fund through the years
  • 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.