The Meg Sutton I-LEAD® Scholarship recognizes students who have conquered obstacles in their education and have taken a leadership role in their college union or student activities program. The scholarship allows recipients to engage in ACUI’s premier student leadership development institute, covering the cost of registration to the ACUI event.

Past Recipients

  • 2022: Emma Smith, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh
  • 2021: Zunayra Hemani, University of Houston
  • 2020: Jacob Hoffman, University of South Carolina
  • 2019: Kali Barnhart – Springfield College
  • 2018: Harmony Clarke – University of Minnesota–Duluth
  • 2017: Shamain McAllister – Albertus Magnus College
  • 2016: Ben Nzowo – Portland Community College
  • 2015: Megan Dignan – Frostburg State University
  • 2014: Amy Sawdey – The College at Brockport
  • 2013: Demontae Thompson – University of Southern California
  • 2012: Nicole King – Webster University

This scholarship was not awarded in 2023.


Submission materials must include the following:

  • Name, institution, and contact information of the applicant.
  • A personal essay, written by the applicant, addressing (in 2,500 words or less):
    • Evidence that the applicant meets the criteria identified for this specific scholarship.
    • A summary of experiences related to advancing campus community, including positions or involvement the applicant has held on campus, in ACUI, and/or with other relevant organizations.
    • What activity is requested to be supported by the scholarship, including how the applicant would benefit from participation in the activity.
  • Two to three letters in support of the applicant to receive the scholarship written by individuals such as direct supervisors/advisors, peers/colleagues, students, faculty members, etc.
  • And an acknowledgement by the applicant that, if selected:
    • They are available to participate in the dates of the proposed activity.
    • They may receive a full or partial scholarship, and it is the obligation of the recipient or recipient’s institution to support additional expenses, including travel and lodging, required to participate in the activity.

The submission deadline has passed. Nominations for 2024 awards and scholarships will open in October 2023.


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

  • Have demonstrated leadership experience and involvement in their campus community.
  • Have overcome challenges in their education.
  • Articulate an interest in and demonstrate potential benefit from professional development as a first-time attendee at I-LEAD®


Degree-seeking students enrolled at an ACUI member institution who are not full-time employees at the institution are eligible for this award.


Electronic notification will be sent to confirm award submissions have been received. A confidential Individuals Awards and Scholarships Committee, appointed annually by the ACUI president, will review materials to make the selection. One recipient will be chosen, unless otherwise noted for the 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.

About Meg Sutton

It was Meg Sutton's bold leadership and creativity that lead to the creation of the Institute for Leadership Education and Development (I-LEAD®). Through the help of the 1994 Conference Program Team, I-LEAD® was introduced at the annual conference I-LEAD® offers leaders of tomorrow the chance to focus on personal growth and pertinent issues facing our world. 

The scholarship recipient is expected to write a summary of his or her experience, speak briefly on their experience at a future Education and Research Fund program, and submit a program proposal for a future ACUI regional or annual conference in Honolulu. Since the program's start, hundreds of students and professional staff mentors have been affected by I-LEAD®; many say that the program has changed their lives and began a long relationship with ACUI. The Meg Sutton I-LEAD® Fund provides opportunities for students to participate in this life-changing program. 


Meg Sutton