NCAN Awards of Excellence
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About the Awards

The NCAN Awards of Excellence recognize high performance in college access and success programming and contributions to the field. All nominators and nominees, with the exception of the Champion of College Access category, must be NCAN members or board members in good standing. The nominees are reviewed by a committee comprised of NCAN member organizations with final decisions made by the NCAN board of directors. 


Previous Award Winners

Bob Craves Champion of College Access Award

This award honors individuals, organizations, or corporations that have made remarkable, long-term contributions to increasing college access and success for underrepresented students. 

In 2015, the NCAN board of directors renamed our champion award in honor of Bob Craves, a founding officer of Costco and co-founder of the College Success Foundation, who died in 2014 and was a longtime advocate for students who have been historically underserved in higher education.

  • 2019: Jamie Merisotis, President and CEO, Lumina Foundation (Indianapolis)
  • 2018: Bob McCann, Chairman, UBS Americas
  • 2017: Fidel Vargas, President and CEO, Hispanic Scholarship Fund (Gardena, CA)
  • 2016: Kellie Dean, President and CEO, Dean Transportation, Inc. (Lansing, MI)
  • 2015: Dr. Donald Pemberton, Take Stock in Children (Miami)
  • 2014: Vince Roig, Founder, Helios Education Foundation (Phoenix)
  • 2013: Randal Boyd, Founder, tnAchieves (Knoxville, TN)
  • 2012: Timothy and Bernadette Marquez, Founders, Denver Scholarship Foundation (Denver)
  • 2011: Bob Craves and Ann Ramsay-Jenkins, Founders, College Success Foundation (Washington, D.C. and Issaquah, WA)
  • 2010: Dr. Irving Fradkin, Founder, Dollars for Scholars (St. Paul, MN)
  • 2009: Citi Foundation (New York)
  • 2008: Senator Edward M. Kennedy (MA)

College Access Organization Award of Excellence

This award recognizes the work of an outstanding college access/success program.

  • 2019: Crosby Scholars Community Partnership (Winston-Salem, NC)
  • 2018: Options Center at Goddard Riverside Community Center (New York)
  • 2017: Chicago Scholars (Chicago)
  • 2016: Academic Success Program (Dallas)
  • 2015: College Crusade of Rhode Island (Providence, RI)
  • 2014: Robert and Janice McNair Educational Foundation (Forest City, NC)
  • 2013: College Bound (St. Louis)
  • 2012: uAspire (Boston)
  • 2011: College Forward (Austin, TX)
  • 2010: Bottom Line (Jamaica Plain, MA)
  • 2009: College Possible (St. Paul, MN)
  • 2008: Ohio College Access Network (Columbus, OH)
  • 2007: Access College Foundation (Norfolk, VA)


Dr. David B. Swedlow Memorial College Access Staff Member Award of Excellence

This award recognizes the dedication, hard work, and innovation of a college access program employee. This award is named in honor of Dr. David B. Swedlow, who dedicated his life to helping students access college.

  • 2019: Renee Aumock, Senior Program Director, Great Lakes Bay College & Career Resource Center (Bay City, MI)
  • 2018: Daniel Jackson, Breakthrough Central Texas (Austin, TX)
  • 2017: Maria Carvalho, College Crusade of Rhode Island (Providence, RI)
  • 2016: Ramiro Fonseca, Program Manager for College Access and Success, Project GRAD Houston (Houston)
  • 2015: Troy Miller, Florida College Access Network (Tampa, FL)
  • 2014: David J. Rodriguez, Metropolitan Education Commission (Tucson, AZ)
  • 2013: Cheryl Lee Jones, Program Director, Access College Foundation (Norfolk, VA)
  • 2012: Daniel Cruz, Director of Student & Parent Services, Education is Freedom (Dallas)
  • 2011: Samuel Rowser, Program Director, On Point for College (Syracuse, NY)
  • 2010: Jerry Henry, Director of High School Advising, uAspire (Boston)
  • 2009: Linda Shiller, Director Career and Education Outreach, Vermont Student Assistance Corporation (Winooski, VT)
  • 2008: Victor Garcia, Director of Outreach Projects, USC Center for Higher Education Policy Analysis (Los Angeles)
  • 2007: Angela Whitlow, Program Director, Scholarship Foundation of St. Louis (St. Louis)

Executive Leadership Award of Excellence

This award recognizes the dedication and hard work of an individual serving as a college access program’s executive director, president or as a member of its board of trustees.

  • 2019: Jim McCorkell, CEO and Founder, College Possible (St. Paul, MN)
  • 2018: Bob Obrohta, Tennessee College Access and Success Network (Nashville, TN)
  • 2017: Tim Herron, President, Degrees of Change (Tacoma, WA)
  • 2016: Austin Buchan, Executive Director, College Forward (Austin, TX)
  • 2015: Kim Mazzuca, 10,000 Degrees (San Rafael, CA)
  • 2014: Brandy Johnson, Michigan College Access Network (Lansing, MI)
  • 2013: Faith A. Sandler, Executive Director, Scholarship Foundation of St. Louis (St. Louis)
  • 2012: Nicole Farmer Hurd, Ph.D., Founder & Executive Director, College Advising Corps (Chapel Hill, NC)
  • 2011: Bonnie Sutton, Executive Director, Access College Foundation (Norfolk, VA)
  • 2010: Nancy Leopold, Executive Director, CollegeTracks (Bethesda, MD)
  • 2009: Monica Montenegro, Executive Director, East Bay Consortium / California Student Opportunity Assistance Program (Oakland, CA)
  • 2008: Virginia "Ginny" Donohue, Executive Director, On Point for College (Syracuse, NY)
  • 2007: Andrea Cockrun, Chief Executive Officer, The Fulfillment Fund (Los Angeles)


Khanfidence Builder Award

This award, generously supported by The College Board, recognizes a college access/success organization for incorporating Official SAT Practice on Khan Academy into their program to build students' readiness for the SAT and college. 


To & Through Award of Excellence

This awardrecognizes an institution (or department within) that collaborates with an NCAN member college access/success organization to ensure that the organization’s students – as well as all enrolled underrepresented students – get the supports they need to complete a two-year or four-year degree.