BLACKSBURG, Va., Jan. 23, 2012 – Vice President for Student Affairs Edward Spencer has been named a 2012 Pillar of the Profession by the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators Foundation. Spencer is one of 12 collegiate student affairs administrators to receive the honor.
The foundation, a professional society for student affairs administrators in higher education, awards Pillar of the Profession each year to prominent individuals who have served as leaders, teachers, and scholars in the student affairs field. The criteria for the award stipulates that honorees must be distinguished professionals, as defined by donors and supporters; must have served in a regional or national NASPA leadership role; and must be recognized by colleagues, friends, students, or student organizations for extraordinary service.
"I was surprised and humbled to learn that I am being recognized with a Pillar of the Profession Award,” Spencer said. “Knowing that my colleagues view me in this way and nominated me for this honor makes this award very special."
The award will be officially conferred at the annual NASPA Conference in March. In addition, a gift of $2,500 will be presented to the foundation in the nominee’s name to further research and scholarship in the area of student affairs.
NASPA officials said Spencer, who recently announced his retirement after nearly 30 years at Virginia Tech, has always shown dedication and commitment to students and student affairs.
NASPA Foundation Board Member Kurt Keppler was the associate dean of students at Virginia Commonwealth University when he first met Spencer in 1987, and says he was impressed with Spencer from the beginning.
“Over the years I have garnered even more respect for Ed as his leadership has permeated throughout [Virginia] Tech, and his mentoring has impacted many staff throughout the country,” said Keppler, who currently serves as vice chancellor of student life and enrollment services at Louisiana State University. “Ed is a caring, empathic administrator who puts students first.”
NASPA Foundation President Barb Snyder, who also serves as vice president for student affairs at the University of Utah, said the Pillar of the Profession award is one of the highest honors for student affairs professionals.
“It is reflective of the special regard his national peers have for Ed and a recognition of his many years of service to Virginia Tech and his profession,” she said. “Only a small number of student affairs professionals are selected to receive this recognition each year, and Ed is a most deserving candidate.”
Spencer is also the recipient of numerous other awards, including the Dissertation of the Year award from the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators; the first Zenobia Lawrence Hikes Leadership Award from the Virginia Tech Student Government Association; and Most Outstanding Faculty Advisor, Most Outstanding Chapter Advisor, the Order of Constantine, and the Significant Sig Award from the Sigma Chi International Fraternity. In addition, the Spencer Award, given annually to Virginia Tech’s Fraternity Advisor of the Year, is named in his honor.
Spencer has spent nearly 42 years working in student affairs, with his tenure at Virginia Tech beginning in 1983 when he was named director of housing and residence life. Following that, he continued his work in student affairs as director of residential and dining programs, assistant vice president for student affairs, associate vice president for student affairs, and finally vice president for student affairs.
During his time at the university, he has been credited with significant improvements to the dining program, campus housing for fraternities and sororities, living-learning communities, and many other programs that have benefited student life on campus.
As vice president, Spencer provides leadership and oversight to the 15 departments in the Division of Student Affairs, which includes the Campus Alcohol Abuse Prevention Center, Career Services, Cook Counseling Center, Corps of Cadets, Cranwell International Center, Dean of Students Office, Dining Services, Fraternity and Sorority Life, Housing and Residence Life, Multicultural Programs and Services, Recreational Sports, Schiffert Health Center, Services for Students with Disabilities, Student Centers and Activities, and Student Conduct.
The Division of Student Affairs at Virginia Tech encompasses departments dedicated to providing a rich co-curricular experience and essential student services. Virtually every aspect of a student's life outside the classroom is represented through the division's departments.
Written by Jennifer Gibson.