Aspen Award

About the Award

This lifetime contribution award is named for the Aspen tree, a unique and noteworthy member of the North American wilderness. Noble Aspen forests are, in fact, many up-growths of a single root system. Aspen forests are rarely destroyed by wildfire and are actually invigorated by disruption. Aspens provide filtered shade under which other plants can thrive, large stretches in which wildlife can retreat, and striking beauty to their surroundings in all seasons through summer foliage, striking autumn color-changes, and wintry, snow-drifted scenes.
The NACS Education Committee has created The Aspen Award to recognize a professional in the collegiate retailing industry who has made continuous, notable contributions to the education and professional development efforts of the association and actualized the advancement of the industry through learning endeavors. The award shall be bestowed at CAMEX or other appropriate and prominent industry event. 
True to its namesake, the Aspen Award will recognize a professional who has:
  1. Demonstrated dedication to NACS educational programming—raising the level of professional practice in the collegiate retailing industry;
  2. Remained continuously committed to and involved in professional development activities;
  3. Eagerly served as a mentor and coach to his/her staff, colleagues, and others;
  4. Provided leadership and/or notable contribution to NACS educational programs, products, or services.


Previous recipients of the Aspen Award include:

  • 2014     Melanie Sparks, CCR
                University of New Mexico Bookstore, NM
  • 2012     James L. Williams 
                The Duck Store, Eugene, OR
  • 2011     Kathleen K. Grace, CCR
                Swarthmore College Bookstore, Swarthmore, PA
  • 2010     Debbie Harvie, CCR
                UBC Bookstore, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC
  • 2009     Randal H. Storm, CCR
                Lincoln Christian College and Seminary Bookstore, Lincoln, IL
  • 2008     Danny Key, CCR
                Wingate University Bookstore, Wingate, NC 
  • 2007     Dennis Mekelburg, CCR
                Matthews Medical Bookstores, Maryland Heights, MO
  • 2006     Terence Murphy
    Holyoke Community College Bookstore, Holyoke, MA
  • 2005     Maria Murtagh
    Student Store University of the Pacific, San Francisco, CA

Submission Information
Nominees must be employed at a NACS member store or company (in good standing), or have retired or otherwise left the industry from such. The Education Committee will accept self-nominations, and nominations from professionals within the industry and NACS staff members. A complete letter of nomination and at least one (1) additional letter of recommendation must be submitted for a nominee to be considered for the award. Letters of nomination should address the person’s character and experiences relative to the qualities recognized by the Aspen Award as outlined above. Nominations remain confidential and are kept on file for consideration for three years. The recipient will be selected by consensus or majority vote of the Education Committee. Nominators are notified of the outcomes of the selection process immediately. Nominees are NOT informed of their nomination or the selection results unless they are the individual selected to receive the award.


Contact Tony Ellis, CAE, director of NACS education, at (800) 622-7498, ext. 2354, or

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