NASFAA 2013 Awards Announced in Las Vegas

National Association Bestows 2013 Awards on Financial Aid Administrators, Higher Education Community Leaders That Exemplify Excellence in Serving Students, Schools

July 17, 2014 -- Las Vegas, NV-- Each year, the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) presents awards to the most deserving members of the financial aid profession and/or higher education community. These awards are reviewed and selected annually by NASFAA’s Awards Committee and ratified by the Board of Directors. They are presented each year at the National Conference, with nearly 3,000 members in attendance.

NASFAA’s award recipients for 2013 are:

The Allan W. Purdy Distinguished Service Award: Thomas Butts (University of Michigan, retired) 

The Allan W. Purdy Distinguished Service Award is one of the highest awards that NASFAA bestows and awarded for a significant contribution in the furtherance of NASFAA’s goals over a sustained period of time.

A career member of NASFAA, Thomas Butts has devoted his professional life to the improvement of student financial aid. Butts spent much of his nearly 50-year career at the University of Michigan where he served for a time as the director of student financial aid. He was elected President-Elect of NASFAA (now called Chair-Elect) for academic year 1976-77. Part way through his year as President-Elect, Butts was asked to serve in the Carter Administration for the U.S. Office of Education; subsequently he served as Acting Deputy Commissioner during the establishment of the U.S. Department of Education. In 1981, Butts returned to the University of Michigan, where he remained until his retirement.

“Tom’s extraordinary career has been spent shaping and strengthening financial aid programs and processes in support of students,” said 2012-13 NASFAA Chair Ron Day.

The Allan W. Purdy Distinguished Service Award:  Ron Day (Kennesaw State University, GA) 

Currently serving as director of financial aid for Georgia’s Kennesaw State University Day has worked in financial aid at a number of institutions in the South for the past 30 years. He has held various leadership positions in the South Carolina, Alabama and Georgia state associations and has served his regional association of SASFAA as president in 2003-04. Ron has also given back to his national association through his membership on the Board of Directors and through a wide range of committee work.

“As National Chair, Ron’s particular accomplishments have been in the area of leadership development and board engagement,” said NASFAA President Justin Draeger. “During his tenure as chair, he has fostered a cohesive and participatory board and helped his peers grow as leaders and gain stature as a profession.”

Meritorious Achievement Award: Bonnie Joerschke (University of Georgia) 

This award is presented to an individual who has made an important contribution to the Association or to the profession. Bonnie Joerschke has served on the NASFAA Board of Directors and nearly every NASFAA committee. Most recently, she has served as chair of the Higher Education Act Reauthorization Task Force. Among her many achievements, Joerschke's work on federal student aid policy stands out. Over her career she led the NASFAA Federal Issues Committee and served as a nonfederal negotiator during federal regulatory rule-making—all during one of the most tumultuous and rapidly changing times in student aid history. 

“To know Bonnie is to know someone who understands the struggles of disadvantaged students, because she has walked their path,” said Day. “Those personal experiences, combined with her ever-expanding insights on financial aid, make her one of the strongest advocates for students.”

Gold Star Award: Florida Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators 

The Gold Star Award recognizes innovative ideas in the financial aid arena. This award is open to individuals; member institutions; regional associations; and state associations. The 2013 Gold Star award goes to “Clock Hour Group and Program,” submitted by the Florida Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators.

This initiative targeted the training needs of aid administrators serving in clock-hour settings by providing specific training and networking opportunities to this segment of the aid-practitioner community.

Leadership Awards 

The individuals selected for this award must exhibit high integrity and character, must have shown creative leadership, and should have inspired and encouraged others to actively participate in professional development.  One award is given in each of NASFAA’s six regions:


  • Barbara Miller (Stevenson University, Owings Mills, MD) has served as EASFAA president and currently serves on The College Board’s Middle States Council. She has been an EASFAA conference chairperson and chaired the Leadership and Mentoring Committee among numerous leadership positions at the state and regional level.
  • Marvin Smith (Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, IN) has served the financial aid profession at the state, regional (MASFAA) and national levels. He has been president of the Indiana Association and served on the Executive Council of MASFAA, and has received service awards at the state and regional level.
  • Terri Gruba (University of Montana, Missoula, MT) has served as the Montana association’s vice president and president, and as RMASFAA secretary, president, and dean of the Summer Institute, as well as represetnatice-at-large to the NASFAA Board of Directors. She has been a frequent conference presenter at all levels, as well as serving on the Summer Institute faculty.
  • Heather Boutell (Bellarmine University, Louisville, KY) has served at the state, regional and national level. She has chaired the NASFAA Training and Professional Development Committee; has served SASFAA in both elected (treasurer, president) and appointed positions (committee chair and member); and has been Kentucky treasurer and president.
  • Laura Coponiti (University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma, Chickasha, OK) has been recognized by her home state of Oklahoma with the Distinguished Service Award and by SWASFAA with the Philo Brasher Award. She has served on NASFAA’s Finance and Audit Committee, as well as Finance Committee chair at both the state and regional level. She has been president of OASFAA and SWASFAA, as well as OASFAA Treasurer.
  • Patricia Hurley (Glendale Community College, Glendale, CA) has for many years made outstanding contributions to the financial aid community, including service at the state, regional and national levels as committee chair, committee member, and elected representative. She has been awarded lifetime membership to WASFAA.


Statements of Appreciation: David Bergeron (U.S. Department of Education) and Carl Dalstrom (USA Funds) 

Over the course of his career with the U.S. Department of Education (ED), David Bergeron consistently demonstrated a willingness to work with all of the varied constituencies that make up the higher education community. NASFAA recognizes Bergeron's dedication to college students and families, evidenced in part by the development of an array of consumer-oriented tools and services at ED, over which he presided.

NASFAA also thanks Carl Dalstrom for four decades of great leadership and service experience in the financial aid field. Beginning his career as a financial aid administrator at the University of Illinois at Chicago and at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago, Dalstrom joined USA Funds in 1989 and became their CEO and president in 2000.


The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) is a nonprofit membership organization that represents nearly 20,000 financial aid professionals at more than 3,000 colleges, universities, and career schools across the country. Each year, our members help nearly 15 million students receive funding for postsecondary education. In all, NASFAA member institutions served 97 percent of all federal student aid recipients in the US. Based in Washington, DC, NASFAA is the only national association with a primary focus on student aid legislation, regulatory analysis, and training for financial aid administrators. For more information, visit