The Southern Star Award may be presented to a person or persons to recognize significant and outstanding contributions to the profession, to society, or to SoACE. The Southern Star Award is a prestigious recognition of service and contributions exceeded only in significance within SoACE by the Founders Award. SoACE was proud to present Sam Ratcliffe, Director of Career Services at the Virginia Military Institute (VMI), with the 2017 Southern Star Award at the Annual Conference in December. This award was also presented to Kent Phillips, recently retired Educator Relations Manager at Disney World Wide Services, who will be featured at a later time.
When Past President Mary Mahoney presented Sam with the award in December, she stated from Sam’s letter of nomination that he “has a strong national reputation in career services leadership and expertise in many areas, including external review processes, professional standards, professional competencies, assessment, and accountability in career services. He was previously recognized by his national peers on the Ten Most Visionary Leaders in Career Services list for two years in a row… He has given countless hours to his profession over the years and is very deserving of the Southern Star Award.”
Sam Ratcliffe, Ph.D. is a consultant, researcher, author, and frequent presenter on key topics related to career services. Receiving the Southern Star Award for significant and outstanding contributions to the profession adds to a long list of accolades that he has received in the course of his career.
A former president of both the Virginia (VACE) and Eastern (EACE) Associations of College and Employers, Sam received the distinguished service award from both organizations. He has served on the board of the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) as College Director, Vice President-College, and President. Sam also provided career services expertise for ten years as a member of the board of directors for the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS). Sam has also been a faculty member for leadership studies courses and director of career services at VMI for many years.
Sam is a thought leader and influencer on multiple national issues including career competencies, ethical principles, accountability, external review processes, leadership development, advocacy, outcomes assessment, professional standards, and career services practitioner competencies. He has been consistently recognized as a top visionary and forward thinking leader in the profession.
He is also one of 35 members of the prestigious NACE Academy of Fellows. This recognition is for his professional contributions to the advancement of knowledge, leadership, and excellence in professional practice.
The call for nominations for the 2018 Southern Star Award will be announced in the fall. When the time comes, please consider nominating a colleague. A list of past award recipients and selection criteria can be found on the Awards and Recognition page of the SoACE website.