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Two SEES Leaders at ODU Earn Honors

By Joe Garvey

Two leaders with the Division of Student Engagement and Enrollment Services at Old Dominion University were honored recently by the Southern Association for College Student Affairs (SACSA).

Vice President Ellen Neufeldt received the Melvene Draheim Hardee Award. Associate Vice President Johnny Young was the Bobby E. Leach Award winner.

The Hardee award recognizes contributions to student personnel work by a member of the association in one or more of the following areas:

  • Development of a model program or concept that impacts student personnel work in the Southeast
  • Significant research and/or publication
  • Outstanding leadership in professional organizations and/or endeavors
  • Any unique and outstanding contribution to student personnel work that calls for acceptance and acknowledgment throughout the profession

Neufeldt was recognized for her leadership in establishing model programs (such as the Social Mobility Symposium and Success Coaching), developing professional staff (Middle Management Institute) and influencing the direction of the profession (Social Mobility initiative). She also has been a major contributor to both SACSA and the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators.

"While all of her accomplishments qualify her for this award," the authors of Neufeldt's nominating letter wrote, "she stands out for her passion for students and their success and making sure the student success profession is ever evolving to stay relevant in higher education and meet the demands of the students we serve. She has a drive to create best practices that ensure all students can be successful."

The Leach award recognizes a student affairs professional or graduate student who has contributed significantly to the development of multicultural relations on a college or university campus. The recipient must:

  • Be currently active in SACSA (one-year minimum membership)
  • Have been significantly involved for at least two years in efforts that have contributed to improvement of multicultural relations on his/her campus

Young started Old Dominion's Brother 2 Brother chapter in 2016. The organization mentors and provides support to minority males, with an aim toward increasing the number of young African-American and Hispanic men graduating from college by creating a positive peer community. He also won the 2017 Minority Access National Role Model Award.

"When I think about the African-American student population, Latino and some of the other historically disadvantaged groups, it's diversity that attracts them to ODU," Young said. "They see that this is a place where students can thrive."

Additionally, ODU's Preston Reilly won the Outstanding Graduate Student Award. Candidates for this honor must be enrolled as full-time students pursuing master's or doctoral work in a student affairs-related degree program with the intent of pursuing a career in the field; have an active involvement and leadership roles in campus activities and organizations; and hold a paraprofessional or intern-related position within a student affairs division.

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