In Honor of Marita Houlihan

Marita Houlihan, former State Department official, pioneered in the establishment and administration of the Fulbright international student exchange program in the 1940s and ‘50s. She was also instrumental in the development of the U.S. government program for improving the cultural and academic experiences of privately sponsored students through grants to universities and institutions which share this goal, including NAFSA, although she was not a member.

The NAFSA International Education Award for Distinguished Contributions to the Field in Honor of Marita Houlihan recognizes an individual who has displayed imaginative activity, outstanding personal enterprise, and creative contributions to the field of international education through program development, writing, or research. The Awardee does not have to be a practitioner but his/her work must be recognized for its impact on professional colleagues. Awardees will receive a framed recognition plaque.

The nomination period for the 2020 NAFSA Award for Distinguished Contributions to the Field in honor of Marita Houlihan is October 1, 2019 to February 1, 2020.

Michael Paige, PhD

Michael Paige
University of Minnesota
In 2019, NAFSA was pleased to posthumously recognize R. Michael Paige with this award. Paige died on November 9, 2018. Until his retirement in 2012, Paige was professor of international and intercultural education at the University of Minnesota. His intercultural education career began in 1968 when...

Joan Solaun

Joan Solaun
Academic Programs International
Joan Solaún was the Director of Programs in Latin America and the Caribbean for Academic Programs International in Austin, Texas. She served as Director of Study Abroad at the University of Illinois in Urbana Champaign for twenty-three years. Upon retirement from Illinois, Joan developed and...

Nominate a Colleague

The nomination period for the 2020 NAFSA Award for Distinguished Contributions to the Field in honor of Marita Houlihan is October 1, 2019 to February 1, 2020.

All Past Recipients
  • Joan Solaún, Academic Programs International (2018)
  • Gayle Woodruff, University of Minnesota (2014)
  • Philip G. Altbach, Boston College (2013)
  • Ellen Badger, Binghamton University (2012)
  • Joan Rosalie Dassin, Ford Foundation International Fellowships Fund (2011)
  • Rosemarie Arens, U.S. State Department in Lima, Peru (2010)
  • Bruce Sillner, SUNY-New Paltz (2009)
  • Ellen Mashiko, Japan-United States Education Commission (2008)
  • Marty Etchison Babcock, University of North Carolina (2007)
  • Rebecca Zeigler Mano, US Embassy – Harare, Zimbabwe (2006)
  • Teresea D. O'Donnell, Commission on English Language Program Accreditation (2005)
  • Jody Olsen, Peace Corps (2004)
  • Kay Thomas, University of Minnesota-Minneapolis (2003)
  • Hans de Wit, University of Amsterdam (2002)
  • Linda Heaney, (2002)
  • Ivy McQuiddy, University of Texas-Austin (2001)
  • Todd M. Davis, Institute of International Education (2000)
  • Ann Helm, City University of New York-Staten Island (1997)
  • Stephen Dunnett, SUNY at Buffalo (1996)
  • Janet M. and Milton J. Bennett, Intercultural Communication Institute (1995)
  • Josef Mestenhauser, University of Minnesota (1994)
  • Caroline Atsuko Matano Yang, U.S.-Japan Educational Commission (1993)
  • Kevin Scheiffer, Experiment in International Living (1992)
  • Axel Market, University of Tuebingen (1991)
  • Ralph Smuckler, Michigan State University (1990)
  • Alice Chandler, State University of New York (SUNY)-New Paltz (1989)
  • Cassandra Pyle, CIES (1988)
  • Eugene Smith, University of Colorado-Boulder (1986)
  • Edward S. Blankenship, California State University-Long Beach (1986)
  • Rene Greenwald, IIE-Mexico (1985)
  • Gary Althen, University of Iowa (1983)
  • Mary E. Peterson, NAFSA (1982)
  • Norman Peterson, Georgetown University (1982)
  • Linda Heaney, Linden Educational Services
  • Terry O'Donnell, Commission on English Language Program
Criteria for Selecting Nominees

To be considered for the Award for Distinguished Contributions to the Field in Honor of Marita Houlihan, a nominee need not be directly involved with the everyday concerns of the NAFSA membership and need not be a NAFSA member.

Nominees must have documented accomplishments in contributions to the field of international education and exchange through program development, writing, or research that has clearly influenced the work of the profession and that displays imaginative activity, outstanding personal enterprise, and creativity.

Selection Information

Nomination Procedures

The primary nominator must be a NAFSA member. Nominations should describe at least one of the nominee’s noteworthy original activities that has had a broad impact on the field of international education and exchange. Nominations must be supported by a minimum of two additional nominations, each addressing a different perspective on the nominee’s accomplishments. These additional nominations do not have to be from NAFSA members but must be from individuals at different institutions or organizations. Individuals may not self-nominate. The nomination process is confidential.

As recommended by the NAFSA Board of Directors, no more than one name shall be put forth each year for the Award for Distinguished Contributions to the Field in Honor of Marita Houlihan.

Please note that nominations that do not comply with the award criteria or nomination procedures will not be considered.