In honor of Homer Higbee and Marita Houlihan
This award recognizes a current NAFSA member who has shown leadership in associational activities or sustained stewardship of the field. The award honors imagination, personal enterprise, or creative contributions to professional development through leadership, mentorship, program development, training, writing, or research. NAFSA welcomes nominations from the United States and from the international education community worldwide.
The Award for Distinguished Service to NAFSA honors Marita Houlihan and Homer Higbee, two early trailblazers in international education. Marita Houlihan pioneered in the establishment and administration of the Fulbright international student exchange program in the 1940s and 1950s. 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. Homer D. Higbee was awarded NAFSA life membership, and served as NAFSA president (1970-71), chair of the Field Service Steering Committee, and on the boards of trustees/directors of numerous professional organizations. His landmark study of foreign student advising on American campuses in 1961 provided the first comprehensive profile of NAFSAns as a professional class.
In 2020, the former Award for Distinguished Contributions to the Field in Honor of Marita Houlihan and the Award Distinguished Service to NAFSA In Honor of Homer Higbee were merged to create the NAFSA International Education Award for Distinguished Service to NAFSA in honor of Homer Higbee and Marita Houlihan. As recommended by the NAFSA Board of Directors, one Award for Distinguished Service to NAFSA can be given each year.