I would like to congratulate the recipients of NAFSA’s prestigious annual awards and those honored with life membership. The 2011 national award recipients are Joan Rosalie Dassin, Anita Gaines, James S. Frey, Patti Jones, and Martha Wailes. They will all be recognized NAFSA's 2011 Annual Conference & Expo in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The Cassandra Pyle Award will be presented during the Opening Plenary on Tuesday, May 31 from 4:15 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. and the  recipients of the Martha Houlihan Award for Distinguished Contributions to the Field of International Education, the Homer Higbee Award for Distinguished Service to NAFSA, and Life Membership will be recognized during the Wednesday plenary on June 1 from 10:45 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. as well as on the Circle of Excellence at Vancouver Convention Center.

Please join me in posting congratulations to the award recipients.

I would also like to thank the members of the awards subcommittee, Peter Briggs, Robert Locke, Sue Marlay and Barbara Olson.

Joan DassinJoan Dassin - Marita Houlihan Award

Joan Dassin, PhD, has been the executive director at the Ford Foundation International Fellowships Fund (IFF) since its founding in 2001. She is currently responsible for design, policy planning, and implementation for the Ford Foundation International Fellowships Program (IFP), a graduate-level fellowship program that has provided opportunities for advanced study to more than 4,300 emerging leaders from marginalized groups and communities in nearly two dozen countries in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America.

Dr. Dassin has served three times as a Fulbright scholar in Brazil and is a recognized expert in higher education and international exchange policy, having published extensively on the Ford Foundation International Fellowships Program and on wider issues such as brain drain, promoting access and equity in international higher education, and training new leadership for developing countries.

Anita GainesAnita Gaines - Homer Higbee Award

Anita Gaines is the director of international student and scholar services at the University of Houston. She has been in the field of international education for more than 30 years. She has mentored numerous interns for at least 22 years. Anita started her NAFSA service as the South Texas representative in 1990-91 and diligently worked her way through the ranks to the top post, region III chair. She received the Citation for Extraordinary Service in International Education, NAFSA Region III in 1997. Anita served as the chair of the council of advisers to foreign students and scholars (CAFSS), the predecessor to the Knowledge Community for International Student and Scholar Services. Anita was the chair of the Subcommittee on Ethical Practice from 2007-09. She has just completed the challenging role of the first ethics coordinator (2009-10). Anita has also been actively involved in the leadership of the Christian SIG, her region, and her institution.

James FreyJames S. Frey - Life Membership

For the past 49 and one-half years, James S. Frey has had tremendous influence in the field of international education both here in the United States and overseas. He began his career in 1961 at Marquette University in admissions and as an international credentials evaluator. He has also worked at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the U.S. Educational Commission in Japan, Indiana University-Bloomington, World Educations Services Inc., Cardinal Stritch College, and finally at Educational Credential Evaluators, Inc., which he founded in 1980 and for which he served from 1980 - 2006. In 2006, he became ECE's senior adviser. Jim has authored six books, 20 book chapters, 69 articles, and 54 newsletter columns, and has coauthored eight books.

Patti JonesPatti Jones - Life Membership

Patti Jones received her MS in College Student Personnel at Western Illinois University in May 1981 and her BS in English and Spanish in May 1970. She worked at Western Illinois University from 1979 until her retirement in April, 2008. When she retired from Western Illinois University in 2008, she was serving as the assistant director of the University Advising and Academic Support Center, a position she began in January 1996. From July 2010 to the present, she has been the director of English as a Second Language at Western Illinois University; prior to this she served as an interim academic adviser (January 2010–March 2010) for the department of English and Journalism at Western Illinois University.

Martha Wailes - Life Membership

Martha Wailes' contributions to the field of international education have been profound and have extended over more than three decades. She became an adviser in the Office of International Services at Indiana University Bloomington in October 1979 and has been a NAFSA member since July 1990; Martha was the first recipient of the Region VI George E. Hertrich Advocacy award in 1997. Her contributions to the development of various regulatory workshops are held in high regard by her peers. She has served as a long-standing member of Trainer Corps, and she has been a contributor to the NAFSA Advisor’s Manual over the years. Early on, Martha worked as a U.S. Foreign Service Officer in Mexico City, assisting visa applicants, and later in London. She has held numerous leadership positions at the regional and national level and has touched the lives of countless NAFSA members in their formative professional years or later in their careers.

John PearsonJohn Pearson is the chair of the Awards Subcommittee and a member of the Membership Committee. He is also the director of the Bechtel International Center at Stanford University.