Join | Sign-In | Sign-Out | Print Page | Contact Us
2020 Award Recipients

ACCED-I Honors Industry Excellence

The Association of Collegiate Conference and Events Directors-International (ACCED-I) is pleased to announce the 2020 awards recipients. The following individuals and institutions were recognized at the Virtual Awards & Recognition Celebration held on July 22, 2020. Congratulations to the nominees and recipients for their achievements. 


2020 Award Recipients

Outstanding Individual Achievement Award

The Outstanding Individual Achievement Award was given to Nikki Lee, Senior Associate Director, University of Texas-San Antonio. This award recognizes a significant achievement by an individual this past year in the collegiate conference and events profession at the institutional level. 


Please describe the achievement of the nominee

I am nominating Mrs. Nikki Lee for the Outstanding Individual Achievement Award on behalf of the UTSA Student Union.  Nikki makes on-going contributions to both our institution and many regional and national organizations.  Specifically, we would like to highlight Nikki's work to lead the initiative on the UTSA campus to centralize the on-campus event reservation process over the past year.  The major events policy was developed to promote the efficient and orderly use of campus property at UTSA.  Nikki had the vision to improve customer service for clients hosting events on campus through the creation of a centralized reservation form.  This form combined over a dozen forms into on streamlined process.  Implementing this initiative took incredible innovation and collaboration to lead a team of professional staff from across the university to work together towards a common goal. Read full nomination

Outstanding New Conference and Events Professional Award

The Outstanding New Conference and events Professional Award was given to Matthew D'Oyly, Director of Events and Conferences at Otterbein University. This award recognizes outstanding work by a new professional to the collegiate conference and events field.

Please describe the achievement of the nominee

Otterbein’s Office of Events and Conferences was created on July 1, 2019, with Matthew D’Oyly as director. His charge is to create a one-stop-shop and break down silos that have been in place for years. He moved to this position after working in various roles in Student Affairs as an Assistant Director of Residential Life and Wellness to the past 6 years working with the Division of Institutional Advancement as the Director of Annual Giving and Constituent Communication. In these roles, he has always brought a sense of creativity and change leadership. Read full nomination

Inclusive Excellence Award

The Inclusive Excellence Award was given to The University of Miami, Office of Conference Services. This award recognizes and celebrates a significant achievement by an institution in the conference and events field for exemplary efforts in diversity, equity, and inclusion and represents an outstanding milestone in the institution’s conference and events program. 

Please describe the contributions to the advancement of diversity, equity, and  inclusion (DE&I)

The University of Miami, Office of Conference Services introduced a new sensory-inclusive training for all of their staff this season. In partnership with KultureCity,  all of the programs and events hosted at the university are now sensory inclusive. This new initiative will promote an accommodating and positive experience for all guests and fans with a sensory issue that visit the University for a camp, conference, or event. KultureCity is a leading non-profit recognized nationwide for using their resources to revolutionize and effect change in the community for those with sensory needs; not just those with Autism. Since the program’s inception, KultureCity has created over 350 sensory inclusive venues in 4 countries; this includes special events such as: NFL Pro-Bowl, NFL Super Bowl, MLB All Star Weekend. KultureCity has won many awards for its efforts: NASCAR Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award in 2017, Cleveland Cavaliers’ Quiet Space Sensory Room at Quicken Loans Arena was a finalist for the 2018 Stadium Business Award, and the 2018 Clio Sports Silver for social good in partnership with Cleveland Cavaliers/Quicken Loans Arena. Recently, KultureCity was awarded one of the World’s Most Innovative Companies for 2019 by FastCompany. Read full nomination

Jack Thornton Distinguished Service Award

The Jack Thornton Distinguished Service Award recognizes an individual for distinguished service, devotion, and dedication to the collegiate conferencing profession and to ACCED-I. Jim Hodges, Director Conference and Event Services at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina was recognized for his outstanding service and dedication to ACCED-I.
Nomination 1:

Please describe the service, achievement and/or outstanding contributions of the nominee

Jim Hodges has been a long standing member of ACCED-I; however, Jim has never been “just a member”. Over the course of the past ten years, he has been a presence and an influencer in so very many ways. Jim serves as a leader and a role model for our association – he served on the Board of Directors for 7 years, including service as Treasurer, President-Elect, President, and Immediate Past President. During the course of his time on the board, he also served as the Annual Conference chair for two years and did an exceptional job. Additionally, he chaired the annual conference Act of Caring in 2011. I have seen first-hand how Jim’s service to our association has impacted the home office, the board, and our membership. He is passionate about our association, our members, and our mission. During his tenure as President, he worked to review and update the by-laws of the association – a task that was time consuming and necessary – and Jim ensured that it was accomplished during his term. Dan Dykstra, former Board of Directors member and past President of the Board, shared the following about Jim: “As a close friend to hundreds of ACCED-I members, Jim still always finds time for just me. He provides unmatched wisdom, counsel, encouragement and a genuine and selfless commitment to my success. The same describes exactly the constant and unconditional sacrifice and service he has displayed throughout his years to ACCED-I and to the collegiate conference and events industry. Jim’s dedicated service to ACCED-I is that of a best friend. It is how I imagine Jack was as well.” Read full nomination here

Patrick Perfetto Volunteer of the Year Award

The Patrick Perfetto Volunteer of the Year Award was presented to Leo C. Young, III, Conference & Meeting Services Manager at California State University - Fullerton in Fullerton, California. The Patrick Perfetto Volunteer of the Year Award recognizes an ACCED-I member who contributes their time and talents to the Association at any level and/or to ACCED-I headquarters to significantly add value to the Association, its programs and services. The emphasis is on service rather than achievement.

Nomination 1:
Please describe the volunteer service of the nominee

Leo has been an active, visible, vibrant member of two important ACCED-I initiatives -- he is the current Regional Director for Region 1 (have also served as Regional Director Elect) and is also the chair of the Student Development Action Team (which he has served as both chair and vice chair for the past three years).  Each position, in its own right, is time consuming - but Leo has managed to fill both not only successfully, but has exceeded expectations in those areas. Read full nomination

Outstanding Mentor Award

The Outstanding Mentor Award was given to Dottie Warner, Director of Conferences & Special Events at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. This award recognizes a member who has given their time and expertise to help other members as one of the following:  a CCEP mentor; a resource in a specific area (i.e., strategic plans, marketing, budgeting, etc.); someone who takes the initiative and extends him or herself to welcome new or potential members to the Association; or someone who promotes involvement in the Association in their region and/or beyond.  


If you were to look up the word mentor in the various dictionaries that abound in today’s world, you would find the constant definition: “a wise and trusted counselor or teacher,” “a wise adviser of Odysseus who was entrusted with the education of Telemachu”. While Dottie Warner did not know Odysseus, (I don’t think) her name could define the word mentor in any dictionary. A person’s mentor is someone who gives those help and advice over a period of time – perhaps especially, they give help and advice related to their job. Read full nomination


Outstanding Institutional Achievement: Single Event Award

American University in Washington, DC, received the Outstanding Institutional Achievement Award: Single Event. This award recognizes a significant achievement by an institution in the conference and events field for a single event.


Please describe the institutional achievement

AU hosted 2000 scouts in July and August of 2019.  The scouts represented, Australia, New Zealand, Netherlands, and Japan.  Univ conference & Guest Services worked with each of these countries on numerous site visits over a 2 year time period.  We not only hosted them on campus but assisted them in their visitation to the DC/Baltimore/Virginia area.  Each country resided, dined, met on campus,  toured and played on campus for 3 -9 days either before the Jamboree in West Virginia or after the Jamboree. Read full nomination


Outstanding Institutional Achievement Award: Long-term Process

CU Conference Services – University of Colorado Boulder received the Outstanding Institutional Achievement Award: Long-term Process. This award recognizes a significant achievement by an institution in the conference and events field for a more long-term development/process that represents an outstanding milestone in the institution’s conference and events management.  


Please describe the institutional achievement

CU Conference Services at the University of Colorado Boulder (CUCS) begin offering the option to purchase a carbon offset* with a conference registration in 2015 through a pilot program of 5 conference registrations. With success from the pilot, CUCS rolled out carbon offsets for all registration websites and later added it to the pay-own campus housing reservation websites. CUCS’s determination to make a difference, their dedication to sustainability education, and their outreach to clients and guests from around the world provides a unique contribution to the overall sustainability goals of the University of Colorado Boulder and toward the greater common good. Read full nomination

Session of the Year Award

Kim Araya, Director, at American University in Washington, DC, was awarded the Session of the Year Award based on her presentation at the 39th Annual Conference titled “How to Manage Guest Expectations: Campus Venue/Services vs. Five Star Hotels". This award recognizes a member, or members, for an outstanding professional presentation of a session at the ACCED-I Annual Conference.  The presentation must have occurred in the past calendar year.  



Congratulations to all the award recipients!