Brenda Mitchell—Executive Director of Institutional Advancement
Prince George’s Community College—Largo, Md.
United States
Award Programs
Marvin D. "Swede" Johnson Achievement Award

The Swede Johnson award recognizes individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to the advancement, quality and effectiveness of state relations on behalf of a higher education institution or state system. Recipients have primary long-term responsibility for state relations at their institution or system and have a proven track record of accomplishment.

The award is named in honor of the late Marvin D. "Swede" Johnson, a longtime director of state government relations at the universities of Arizona and New Mexico. The recipient receives a crystal award at the annual Higher Education Government Relations Conference.

Nomination and Selection Process

Nomination deadline: The 2013 nomination deadline is July 26, 2013.


Judges consider the dedication of the nominee over a significant amount of time. Nominees must have:

  • Worked as a government relations officer at a higher education institution or system for at least 10 years; service may have been at multiple institutions,
  • Demonstrated commitment to state government relations,
  • Effectively mobilized others to help meet the institution's legislative goals—for example, created coalitions between other colleges and universities, higher education associations or other groups,
  • Used all resources of the campus to achieve legislative goals and
  • A record of demonstrated and recognized success.

Nomination instructions

Please enter through the online system. Included in the nomination package:

  • A complete entry form.
  • A curriculum vitae that provides a concise summary of the individual's education, government relations experience, relevant awards, publications and other significant contributions (information may be summarized using a biographical format but should focus on state government relations experience) and
  • A nomination letter detailing how the nominee meets the award criteria. (Self-nominations and nominations by students will not be accepted.)

Selection Process

Nominations are reviewed by an awards selection committee chaired by the vice chair of the Task Force on Higher Education Government Relations. The task force is a collaborative effort of AACC, AASCU, APLU and CASE.

The awards committee reviews all nominations and selects semi-finalists for a second round of judging. Nominators will be contacted for additional materials for semi-finalists, including supporting letters from colleagues, policymakers or other persons familiar with the qualifications of the candidate, and for a personal statement written by the nominee.

Recipients are selected in September, with the awards presented at the annual Higher Education Government Relations Conference. Winners are expected to attend and produce a five-minute biographical DVD for presentation at the conference.

Past Winners

Susan Peterson
Kansas State University

Thomas E. Daniel
University System of Georgia

Richard Hudson
University of Arkansas

Sherri Fulford
Auburn University

Jay Hershenson
City University of New York

Stuart Connock
University of Virginia

Paul Kincaid
Missouri State University

Robert Bartee
University of Nebraska

Karen Yelverton Zamarripa
California State University System

Blake Anderson
Arizona State University

Jack W. Lunsford
Maricopa Community Colleges

David Olien
University of Wisconsin System

Valerie Purnell
University of California System

Daniel C. Holsenbeck
University of Central Florida

Shirley Bird Perry
University of Texas

Edwin M. Crawford
Auburn University, the University of Virginia, The Ohio State University, and the University of California System

Richard L. Kennedy
University of Michigan

Stephen A. Arditti
University of California System

For more information, contact Heather Harmon, coordinator of legislative, foundation and recognition programs, at or +1-202-478-5622.


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