Lieberman named President of Year

Emily Lau
Metro Editor

University of La Verne President Devorah Lieberman was named President of the Year by the Association of College Unions International for her efforts and dedication to build and maintain positive campus community, the association announced last month.

“The most important thing for me is that this recognition is really not about me at all – it was about the University of La Verne,” Lieberman said. “It gave me a wonderful opportunity to talk about the University.”

A group of faculty and administrators who wrote letters of recommendation to nominate her included Richard Simpson, professor of strategic management, Peggy Redman, emeritus professor of education, Veronica Ashcroft, associate director of the Campus Center; Jim Brooks, associate director of the Campus Center; Clive Houston-Brown, vice president of facilities and technology; Loretta Rahmani, dean of student affairs, and Chip West, assistant vice president of capital planning, facilities and space management.

Lieberman was recognized for her leadership, engagement with students, strong utilization of the Campus Center for community activities, accessibility to students and more.

“I have been involved in ACUI for more than 20 years,” West said.

“When the award was created by ACUI four years ago – based on the amazing work that the president has done for the University – I immediately thought that she was deserving of the award.”

Lieberman was praised for her Pajama Jams, where she meets and discusses with students, and The La Verne Experience, the program beginning with the freshman FLEX classes, designed to make students feel connected to the University, faculty and peers.

Lieberman attended ACUI’s annual national conference April 9 in San Antonio, Texas, where she accepted her award.

She is the fourth recipient of the award, with previous winners from the University of Massachusetts­–Lowell, the University of Houston and Lake Forest College.

“I was so honored,” Lieberman said.

“It was one of those things where you are doing what you do on a daily basis and you get a recognition out of the blue. It was just unexpected and really lovely.”

Lieberman did not have prior knowledge about being nominated and received a phone call from the ACUI committee, she said.

ACUI is a nonprofit educational organization that aims to connect college union and student activities professionals whose mission is to develop a campus community.

Any student, faculty or professional who is a member of ACUI can nominate his or her university president for the President of the Year award.

“President Lieberman has made an incredible impact on our university as well as our students,” Ashcroft said.

“She represents the definition of the President of the Year award by putting students first and reaching out in innovating ways to build campus community.”

The ACUI common awards committee reads and ranks the nominations before selecting one president who demonstrates strong community involvement as the award recipient.

According to ACUI, nominees are judged using a certain criteria including their involvement with student activities and promotion and support of college union.

“(The award) really reflects the ethos of this University, where everybody cares about everybody else,” Lieberman said.

“This recognition represented that to me.”

Emily Lau can be reached at and on Twitter at @qwoperating.

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