Lifelong Learner Award

Congratulations to the 2020-2021 Lifelong Learner award recipient, Ben Cecil!


Ben's nominator had the following to say:

"...Ben Cecil is the ideal candidate for the Student Affairs Lifelong Learner Award. He does outstanding work as the Assistant Director in International Student Life and always has the best interests of our students at the forefront of his thoughts. Ben played an instrumental role in our efforts to support students during the pandemic and actively responded to their needs and concerns. He appropriately advocates for students and effectively utilizes campus partners and resources to maximize assistance to our students-both in good and in difficult times. His work in this area has been instrumental to ISL’s role as the cornerstone of the international student experience here at UGA.

Ben is also a team player in every sense of the word which has been much more evident in his work over the past year. He is currently serving on several collaborative teams charged with implementing various aspects of the SA 2025 strategic plan and has been actively contributing and engaged in these planning efforts. As a result of this work, Ben volunteered to take on additional duties regarding data management and analysis on a divisional level due to staffing changes and reorganization.

Ben has served remarkably in support of the division of Student Affairs data initiatives, specifically in his leadership of the data request process. From the moment Ben was asked if he would be willing to take on the task in addition to his current role, he has diligently, energetically, and expertly performed with aplomb. He is swift in response and timely in fulfillment, maintains excellent communication with me and the requestor, and takes initiative in bringing considerations or new approaches to my attention. Not only does he fulfill his charge well, but he does so with excellent communication and service, providing grace and guidance when appropriate, but always striving to achieve the goals of the requestor, if possible.

Additionally, his service to the Data Collaborative has been exceptional, as well, assisting with content, coordination, and setting the example for engaging in discussion and moving the conversation forward. It is refreshing and inspiring to experience Ben’s effort, discipline, and get-it-done approach, particularly during this most exhausting year.

In addition, Ben volunteered to teach the ECHD 5840 internship class which is one of the requirements for the Leadership in Student Affairs undergraduate minor. Ben has a passion for teaching and has actively engaged in these efforts within ISL. However, it was incredibly helpful and greatly appreciated when Ben volunteered to teach this course during the spring semester when the instructor of record left the University. He is doing an outstanding job with this class and works diligently to provide sound curriculum and strong learning experiences for the students enrolled in this course. 

While Ben has positively contributed to Student Affairs here at UGA, he is also actively involved in international education on a regional and national level. Ben is viewed as an expert in transitional programming and engagement for international students and is often called up to conduct presentations and workshops for professional associations. He has been responsible for an international symposium at NASPA for several years and is involved on the state level as well. Ben positively represents Student Affairs in this work and is a valuable member of our campus community.

Lastly, Ben further embodies the Student Affairs Lifelong Learner Award because he continues to seek out ways to improve his professional skillsets and his knowledge of higher education. This has been most evident in his diligent efforts to progress through the Institute of Higher Education’s doctoral program. In our opinion, Ben truly depicts and models how a lifelong learner should approach his/her work and we couldn’t be prouder to put forth this nomination in celebration of all that he has accomplished.”


Recipient: Individual

Work with someone who is always trying to learn something new? Are you someone that loves to tie in learning with your work?

This award recognizes an individual in the Division who has made an effort to invest in the growth of themselves and others through volunteer role(s) on campus, service to a regional or national organization, conference presentations, research or publication. This individual has positively represented UGA Student Affairs at a local, regional, or national level through their engagement in, and promotion of, lifelong learning and development.

Nominations will be evaluated according to one or more of the following criteria:

  • Modeling an example of excellence for staff and students by serving in volunteer positions within a professional local, regional, or inter/national committee or board
  • Contributing to their field through leadership and/or volunteer role(s), conference presentations, or digital/print publications
  • Encouraging staff to represent UGA Student Affairs at the regional or national level
  • Nominee serves as a UGA Student Affairs staff member at time of nomination

Previous Award Winners

Nominate someone to be recognized for their hard work!

Staff Awards

The Student Affairs Staff Awards, given to deserving staff across the division and the University, recognize outstanding accomplishments and leadership in student affairs at the University of Georgia.

Contact Us

408 Memorial Hall
University of Georgia
Athens, GA 30602

James Crawford
Student Affairs Staff Development Lead

Matthew Waller
Chief of Staff