The Student Leadership Awards & Banquet is an annual event hosted to recognize and honor Dalton State’s most distinguished student leaders, student groups, faculty and staff who contribute to the quality of student life on Dalton State’s campus.


Individual Awards


The Advisor Hall of Fame award is named in honor of Tom Deaton’s support for extracurricular activities on campus and longevity in his role as the Quiz Bowl advisor – an extremely successful student organization for many years. This award will be presented to a faculty or staff advisor of an official student group (RSO’s, Club Sports, any other official student group) to recognize the longevity, continuous contributions, and support provided to a student group. Recipients must have served in an advisory role for at least three years and can only receive this award once.


The Advisor of the Year award will recognize the outstanding service and leadership of a faculty or staff advisor of an official student group (RSO’s, Club Sports, any other official student group) who has made a significant contribution to both the student members and organization as a whole. The nominee should demonstrate strong advising skills, be readily available to students, and take great strides to help the organization’s leadership development. Past recipients are eligible for this award again three years after recognition.


This award is named in honor of the first elected Student Body President of Dalton State College, Spence Higgins. The Spence Higgins Hall of Leaders Award is given to a select group of graduating seniors earning a baccalaureate degree who have demonstrated excellence in campus involvement and who, through this service, have exemplified a commitment to the positive enhancement of Dalton State College. Students must have a 3.0 or higher GPA.


The Outstanding Student Leaders award is given to student leaders with two or more years of leadership experience who have shown dedication to involvement in campus life and who have exemplified a commitment to enhancing Dalton State College. Students must have a 2.75 or higher GPA. Students may only receive this award once.


The Emerging Leaders Award is given to students with two or less years of leadership experience who have shown dedication to involvement in campus life and who have demonstrated initiative, motivation, and potential for student leadership at Dalton State College. Students must have a 2.5 or higher GPA. Students may only receive this award once.


This award is named in honor of Melvin Truett Lomax who was instrumental in the founding of Dalton State College and spearheaded a public relations campaign to raise awareness of a college’s value to Dalton. His innovation, determination, and ability to pull together a community-led to the donation of four adjoining parcels of land making way for Dalton State College as we know it today. Melvin Truett Lomax is the unsung hero of Dalton State College.

The Unsung Hero Award is presented to one Dalton State faculty or staff member and one student who puts his or her heart and soul into everything he or she does, but often goes unrecognized. These individuals work “behind the scenes” demonstrating determination and hard work going above and beyond as a member of the Dalton State Community. Nominees must be faculty/staff members at Dalton State College.


This award is named in honor of the longtime Dalton State College basketball coach Melvyn Ottinger who built the foundation and framework for the birth of Roadrunner Nation. His hard work and dedication to Dalton State set the standard for Roadrunner pride, camaraderie, and community. This award will be presented to one student who embodies and exemplifies the true qualities of a Roadrunner – confidence, success, fearlessness, and boldness. Students must have a 2.5 or higher GPA. Students may only receive this award once.

Group & Programmatic Awards


This award is granted annually to a person or group at Dalton State who actively serves as an advocate for the interests of underrepresented student populations through advocacy, diversity programming, or other diversity and intercultural engagement efforts.


This award is presented in honor of Jason Ramos and his contributions towards establishing the Birdfeeder Food Pantry to ensure that no student went hungry.  The recipient(s) should be a person or group within the Dalton State community who has completed a project exemplifying the courage and vision to actively advocate for positive change on campus and/or in the world. The project completed should leave a lasting impact and successfully empowers others to act.


This award is presented to a new or ongoing event, project, or program at Dalton State College exemplifying innovation and creativity while benefiting the Dalton State community and contributing to the on-campus experience. The program should have originated, been planned, or been implemented by a student or group of students. An event, project, or program may only be recognized once for this award.


This award is presented to an outstanding registered student organization that has made significant contributions to the Dalton State Community. The organization has set goals and furthers its mission through its work demonstrating the initiative to further advance the collegiate experience of Dalton State students beyond the classroom. The recipient of this award has gone above and beyond through programming, service, and leadership.  The recognized organization has raised the bar for other student groups and strives for excellence in all of its endeavors. Nominated organizations must be active registered student organizations.

Past Award Recipients

Tom Deaton Advisor Hall of Fame

2018-2019: Amber Lesicko, Student Government Association
2019-2020: Dr. Barbara Tucker, Baptist Collegiate Ministry
Dr. David Williams, Alpha Sigma Tau
2021-2022:  Dr. Tricia Scott, Chemist Honors Society

This award was named in honor of Tom Deaton for the spring 2018 ceremony. 

Advisor of the Year Award

2010-2011: Dr. John Lugthart, Environmental Club
2011-2012: Dr. Thomas Gonzalez, Club Cycling
2012-2013: Dr. Marina Smitherman, Beta Chi Nu
2013-2014: Dr. Sarah Mergel, History Club
2014-2015: Dr. Jonathan Gulledge, Psi Chi
2015-2016: Elizabeth Lucht, Beta Chi Nu
2016-2017: Michael Hoff, Alpha Omicron Pi
2017-2018: Katelyn Humphrey, Orientation
2018-2019: Dr. David Williams, Alpha Sigma Tau
2019-2020: Dr. Jennifer Randall, Sigma Tau Delta
2020-2021: Dr. Tricia Scott, Chemist Society
2021-2022: Courtnee Bunch
William Mast, Alpha Kappa Lambda

Spence Higgins Hall of Leaders

2010-2011: Monica Elrod, Jonathan Marks
2011-2012: Heather Bennett, Diego Deharo, Joseph Patton, Kelly Hunt, Eloa Menezes, Marisol Sanchez
2012-2013: Amber Stanyer
2013-2014: Faith Stokes, Hilary Wallin
2014-2015: Russell Smith, Kayla Almazan
2015-2016: Cristina Pena, Katherine Fromm, Brooklyn Herrera, Jose Gonzales
2016-2017: Laurely Caycho, Latifah Collins, Annalia Ramos
2017-2018: Autumn Hooton, Guadalupe Lopez, Juan Zapata
2018-2019: Kristina Momich, Carolina Gomez, Bukky Subulade, Morgan Reid Jones
2019-2020: Laura Alton, Cody Oglesby, Sean Cranney, Neeley Keeton, Diego Alvarado
2020-2021: Grace Neff, Emily Statham, Mariela Vazquez, Logan Hugins, Cynthia Evans
2021-2022: Evanna Bonese, Kennedy Morgan, Emiy Lay, Ashley Fann, Terry Brown

Outstanding Student Leaders

2014-2015: Jose Gonzales, Brooklyn Cole Herrera, Will Skiffen, Katherine Fromm, Laurely Caycho, Shawna Ellis
2015-2016: Viviana Roqueta, Roniqua Wright, Chigozie Obonna, H. Ellie Bradford, Dustin Arnold, Felicia Shorey
2016-2017: Marlen Hernandez-Garcia, Autumn Hooton, Jonathan Leberman 2017-2018: Janeli Bacerra, Blane Bennett, Clint Dodd, Laurabeth Pettigrew, Carrie Swinney
2018-2019: Alvaro Cortez, Mariela Vazquez, Cristian Peinado, Rebecca Winkler
2019-2020: Grace Neff, Jennifer Granados, Morgan Johnson, Stephanie Langga, Logan Huggins
2020-2021: Mackenzie Manley, Zachary Hulsey, Anna Bramblett, Emily Lay
2021-2022: Carson Cox, Emily Neises, Carolina Oyla-Rodriguez, Rayna Wilson, Yaphet Salgado

This award was formerly known as the Shooting Star Award from 2014-2016.

Emerging Leaders Award

2010-2011: Eldon Baines, Russell Smith, Austin Wallin, Ethan Zehr
2011-2012: Brooklyn Cole, Katherine Fromm
2012-2013: Malaka Awad, Kaylee Johnson
2013-2014: Vicki Crane, Harrison Pace, Austin Wade
2014-2015: Jonathan Schwan, Krystal Tee Au Yuik, Caleb Earle, Stephanie Skiffen
2015-2016: Sonia Mendoza Pablo, Jordan Fuquea
2016-2017: Emma Brown, A’Keila Raines, Diego Alvarado Ruiz, Emily Test 2017-2018: Rachel Morones, Cristian Peinado, Maryruth Trusty, Mariela Vazquez
2018-2019: Logan Huggins, Sabrina Benoit, Caroline Kenemer
2019-2020: Anna Bramblett, Danae Cossairt, Isabel Mendez
2020-2021: Mary Saylors, Kaycee Painter, Kristina Almazan
2021-2022: Allison Keyes, Clayton Waters, Makayla White, Rachel Thurman

This award was formerly known as the Rising Star Award from 2010-2016.

President’s Volunteer Service Award

2018-2019: Mariela Vazquez (B), Alvaro Cortez (B), Logan Huggins (B), Bill Rogers (B)
2020-2021: Kaycee Painter (G), Logan Huggins (B)

B= Bronze, S = Silver, G = Gold

Volunteer of the Year

2019-2020: Logan Huggins
2020-2021: Kaycee Painter
2021-2022: Davey Sentell

Truett Lomax Unsung Hero Award – Faculty/Staff

2010-2011: Dr. James Adams, Professor of Biology
2011-2012: Janet Hayes, Enrollment Services
2012-2013: Amanda Smith
2013-2014: Dr. John Lugthart
2014-2015: Dr. Jacquelyn Mesco
2015-2016: Dylan Haley
2016-2017: David Elrod
2017-2018: Dr. Robert Overstreet
2018-2019: Dr. Kim Hayes
2019-2020: Carmen Flammini
2020-2021: Dr. Natalie Johnson
2021-2022: Amanda Smith

This award was named in honor of Truett Lomax for the spring 2017 ceremony. 

Truett Lomax Unsung Hero Award – Student

2010-2011: Justin Goforth
2011-2012: Zachary Plumley
2012-2013: Katelyn Humphrey
2013-2014: Nate Baggett
2014-2015: Drew Serrette
2015-2016: Meagan Sage
2016-2017: Mary Kaytlin Pepper
2017-2018: Zack Brandenburg
2018-2019: Chelsea Young
2019-2020: Marcos Rojo
2020-2021: Morgan Robinson
2021-2022: Mackenzie Mitchell

This award was named in honor of Truett Lomax for the spring 2017 ceremony. 

Melvyn Ottinger Roadrunner Pride Award

2019-2020: Marilea Vazquez
2020-2021: Igor Stokic
2021-2022: Jen Granados

This award was named in honor of Melvyn Ottinger for the spring 2017 ceremony. 

Diversity and Inclusion Award

2014-2015: Montana Gray
2015-2016: Laurely Caycho
2016-2017: Annalia Ramos
2017-2018: Alpha Omicron Pi
2018-2019: Campus Activity Board’s Drag Show
2019-2020: Latin American Student Organization
2020-2021: Immigration Attorney Event (LASO)
2021-2022: JEDI Leaders

Jason Ramos Servant Leadership Award

2010-2011: Students Advocating for Volunteer Efforts
2011-2012: No Award
2012-2013: Dalton State International: Cultural Fair
2013-2014: Dalton State Athletics, Special Olympics
2014-2015: Dalton State Athletics, Habitat for Humanity
2015-2016: DSC Environmental Club, Chestnut Restoration Project
2016-2017: School of Social Work, Make a Difference Day
2017-2018: The Birdfeeder Food Pantry
2018-2019: Cody Oglesby for Constitution Week Programming
2019-2020: Counseling Centers LGBTQ+ Meet Up Program
2020-2021: Navigating the Online Environment Series (Peer Education)
2021-2022: Fitness Coaches: FAFSA Night

This award was formerly known as the Outstanding Community Service Project Award from 2010-2016. This award was named in honor of  Jason Ramos for the spring 2017 ceremony. 

Program of Distinction Award

2010-2011: Campus Activities Board
2011-2012: Halloween Bash Flag Football Tournament-Campus Recreation
2017-2018: 2018 Mental Health Fair, sponsored by Psi Chi
2018-2019: Department of Social Works Make a Difference Day Collection of Events
2019-2020: Putting the Puzzle Pieces Together Study Skills Workshop Series
2020-2021: Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement Efforts (SAVE)
2021-2022: Alpha Kappa Lambda

This award was formerly known as the Outstanding Campus Event from 2010-2017. 

Organization of the Year Award

2010-2011: Baptist Collegiate Ministries
2011-2012: Dalton State International
2012-2013: Beta Chi Nu
2013-2014: Dalton State International
2014-2015: The DSC Social Work Club
2015-2016: Beta Chi Nu
2016-2017: Alpha Omicron Pi, Lambda Delta
2017-2018: Psychology Club
2018-2019: Beta Chi Nu
2019-2020: Latin American Student Organization
2020-2021: Peer Education Leadership Team
2021-2022: Alpha Sigma Tau

Outstanding New Initiative

2012-2013: Beta Chi Nu: Reach Out and Research
2013-2014: Campus Activities Board: Roasted
2014-2015: Campus Activities Board: Roadrunner Music Festival
2015-2016: Beta Chi Nu: ColorCycle
2016-2017: Beta Chi Nu, Terracycle

This award was discontinued following the 2017 awards ceremony.

Student Employee of the Year

2010-2011: Michelle Amaya
2011-2012: Ethan Williams
2012-2013: Darshan Patel
2013-2014: Lexi Wilson
2014-2015: Erik Simpson
2015-2016: Catherine Hickey
2016-2017: Marlen Hernandez-Garcia

This award was discontinued following the 2017 awards ceremony.

Timeline and Nominations

Leadership Award Nominations may be submitted by any current Dalton State student, faculty, or staff member. The timeline for submission and review is outlined below:

Nominations Open: Tuesday, February 14, 2023
Virtual Nomination Interest Session:  Thursday, February 23, 2023 (@3:00 pm Click Here to Join).
Nominations Close: Sunday, March 12, 2023, at 11:59 pm 
Nomination Review Begins: Tuesday, March 14, 2023
Nomination Review Ends: Friday, March 24, 2023
Formal Invitations E-Mailed:  Friday, March 17, 2023
Leadership Awards Ceremony and Banquet: Thursday, April 20, 2023

Please be sure to review the requirements of each award before submitting your nomination.
Click here to view a sample nomination form. 

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