John A. "Jack" Blackburn Award

The John A. "Jack" Blackburn Award for Ethics in College Admission was established by the Potomac and Chesapeake Association for College Admission Counseling (PCACAC) in 2010 to honor the late Jack Blackburn, long-time Dean of Admission at the University of Virginia. Throughout his career, Jack served as an admirable role model promoting the highest ethical standards, integrity in our profession and equity in access to higher education. This award recognizes a member of our profession who exemplifies the qualities that made Jack Blackburn revered by his peers.

Nominations are Open

The PCACAC Past Presidents Committee is currently receiving nominations for a deserving candidate for the Blackburn Award. This award will be presented at PCACAC's 52nd Annual Conference, April 23-25, 2017 at the Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg, Virgina.  Nominations will remain open through February 6, 2017.   At that time all nominations will be reviewed by the selection committee.  The form to nominate your candidate can be accessed with this link.

Thank you.

For questions or more information, contact Mike Carter, Chair of the Past Presidents' Committee.


Selection Process:

A recipient will be selected each year (pending qualified nominations) and recognized at the PCACAC Annual Spring Conference.  Criteria used for selection are:
          • Commitment to the high ethical standards of college admission through sustained active involvement in  the profession;
          • Dedication to promoting equal access to higher education for all students.

Membership in PCACAC is not a criterion for selection but consideration will be given to professionals in the PCACAC region.

The recipient will be honored with an engraved plaque and, for one year, will keep the Blackburn Award, a perpetual plaque engraved and embossed with the PCACAC logo listing the names of all recipients.

The selection committee shall be comprised of the members of the PCACAC Past Presidents Committee who will make recommendation(s) to the Nominating Committee.

Photo of Jack Blackburn by Dan Addison


2016 Recipient - Presented at the 51st Annual Conference in Ocean City, Maryland

Dave Kraus, Director of Admission, Davidson College

Susan Rexford, colleague and a PCACAC Past-President, shares with an audience of over 350 college admission professionals at the 51st Annual PCACAC Conference, "I can’t think of any higher praise that what was given in the nomination for this year’s Blackburn Award recipient – 'this is the person I want to be when I grow up!' Our recipient, [Dave] would just as quickly say that he wants to grow up to be like Jack Blackburn, one of his own role models and friend." 

Susan’s award presentation speech continues with this text:

The nomination goes on to state, and I quote, “He was an invaluable resource to me when I began my work as a high school college counselor, offering advice and guidance always in strict accordance with his high principles, principles which I emulate and have tried to sustain in my own professional relationships. So much of what I believe as a college counselor has been shaped and influenced by his code of professionalism.”

It is no stretch to say that many of us in this room tonight have been equally touched and have grown by our association with this year’s recipient. His calm, unassuming demeanor makes him someone who is easily approachable for advice because we have already been absorbed into his wide, warm circle of friends. He has an unwavering belief in the values of our profession. We know that because of his strong sense of ethics and moral purpose, he will always respond with the goal of making a positive difference in the lives of all he serves. What is right for students and their families will always be at the forefront for him.

Our recipient is often the first persons we turn to when organizing an event for we know, as was stated in his nomination, “In every setting, he demonstrates a remarkable balance of commitment to sound practice, collegiality, respect, diplomacy, and firm resolve.”

I am so honored to present this year’s John A. Blackburn Award to someone I have been proud to call friend for a long time, Dave Kraus from Davidson College.

Susan Rexford, April 2016
Susan is the Director of College Guidance at the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School


Previous Award Winners

2015:  Mildred Johnson, Associate Vice Provost for Enrollment Management & Director of Undergraduate Admissions, Virginia Tech (VA)

2014:  James W. Jump, Academic Dean and Director of Guidance, St. Christopher's School (VA)

2013: Valerie H. Gregory, Associate Dean of Admissions and Outreach, University of Virginia (VA)

2012: Lou Hirsh, Retired Director of Admissions, University of Delaware (DE)

2011: Shirley Bloomquist, Independent Counselor (VA)