John A. "Jack" Blackburn Award


Photo of Jack Blackburn by Dan Addison

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. 

Selection Process

A recipient is 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 is 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 is comprised of members of the PCACAC Past Presidents Committee.  For questions or additional information, contact Mike Carter, Chair of the Past Presidents' Committee. 

In Recognition of our 2023 Award Winner

David Hawkins
Chief Education and Policy Officer
National Association for College Admission Counseling

Award presented by Jim Jump, Past President

This year’s recipient has served the college admission profession with distinction for nearly 25 years, and has been a moral compass during a time of disruption and growth.

He is also intimately aware of Potomac and Chesapeake, despite the fact that he has never worked at a college or high school within the PCACAC region. He is an alumnus of a PCACAC member college, and is currently the parent of a student at a different PCACAC member college. He was acquainted with PCACAC long before he had any idea that college admission and counseling would become his life’s work. While in college he pledged a fraternity whose membership included several future Potomac and Chesapeake leaders, and he exhibited the wisdom and good judgment that he has become known for when he recognized that having them as fraternity brothers was not something he wanted as part of his college experience. 

Former NACAC President Todd Rinehart, a previous Blackburn Award recipient, describes this year’s winner as ‘one of the most intelligent, thoughtful caring people in our profession. He is a tireless worker in gathering information, analyzing trends and data, and advocating to support students and our profession.”

His current supervisor adds that he is a “force for good,” “held in high esteem by his colleagues,” and a “gift to the college admissions counseling profession.” A former colleague comments that “Few people could see the forest and the trees as he did. He was able to draw on extensive research and knowledge to identify and articulate long term goals and then turn around and develop specific initiatives and plans to meet those goals.” She adds that she admired the respect and humility he exhibited, as well as his commitment to a work/life balance, something lacking in those of us who think “being committed” is a synonym for “being neurotic.” 

Our Blackburn recipient has made his greatest contribution to our profession in the area of public policy. One of his strengths has been his insight into political policies and their impact on students, counselors, and educational institutions. As such he has been the face of our profession to the federal government, including testifying before Congress on our behalf, including on the dangers of the predatory and deceptive practices used by some for-profit colleges. But just as important has been his work behind the scenes, where he has been an advocate for equitable admission practices and where one of his greatest contributions was helping move the FAFSA release date to October and moving to prior-prior year financial data for students and families applying for financial aid.

Our Blackburn winner describes himself as “Compassionate, curious, committed, studious, and determined.” His favorite fictional character is Captain Jean-Luc Picard, and in addition to his professional work he has competed in Super Smash Brothers video games competitions throughout the country.

I feel honored that we are recognizing this individual for the 2023 Jack Blackburn Award. During my tenure as President of NACAC, I slept better every night knowing that he was working on my, and our, behalf. When PCACAC Past President Robin Lady threw out his name as a possible Blackburn recipient a year ago, I had one of those “Why didn’t I think of that?” moments. For those of you convinced that the PCACAC Conference Planning Committee and the Past Presidents Committee plotted together to make sure that the Blackburn Award Winner would be here at the conference, we’re not that strategic. After making the selection, we learned that he would be at the conference as a speaker.

Please join me in congratulating the recipient of the 2023 Jack Blackburn Award, the chief education and policy officer for the National Association for College Admission Counseling, David Hawkins. 


2022:  Sue Rexford, Director of College Guidance, Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School (MD)

2021:  Leonard Satterwhite, Senior Associate Dean of Admissions, Washington and Lee University (VA)

2020:  Joyce E. Smith, NACAC CEO (Retired 2020)

2019:  Evelyn Boyd WhiteRetired School Counseling Coordinator, Thomas Dale High School (VA)

2018:  Todd Rinehart, Vice Chancellor of Enrollment Management, University of Denver (CO)

2017:  Marty Wilder, Chief of Staff (Retired), University of Mary Washington (VA)

2016:  Dave Kraus, Director of Admission, Davidson College (NC)

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)