Richard Thomas, director of the UWM Student Union, has won the Central Region Mentor Award from the National Association of College Auxiliary Services.
The award recognizes leaders who act as a mentor to their employees and their peers, with special attention to welcoming new members to the National Association of College Auxiliary Services and encouraging members to become more involved in the association.
One member from each of the organization’s four regions – East, Central, South and West – is chosen for the award each year. Winners are nominated by their peers and announced at the C3X Annual Conference & Expo, which took place virtually in November.
The nonprofit association connects higher education institutions and allows members to share ideas on how to better support student life on campus. Through membership in the organization, two- and four-year colleges and universities across the world learn how to improve nonacademic services, such as dining halls, bookstores, food services and housing to enhance student experiences.
Thomas said that the association has helped him strengthen his professional network while giving back to his community. As he leads others, he remembers his past mentors that helped him achieve his professional goals.
“To me, mentoring others is part of ‘paying it forward,’” Thomas said. “As I stepped into leadership roles, I have always tried to do the same with young staff and students. I am proud to have mentored students and staff who now serve as union/student activity directors or associate directors, AVPs and chief student affairs officers. It is an honor to receive this NACAS (National Association of College Auxiliary Services) Central Award and to know that others view me as a mentor in the field.”