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New Presidential Leadership Award to Recognize College Presidents for Work Deemphasizing Role of Alcohol on Campus


$50,000 award supported by seven leading higher education organizations

BOSTON, MA - December 4, 2007 - For the first time, higher education will recognize a college or university president for innovative leadership in the area of alcohol prevention. The Presidential Leadership Award will recognize a president who has given freely of time and energy to create an environment where learning and campus life are not undermined by the misuse of alcohol.

"Stemming alcohol abuse is not something that college and university presidents can do alone, but their active leadership is essential," said Dan Levin, Vice President for Publications at the Association of Governing Boards (AGB), and Editor of Trusteeship Magazine. "We hope this award will embolden presidents across the nation to make this issue a priority."

Along with AGB, other participating organizations include the American College Personnel Association (ACPA), the American Council on Education (ACE), The Gordie Foundation, the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA), Outside The Classroom, and United Educators. These organizations, along with a panel of former university presidents, will review the nominations and select the final recipient. This recipient will be honored with a $50,000 donation to his or her institution, and he or she will be given the opportunity to promote environmental change on campuses across the nation via speaking engagements, published articles in higher education journals, and other initiatives.

"Presidential leadership is about action, but it's also about setting the right tone and creating a climate of support," said Brandon Busteed, Founder and CEO of Outside The Classroom. "Presidents need to speak out and write about the issue of student alcohol abuse. They need to keep this issue at the top of the higher education agenda." Indeed the evaluation criteria for this award emphasize the need for a broad approach, one that reflects a complete understanding of how societal conditions drive alcohol use and the magnitude of alcohol-related problems, and that recognizes the vital links between the campus and the larger community.

A 2005 nationwide survey of college students conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) found that 44.8 percent of students were classified as "binge" drinkers - consuming five or more drinks in a row on at least one occasion in the past 30 days. And these frequent bingers are 17 times more likely to miss a class compared to non-binge drinkers, according to the Harvard School of Public Health College Alcohol Study, an ongoing survey of over 14,000 students at 120 four-year colleges.

"College students' abuse of alcohol has been found to be a significant risk factor for a host of problems, including lower academic achievement, poor health outcomes, and serious accidents," said Janice Abraham, President and CEO of United Educators. "This award recognizes that strong, committed leadership from the President and Governing Boards is needed to support creative and comprehensive programs that will move students to healthier, safer lives."

About the Presidential Leadership Award
Among the most profound responsibilities of a college or university president is to help create a safe environment in which students can develop their intellectual potential. The Presidential Leadership Award will recognize one such president for his or her success in promoting a vibrant intellectual and social climate that deemphasizes the role of alcohol. All college and university presidents/chancellors who are in this position during the 2007-2008 academic year may be nominated. Nominations must be received by April 30, 2008. For complete details, go to