Established in 2016, this award is presented annually by the Chairperson of the Board of Trustees during commencement weekend and recognizes a member of the APUS community (student, alumnus, faculty, administrator, or university partner) in recognition of outstanding leadership, for their significant impact on their community, industry, or the world around us.
- A student, alumnus, faculty, staff member, board member, stakeholder, or ally of the university
- Leader has made a significant impact on their community, industry, or the world
- Leader has inspired and motivated others to pursue noble and notable pursuits
- Serves as a change agent for the greater good
- Reason for nomination/impact on the University community
- Leads in a manner that reflects the university's core values of integrity, diversity, and accountability
Nominations may be made by faculty, staff, students, alumni, and those familiar with the nominee’s work.
- The University Awards Committee reviews submissions
- Top candidates are submitted to the Office of the Provost for final review and approval
- The award may, but will not necessarily, be awarded annually
- Award recipients will be honored during Commencement weekend, and should we have an in-person celebration, one-night accommodations and individual travel expenses to attend Commencement will be paid for by the University
- Award recipients receive a crystal trophy
- Award recipients are not required to attend Commencement to accept the award
Dr. Awilda Hernandez
Dr. Awilda Hernandez graduated from Georgian Court University with a bachelor's degree in criminal justice and a minor in Spanish literature in 2011. While serving in the United States Army, she completed a master's in intelligence studies with a concentration in criminal intelligence from American Military University, receiving her degree in 2014.
Awilda served with the 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Stewart, Georgia, during Operation Enduring Freedom. She is a recipient of the National Defense Service Medal, Good Conduct Medal, and Global War on Terrorism Medal.
In 2020, she graduated from Concordia University-Wisconsin with a doctorate in education, focusing on the theoretical model of culturally relevant pedagogy. Her education is founded on Christian values, women's empowerment and leadership with a spirit of justice.
Currently, Awilda works as an investigator for the federal government. She has experience working in grand jury and specialized investigations, criminal/civil litigation, white-collar crime, housing discrimination, securities fraud, and environmental enforcement investigations.
Some of her current and former services include serving as an Alumni Advisory Council member at the University. Her efforts included helping community families with living skills and educating women and children victims of domestic violence. Providing resources and information for their care needs has also been a primary focus of her volunteer efforts.
Awilda is also an Equal Employment Opportunity counselor and volunteers as a student mentor for her previous academic institutions. She volunteered with the Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), assisting 1,148 unaccompanied children from various parts of Central America and South America.
She is writing a children-inspired book, “Shaping Up Nicely!” The book encourages children to appreciate their differences and to understand the strength of working together as one person for a common goal.
- 2016: Mr. Wallace E. Boston, Ed.D
- 2019: Mr. James Barney
- 2020: Mr. William Porter II
- 2021: Dr. Kristin Drexler
The application deadline for 2023 University Awards nominations is January 15, 2023. For additional information or questions, contact the University Awards Committee.