Samuel T. Gladding Unsung Heroes Award

Background and Purpose

Sam Gladding, former ACA president and past trustee of the ACA Foundation, has always advocated for professional counselors who provide direct services to students and clients. He believes their work is often overlooked and seldom recognized. Dr. Gladding refers to these dedicated individuals as Unsung Heroes.

Dr. Gladding and his wife, Claire, donated the initial funding that would recognize those professional counselors providing direct services. In 2014, the ACA Foundation Board of Trustees approved a new award and voted to establish the Samuel T. Gladding Unsung Heroes Award. The awardee will be acknowledged annually at the ACA conference.  The award includes a $1,000 honorarium.

Criteria and Requirements

The nominator must be an ACA member.

To be eligible, a nominee must:

  • Be a current ACA member.
  • Be licensed as a professional counselor.
  • Have been in the counseling profession for more than five years.
  • Work currently as a full-time practitioner (school, mental health, rehabilitation, etc.) providing direct services to clients or students.
  • Have not previously received state, division, regional, or national awards or recognition from a counseling association more than once.

Nomination Guidelines

In the nominations submission:

  • Include a one-page summary explaining why the nominee would be a good choice to receive the Unsung Heroes Award. Include examples that distinguish this individual in regard to their direct service work.
  • Dr. Gladding’s vision is to recognize and celebrate a counselor who does not draw attention to himself or herself, but who works for the good of others; someone who contributes his/her talents to their community and who is not generally recognized for his/her counseling work. Please address how the nominee meets these qualifications in the one-page summary.

Nomination Checklist

  • Nominee Biography
  • Nomination Letter
  • Supporting Materials
  • Maximum of two supporting letters

Submit your nomination(s) online by Nov. 12, 2017.

Create a new log in and submit your nomination(s).

Samuel T. Gladding Unsung Heroes Award Instructions (PDF)
National Awards General Instructions (PDF)