The Thomas J. Sweeney Award for Visionary Leadership and Advocacy is presented to a professional counselor or counselor educator in recognition of career contributions to the counseling profession through leadership and advocacy.

Shawn L. Spurgeon

The Thomas J. Sweeney Award for Visionary Leadership and Advocacy is given in honor of the lifetime contributions of Dr. Sweeney to the counseling profession. 

Thomas J. Sweeney is a visionary leader who served as ACA President and President of two divisions (ACES and IAMFC, for which he served as founding president). He also served on the Executive Board of two additional divisions. 

Dr. Sweeney served as Chair of the CACREP Board of Directors and established Chi Sigma Iota (CSI), the Counseling Honor Society International. He was also a branch officer and Southern Region Chair. 

Dr. Sweeney's professional career as a counselor, counselor educator and CSI Executive Director was dedicated to promoting excellence within the counseling profession.

To be determined

To be determined

ACA Awards Committee


  • $500 honorarium
  • Complimentary registration for the 2024 ACA Conference and Expo (April 11-13, 2024 | New Orleans, LA), and recognition during event. Winners will receive further information at the time of award notification. 

Sponsor:The American Counseling Association Foundation.


Nominees must:

  • Be a professional member of the American Counseling Association at the time of the nomination;
  • Be a member of at least one ACA Division at the time of the nomination;
  • Be an active member of Chi Sigma Iota at the time of the nomination;
  • Demonstrate a strong identity as a professional counselor, as evidenced by a terminal degree in counseling, preferably from a CACREP-accredited program, and appropriate credentials (e.g., LPC, NCC); and
  • Have demonstrated through independent work a career commitment of at least 20 years to issues of professional leadership and advocacy to promote the profession of counseling. Such advocacy work may occur at the national, regional and/or state/local level.
  • Nominees will be evaluated on the basis of their overall body of work in support of the counseling profession.
  • Nominations must come from an ACA member.
  • The awardee must be an ACA member.
  • An individual can only be nominated for one award per year.


The total submission package for this award cannot exceed 16 pages in length. All nomination materials must be combined into one document (all formats accepted), with the nomination letter first.

Nomination letter: In the letter, identify the nominee and the specific award. Explain why you believe the nominee should receive the award by responding to the specific criteria outlined in the nomination guidelines. Keep in mind that the awards reviewers are relying on the information you provide to choose the most deserving recipient for the award. Please address each nomination guideline and make sure your nominee meets the award criteria and requirements. Brevity, clarity and specificity are most important here.

In your nomination submission:

  • Include a two-page summary that provides documentation of the nominee’s sustained leadership and advocacy work.
  • Describe the impact these activities have had on the counseling profession.

Supporting materials: Include a nominee biography and a maximum of two letters in support of the nomination from others familiar with the nominee and her or his accomplishments. If there are additional materials (news reports, journal articles, etc.) that you feel help support the nominee’s achievements, please include a copy of them. You may also include a copy of the nominee’s curriculum vitae (CV) or resume of no more than four pages, highlighting the nominee’s relevant accomplishments, if available. Keep in mind that the total submission cannot exceed 16 pages in length.