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NACAS Foundation Announces 2020 Mereese Ladson Scholarship Recipients

Charlottesville, VA (April 3, 2020) – The NACAS Foundation, a non-profit corporation that promotes the auxiliary services profession through NACAS, announced today they have awarded the 2020 Mereese Ladson Diversity Scholarship to:

  • Brandi Bryant, Assistant Director of Auxiliary Services, Xavier University
  • Veronica Aymer, EdD, Director of Operations & Licensing, Temple University
  • Kavinda Arthenayake, Director of College Events & Conference Services, Commencement, Rhode Island College

“It is my pleasure and honor to award this year’s Mereese Ladson Diversity Scholarship to these three well-deserved recipients,” said Melissa Moore, President of the NACAS Foundation. “I also want to thank NACAS East for creating this endowment as a legacy honoring their member, Mereese Ladson, who was known for her outstanding work in the auxiliary services profession. It is scholarships like these that make me proud to be a NACAS member and continually reminds me of the joy I have working with the NACAS Foundation.”

Funded by the NACAS Foundation, the Mereese Ladson Diversity Scholarship is intended to promote the advancement of diverse, career-minded higher education professionals and to enhance their auxiliary services skill and knowledge base through NACAS professional development programs. Award winners receive $750 that can be used toward any NACAS event.

“This award means so much to me. As only one of a very small number of African-American women in a leadership role at my university, I want to take this opportunity to show that we have what it takes to lead,” says Brandi Bryant. “My goal every day is to help someone in need, whether it is a parent or a student with questions regarding our services or a faculty/staff member having questions about items our department does not handle. They know if they call me they will get the help they need.”

The scholarship was established in 2005 in honor of the late Mereese Ladson, Controller at Brooklyn College (CUNY). Ms. Ladson was a President and long-time leader of NACAS East and a great friend to the entire association. Her professionalism, commitment to inclusiveness for all, and leadership were sources of inspiration to our members.

“I am incredibly honored and humbled to receive the Mereese Ladson Scholarship as I am a firm believer in the power of inclusivity for all, just as Ms. Ladson’s commitment to inclusiveness in a profession we all believe in,” says Kavinda Arthenayake. “Receiving this scholarship is an opportunity to ‘Pay It Forward’ to instill a sense of inclusivity and culture of service among the students we serve and employ, who may become future auxiliary services professionals.”

Since its inception, the scholarship has provided professional development funds totaling approximately $18,750 to more than 25 individuals of minorities, races, or ethnic groups such as Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, Asian, American Indian or Alaskan Native, or Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander.

“Over the course of my organizational engagement, I have been given the chance to prove myself as a leader in both social and professional settings and, most importantly, I have had the unwavering support of the NACAS family in doing so. There is no question that my involvement with NACAS has been invaluable to my personal and professional growth, and I am sincerely grateful. Receiving this award further motivates me to continue to work hard and get even more involved,” says Veronica Aymer. “Further, this award inspires me to maintain my continued focus as a life-long learner and to give back to others who also desire to grow and learn. I hope to uplift another member just as NACAS has done for me and so many others.”

Founded in 1969 as the National Association of College Auxiliary Services, NACAS is a professional trade association that supports the non-academic segment of higher education responsible for generating business through a diverse array of campus services that students need and value – such as food services, bookstores, housing, and transportation. As the leading organization supporting all campus services, NACAS is the community-of-choice for strategic leaders who advance campus environments to improve the quality of life for students.

About the NACAS Foundation
The NACAS Foundation is a non-profit, charitable 501(c)(3) corporation formed for the sole purpose of supporting and promoting the auxiliary services profession. The Foundation engages in scholarships, grants, promoting diversity of people and ideas, fostering innovation, collaboration and creative thinking to improve the quality of life for students.