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The John D. Walda Pathfinder Award recognizes individuals whose lives and careers in higher education business management are inspirations to college and university business officers. The award is conferred based on achievement in the field of business and financial management in higher education, for advocacy on behalf of institutions and those they serve, for leadership on institutional and professional levels, and for transformative initiatives that prepare institutions for the challenges and societal needs of the future. 

2021

John Palmucci, Jr.

In 2021, NACUBO’s board voted to honor the late John Palmucci, Jr., who served in higher education leadership roles for more than 45 years at institutions including Merrimack College, Northern Essex Community College, Northeastern University, Loyola University Maryland, and Valparaiso University. Palmucci’s leadership roles included service on the NACUBO board and the association’s National Campus Safety and Security Project steering committee, and he received the 2003 NACUBO Distinguished Business Officer Award, among other accolades.

2018

John D. Walda

John D. Walda

John Walda received this award in retirement after 12 years as NACUBO president and CEO. The award was also renamed for him by the NACUBO Board of Directors in recognition of his service.

2012

Mary Lai

Mary Lai

Mary Lai, former treasurer emeritus and senior advisor at Long Island University, was the first recipient of this honor, then known as the Pathfinder Award.

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