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UWPIAA Awards and Nomination Process

Each year at reunion, the UWPIAA recognizes alumni who continue to embrace the mission of Up with People in their everyday lives in a special way. Nominees can include anyone who participated in any capacity of the UWP program since its inception in the summer of 1965. Below is a description of the awards presented. Award nominations are due by March 31, 2019.

Qualifications for our awards and details for submitting a nomination are below.

The J. Blanton Belk Outstanding Alumnus/Alumna Award

J. Blanton Belk’s vision and ideals have impacted more than 20,000 alumni and millions of people around the globe. Alumni are considered for this award if he/she has made an exceptional contribution to humankind by carrying forward the ideals of Up with People.

The nominating committee awards one J. Blanton Belk Award annually to an individual, chosen from all alumni, including previous Everyday Hero Award honorees. Past J. Blanton Belk Award honorees have sacrificed economic and/or personal security to serve others. Examples of past alumni’s contributing to the betterment of the world around them include: working within an existing NGO (non-government organization); creating, launching, and leading an organization (even temporary) that makes a positive difference in the world; making an ongoing compassionate contribution; volunteering a substantial amount of time to help those in need; inspiring, teaching or challenging others through his/her passion, leadership and vision; and overcoming great personal barriers or tragedy to continue as a model of courage and involvement.


The James E. MacLennan Everyday Hero Award

When Up with People was still in its infancy, James E. MacLennan was the chief operating officer, financial officer and all-around support person for founder J. Blanton Belk’s vision. Jim and his wife Carol were two of the original cast directors, and he enjoyed a long and successful career with Up With People until his retirement. More than one Every Day Hero Award can be awarded at each reunion.

In previous years the nominating committee selected alumni who have served others steadily; with countless small yet effective acts of kindness and time commitment; founded, been involved in, or led community service projects; and/or responded to emergencies or human misery whether domestic or foreign.


Outstanding Cast Representative

2010 was the first year for this award. The UWPIAA Board of Governors recognizes that alumni serving as Cast Representatives provide an extraordinary service to both their casts and the alumni body as a whole. Their work is evident as they deliver high percentage turnouts at each reunion year. However, they do much more than getting their cast to reunion, as they sacrifice long hours and resources to keep their casts connected and informed all year around. This award will recognize a person who has served as Cast Representative for at least two reunion years (including this year), whose cast consistently competes for the reunion’s highest percentage attendance honor, and who consistently keeps their cast connected during non-reunion years.

Additional consideration will be given to those Cast Representatives who- support for either Up with People, the UWPIAA, their programs and missions (through volunteer work and/or fundraising), and who organize mini-reunions during non-reunion years.


Nomination Form

The nomination form and supporting documents must be submitted to the awards committee. If you have any questions about the awards or the form, please use the contact form to contact the Awards Committee Chair.

Please include as many specifics as possible to support your nomination, such as articles, letters, writings, videos, photos or anything else you feel would help us know this individual. Nominees may be endorsed by multiple alumni. While it is okay for non-alumni to participate in the nomination process (particularly the J. Blanton Belk and Everyday Hero awards) the actual nomination must come from alumni.

J. Blanton Belk Outstanding Alumnus nominees may also be considered for the James E. MacLennan Everyday Hero Award, but it must be a reunion year for the nominee if you would like us to consider this option.

An award nominating committee comprised of alumni from different eras and regions, will review all nominations and make a recommendation to the UWPIAA Board of Governors. You will be contacted if additional documentation is needed.

Click here to access the Awards Nomination Form.

If you would like to volunteer for this committee, please use the contact form to contact the Awards Committee Chair.