2024 Award for Administrative Excellence

Renée Kreger

Prentiss M. Brown Honors Program, Albion College

The National Collegiate Honors Council is proud to announce Renée Kreger as the winner of the 2024 NCHC Award for Administrative Excellence. Renée serves as the Staff Associate Director of the Prentiss M. Brown Honors Program and Staff Associate Director of the Foundation for Undergraduate Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity (FURSCA) at Albion College, a small liberal arts college in south-central Michigan. She was nominated by Nancy Demerdash and Lia Jensen-Abbott of Albion College, along with supporting nominations from several additional Albion colleagues and students.

The Award for Administrative Excellence is given by the National Collegiate Honors Council in celebration of Administrative Professionals Day. Each year, members of the NCHC are invited to nominate the administrative professionals that support and sustain their honors programs and colleges. Nominees are reviewed by a panel including the coordinators of NCHC’s Professional Staff in Honors programming. Many staff members dedicate years of hard work and experience to the success of honors education at their institution, and their collective efforts make a difference to hundreds of thousands of honors students across the nation.

In her nomination, Demerdash and Jensen-Abbott spoke of Renée ’s immense value to their collegiate environment. “Renée has tirelessly served Albion College for the entirety of her thirty-four years of professional activity, and she has been at the administrative helm of honors since 2003. In those impressive twenty-one years, she has managed, advised, coached, and supported over 1,785 honors students at Albion. Apart from being precious, in terms of her decades-long institutional knowledge and administrative expertise, she is equally irreplaceable given her genuine care, concern, altruism, and selflessness for our students’ success and well-being. She is a fierce advocate for our students and works unremittingly to ensure that they feel fulfilled and gratified in their educational experience.”

Renée puts forth an incredible effort to personally connect with the student population at her honors program. “During the recruitment process, when high school students are in limbo about whether to come to Albion College, Renée is often the deciding factor for students who commit to attend Albion College. Many of our honors students tell us that if they were vacillating between two or more colleges, it was frequently Renée’s warm demeanor and encouraging interactions with them that made them pick Albion College, precisely for its honors program.” One student shared, “From attending admissions events, to interviewing potential honors students, answering 900 emails, reviewing FURSCA proposals, or organizing everything for senior thesis writers, Renée is seriously Wonder Woman. She has such a welcoming presence and after watching her do entrance interviews, I would say the majority of people who join honors do so because Renée is so friendly and passionate about how amazing honors is.”

Nominators also praised Renée’s willingness to contribute to innovative strategies to support honors at Albion College. “We have had the pleasure of benefitting from numerous NCHC Conferences, in which we traveled with Renée to learn and gain insights from our colleagues running honors programs across the country. Renée is constantly brainstorming new ideas with us–based on a lot of feedback and knowledge gained at NCHC Conferences–about how to enhance our recruitment and strengthen our retention strategies, which we co-present to the faculty of the Honors Advisory Committee on campus, to see if they might be amenable to making some adjustments to our programmatic structure. With her twenty-one years of institutional knowledge pertaining to the honors program’s history at Albion, it is always Renée who is forward-thinking, coming up with new possibilities that might make our program even stronger. We genuinely look to Renée for guidance in making both major adjustments or minor changes.

In gratitude for her service, Renée is invited to attend the NCHC’s 2024 Annual Conference in Kansas City, Missouri this November to receive her award at the annual NCHC Awards Ceremony. NCHC sends its congratulations to Renée and sincere thanks for her years of support for honors education and the students it serves.