Kevin Colaner and Sonja Sanders are known throughout Student Affairs for their commitment to service and student achievement.
Now they’re being recognized by a prominent student affairs association in its western region.
The National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA), which represents 15,000 members in 50 states, 25 countries and eight U.S. territories, will honor Colaner and Sanders for their contributions to higher education through exceptional programs, innovative services and effective administration.
Sanders, executive assistant to the vice president, will be the inaugural recipient of the NASPA Region VI Support Staff Award, and Colaner, associate vice president and chief of operations, will receive the Region VI Fred Turner Award for Outstanding Service to NASPA, equivalent to a lifetime achievement award.
Sanders has worked at Cal Poly Pomona for more than three years, providing quality service and information to faculty, staff, students and parents, and maintaining priorities and projects for the vice president.
“I can’t think of a more deserving professional than Sonja to receive this inaugural award,” said Eileen Sullivan, Interim Vice President for Student Affairs. “It is my great fortune to work with her – she is an indispensable part of the Student Affairs team, contributes to student success daily, and is most definitely my right hand.”
Colaner has worked at Cal Poly Pomona for close to a dozen years. He re-established the NASPA Undergraduate Fellows Program at the university, mentoring underrepresented students with the first cohort of fellows completing the program at the end of the 2018-19 academic year. Bringing his leadership to NASPA at a national level, he served on the 2019 Annual Conference Leadership Committee and the Center for First Generation Student Success Advocacy Group.
“Kevin is the embodiment of service and servant leadership,” said Lea Jarnagin, former student affairs vice president. “I was amazed at his ability to be ever-present in his role on campus and, at the same time, so present within NASPA. It is therefore not a surprise that Kevin is known as a dedicated, caring and talented student affairs professional whose commitment to NASPA and his fellow volunteers has left an indelible impact on his colleagues.”