LAWRENCE – Benjamin Herron, academic success coach at the KU Edwards Campus, has been named the recipient of this year’s C.L.A.S.S. Award for his dedication to supporting students.
The C.L.A.S.S. Award (Citation for Leadership and Achievement in Student Services) is presented annually by the Board of Class Officers to a staff member to recognize distinguished achievements in student services that show a commitment to the needs of KU students and contribute to the welfare of students.
Herron advises undergraduate students in psychology and language, literature and writing programs. He also coordinates the KU Edwards Honors Program.
Herron easily connects with students, many of whom are adult learners who have transferred from community colleges, because he followed the same path to earn his KU diploma. As an adult learner, he transferred from Johnson County Community College in 2009 and completed his KU political science degree in 2011. He earned his master’s degree in higher education administration and urban leadership from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and is pursuing his KU doctorate in higher education policy and leadership.
“The fact that I now help others who are following a very similar journey is such a cathartic and rewarding piece of my job at the Edwards Campus,” Herron said.
His dissertation will focus on transfer students, especially adult learners, exploring ways in which universities can create cultures to encourage these students — and how their success advances social justice.
Elyse McBride, Leawood senior, nominated Herron for the award and credited him for guiding her from their first conversation about her return to college to writing her recommendation for graduate school.
“He has followed up throughout the semesters to see how I’m doing not just in my classes but in my overall life,” she said. “He truly has cared about my well-being. Here I am about to graduate in May with grades I didn’t think I could ever achieve again. Now I’m going on to the graduate program I wanted because he believed in me not only as a student but as a person.”
The Board of Class Officers is a leadership organization representing the senior class. Officer positions are held by seniors, and both juniors and seniors can serve on committees. Members create the banner and choose the gift and motto for each graduating class at the university. They also choose the H.O.P.E. Award, C.L.A.S.S. Award and Campanile Award winners and assist in the selection of the two EX.C.E.L. Award winners.
The Class of 1987 established the C.L.A.S.S. Award, and a plaque bearing the names of award winners is located in the stairwell on Level 5 of the Kansas Union.