The National Association of Student Affairs Administrators has named Berry College Chief of Staff Debbie Heida a “Pillar of the Profession” for her service to students and higher education.

Each year the organization recognizes a series of distinguished individuals who have served as leaders, teachers, and scholars in student affairs and higher education. Each individual is nominated and supported for designation as a Pillar by colleagues, students, friends, or others who find them deserving of this honor.

“In her 14 years at Berry, Debbie (Heida) has managed a weighty portfolio of responsibilities and still, to her credit, she is always among the first to run toward a new problem or reach out to offer help when a colleague has a need.  She is creative and resourceful and therefore one of the people I turn to first for a fresh perspective,” said Berry College President Steve Briggs. “She was instrumental in leading the planning effort when Berry joined Division III of the NCAA, and she worked determinedly for several years to bring the Georgia Governor’s Honors Program to Berry and ensure a successful transition.”

Berry alum Paton Roden helped nominate Heida. Roden is the Second Year Experience Coordinator at The University of Alabama at Birmingham.

“I found my passion at Berry through my student involvement and leadership positions on campus and followed this into my current career in higher education. I did all of this with the help of the former Dean Debbie Heida, current Chief of Staff-Debbie Heida,” said Roden, a 2015 grad. “She is very deserving of this award based on her commitment and involvement.”

Heida has worked at Berry since 2004 as Dean of Students and Chief Student Affairs Officer. She has served three other colleges as Chief Student Affairs Officer including Wittenberg University, St. Olaf College, and Wartburg College.

Heida served as the National Association of Student Personnel Administrator’s Small College and University Public Policy Coordinator, past regional director for Region III, and Small College and University Region III Coordinator.  She was appointed to the North-American Interfraternity Conference Presidential Commission on Sexual Assault and Abuse Prevention.

She served two terms on the Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice editorial board and co-chaired the NASPA Fraternity and Sorority Knowledge Community. She served on the Board of the Center for the Study of the College Fraternity from 2001-2011 (serving as President of the Board from 2005-2010), the Advisory Board for the National Hazing Study, and has been an accreditation team member for the Southern Association for Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges since 2010.