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ACE Student of the Year Award

The Student of the Year Award is presented annually by ACE to an adult learner who has benefited from the use of ACE credit recommendations to earn a college degree or advance a career.

​ACE's Student of the Year Award recognizes a student who has benefited academically and professionally from making use of ACE's credit recommendations for workforce or military training.

In addition to the application of ACE credit recommendations for military or corporate training to a postsecondary degree program, award winners must demonstrate:

  • Continued success in academic, professional, personal and community endeavors.
  • Extraordinary achievement in his or her community or workplace while successfully balancing the demands of family, career and education.
  • Inspiration to others in setting high educational goals.

Nominees for the award were asked to submit a 300-word essay and a letter of support from a faculty member, academic advisor, or employer. A panel of judges convened to review the profiles to select the 2015 award winner.


ACE's 2015 Award Winner

Jeffery Gearhart received the ACE Student of the Year Award at ACE's 97th Annual Meeting during the March 16 morning plenary session.  He is currently general manager of a McDonald’s restaurant in Bloomington, where he also teaches Shift Management Excellence Courses at his and four other McDonald’s restaurants in the area. He has successfully applied credits from classes at McDonald’s Hamburger University to pursue an Associate of Applied Science in Business Administration degree and a Human Resources Management certificate from Ivy Tech Community College. Prior to receiving this award, he had already received a technical certificate in Business Administration from Ivy Tech.

As ACE's Student of the Year for 2015, Gearhart received a $500 scholarship to continue his education and a travel honorarium to accept the award at ACE’s 97th Annual Meeting which was held March 14-17, 2015 in Washington, DC.


About the Student of the Year Program

The Student of the Year program (formerly the ACE Adult Learner of the Year program) was initiated in 1999 to coincide with the 25th anniversary of ACE’s College Credit Recommendation Service (ACE CREDIT) and to begin a national award that would embody the best attributes of ACE CREDIT’s hundreds of thousands of adult learners.

Each year since, ACE has solicited nominations of adult learners who have used ACE’s college credit recommendations for one or more of the following reasons:

  • Begin coursework at a college or university
  • Complete an academic degree
  • Advance in a career
  • Transition into a new career

In 2013, ACE expanded the award to include the academic and professional accomplishments of military service members and veterans.

For more information, please contact us at or 866-205-6267.


Contact us about ACE Student of the Year Award

Photo, left to right: ACE President Molly Corbett Broad; Erica Jennings; LJ Gearhart; Deborah Seymour, avp, center for education attainment & innovation for ACE; Mary Beth Lakin, director of college and university partnerships for ACE; Eliza Erxleben, Ivy Tech Community College director of academic advising; Deb McKernan, McDonald’s operations manager.

For more information, please contact us at or 866-205-6267.