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NACUA's Distinguished Service Award

Thomas Butcher - 2007

Thomas Butcher has been General Counsel for Grand Valley State University since 1989 – the first and only person to serve the University in this capacity. Prior to that, he was Assistant to the Personnel Officer at Grand Valley, gradually assuming additional responsibilities for the administration of legal services. In addition to his service to the University, Mr. Butcher served as a law clerk for the Michigan Attorney General/Education Division. He received his A.A. and B.S. from Ferris State University and his J.D., cum laude, from Thomas M. Cooley Law School. In 1999, he was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to travel throughout Germany to study its educational system, the first in-house legal counsel in the United States to be selected for this honor. Mr. Butcher also was selected to serve in the Leadership Roundtable, discussing education, law, and policy, at Pembroke College at The University of Oxford in 2006.

Mr. Butcher’s involvement in NACUA spans nearly 25 years. He joined NACUA in 1983 and his long tenure of service began when he volunteered to serve on the Committee on Membership in 1986. Since then, he has served on 20 different committees, including Chair of the Professional Development Committee, 1992-1994; Chair of the NACUA 2000 Task Force, 1998-2000; Chair of the NACUA Institute Advisory Board, 2000-2001; and Chair of the Committee on Strategic Planning, 2001-2002. He also has been a regular speaker at NACUA CLE workshops and annual conferences, and was a member of the Board of Directors from 1996-1999. Mr. Butcher was one of the first in NACUA to take a special interest in strategic planning, and was instrumental in helping to develop the Association’s first such plan.

For nearly 25 years, Thomas Butcher has given selflessly and graciously of his time, expertise, and experience. His service both to NACUA and to higher education have been extraordinary, and his dedication to the Association almost unparallel. NACUA is honored to present him with the 2007 Distinguished Service Award in recognition of his contributions and the distinction he has brought to our Association and our profession over many years.