Bernie Ronan Award

TDC annually recognizes exceptional work of students who have advanced the work of democracy on their campuses and in their communities.

The Bernie Ronan Award

About the Award

At the 2013 national meeting, The Democracy Commitment (TDC) announced that, starting in 2014, we would select for special recognition a student-initiated or -directed project or program that exemplifies the democratic skills and capacities we desire of our students.  Bernie Ronan was heralded as a champion of democratic education and for his tireless work as an organizer, advocate, leader and eloquent spokesman for community college students. As a profound theorist of democratic culture, he wrote about the significance of democratic engagement in the life of student. To this end, he co-founded The Democracy Commitment, a platform for the development and expansion of community college programs, projects and curricula aiming at engaging students in civic learning and democratic practice across the country. In 2016 we lost Bernie to his long battle with cancer, and to pay homage to his commitment to TDC and the development of community college students, TDC student scholarship award is now called the “Bernie Ronan Award,” as it will stand as a living testimony to this good and loyal friend.

The Award

The Bernie Ronan Award is presented annually to a student or a team of students from a TDC member institution for a student-initiated or student-directed project or program that exemplifies the democratic skills and capacities we desire of our students.  The award recipient(s)’ campus will receive a commemorative plaque to acknowledge the national recognition, and the award recipient will receive an award certificate and a check for $1,000.00 to be divided equally among the students identified by the campus coordinator as the effective participants in the project or program (If ten students were included in the nomination, each gets $100; if it is two students, each gets $500, etc.)  The award recipient(s) will be announced each year at The Democracy Commitment organizing session at the national meeting in June.

Criteria and Submission Process

Each TDC campus coordinator is invited to submit for consideration a student project or program from his or her institution that was aimed at addressing a significant political and/or social issue.  The project or program must demonstrate the democratic organizing skills of students and their leadership whereas the faculty/staff served mainly in an advisory or supporting role.

The nomination form must be filled out and submitted with all supporting materials and will include the following information:

  • Students’ names and contact information (email addresses and phone numbers).
  • Name of the project or program they were/are involved in.
  • A paragraph explaining the reason for the nomination, how the students’ project or program meets the required criteria, and why they should be selected.
  • You may attach up to four supporting documents, such as photos, news articles, video, etc. At least one supporting piece of documentation should be included for consideration.

Click HERE for a link to the Submission Form.

The nomination form should be sent electronically as a PDF along with all other nomination materials to Verdis Robinson, TDC National Director, [email protected], no later than Monday, April 2, 2018.  It is our desire to announce the winners of the award no later than May 1, 2018.  For questions, please contact TDC National Office at (202) 478-4656.


Please note: At least one student from the selected team should plan to attend the 2017 CLDE meeting; one student from the selected team will have the registration fees for the meeting waived as part of the award.