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University of Phoenix Receives National Society for Leadership and Success Distinguished Chapter Award

By Michele Mitchum

Established in 2020, the University Chapter has quickly grown to more than 50,000 members, with two members this year receiving prestigious national scholarships

University of Phoenix is pleased to announce that its chapter of the National Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS) has received the 2023 Distinguished Chapter Award. This achievement highlights the chapter's commitment to fostering leadership, scholarship, and community service among its members. The University of Phoenix chapter is one of just three to be awarded this distinction in 2023. The Distinguished Chapter Award, presented annually by the NSLS, recognizes chapters that have exhibited exceptional dedication and outstanding achievements in advancing the organization's mission. 

John Ramirez, MBA, MS/AJS-GHS, USA CSM (ret), dean of Operations at the College of Doctoral Studies and faculty advisor for the University of Phoenix Chapter of NSLS, expressed his pride in the chapter's accomplishment, stating, "Receiving the 2023 Distinguished Chapter Award is a tremendous honor for our chapter. This recognition reflects the dedication and hard work of our members who strive to make a positive impact on campus and in their own communities. We celebrate our chapter members, and this recognition, as we continue our commitment to fostering leadership, academic excellence, diversity and belonging."

The chapter's commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging is reflected in its impressive membership numbers of more than 50,000 members, which is a testament to its value and impact on the University's student community. Through the chapter's leadership team and active engagement of its members, the University of Phoenix Chapter of NSLS has consistently demonstrated the organization's core values. By organizing a diverse range of enriching activities, workshops, and guest speaker events, the chapter has created a vibrant platform for personal growth and professional growth, inspiring its members to make meaningful contributions to their communities. The chapter also offers multiple opportunities each year for its members to build effective leadership development and communication skills by attending professional conferences and actively participating in speaker events.

“One of the reasons that this chapter of the NSLS is so impactful is because of the commitment we have to facilitating inclusive and meaningful experiences for our members,” states University of Phoenix College of Health Professions Program Chair and Faculty Advisor for the University’s NSLS chapter, Dr. Richard Schultz. “My hope is that we continue to thrive, expand, and assist our members in discovering and achieving their goals. Executive leaders truly embody the mission, vision, and purpose of the NSLS, and we look forward to many more years of seeing our chapter members thrive.” 

Alongside the Distinguished Chapter Award, two outstanding University of Phoenix students have been honored with prestigious national scholarships. Jennifer Swanson has been awarded the Academic Excellence Scholarship, recognizing her exceptional academic achievements, commitment to scholarly pursuits, and personal growth. Janice Dacosta has been granted the esteemed Living Leadership Scholarship, celebrating her exemplary leadership skills, demonstrated impact within the community, and commitment to social responsibility.

“I am honored to be selected as a recipient of the Academic Excellence Scholarship,” shares Swanson. “Not only does it make me proud to receive this recognition, but the experiences I have had and the connections I have made with NSLS have brought me such confidence. I can go forward knowing that hard work, dedication, and a commitment to my community is incredibly important and rewarding, and that the work we do matters.”

The Academic Excellence Scholarship and Living Leadership Scholarship are highly competitive awards that acknowledge the exceptional accomplishments and potential of students across the nation. These scholarships exemplify the exceptional talents and dedication of students like Swanson and Dacosta, who embody the values of academic excellence and leadership within the University of Phoenix community.

Dacosta says her experience within NSLS, and her recent scholarship award, were instrumental in supporting her personal growth and leadership potential. “When I first joined the University of Phoenix NSLS chapter, I knew I wanted to build my leadership skills, but I didn’t know how I was going to accomplish that goal,” she states. “Finding a truly supportive community within our NSLS chapter and taking advantage of the tools and learning opportunities presented gave me the chance to evolve. This scholarship is just the first step on my journey of becoming a compassionate and effective leader, and I’m excited about what the future holds.”

The University of Phoenix chapter of NSLS is a Recognized Student Organization (RSO); RSOs are an important opportunity through which the University helps its students to build networks, social capital, career optimism, and confidence. Under the general guidance of a volunteer Faculty Advisor or University Liaison, RSOs are initiated, installed, chartered, led, and maintained by students enrolled at University of Phoenix. Founding Faculty Advisors for the University’s NSLS chapter are John Ramirez, MBA, MS/AJS-GHS, USA CSM (ret), dean of Operations at the College of Doctoral Studies, and Rich Schultz, Ph.D., MHA, USAF MSgt (ret), program chair of College of Health Professions. 

In addition to their roles as faculty advisors, Schultz and Ramirez established two perpetual scholarships as opportunities to support chapter members. The Major Fannie Griffin-McClendon Scholarship for $5,000 and the Dr. Richard Ansson, Jr., Annual Scholarship for $5,000 were both established in 2020. “I cannot be prouder of the perpetual scholarships our chapter awards, along with all the local community support we provide to the Phoenix area each year,” Schultz states.  

University students can visit the University of Phoenix RSO page and review program offerings with 14 honor, academic, and professional societies to determine which organization is the right fit.  Those who have determined an interest can send an email to to identify next steps for eligibility and participation. 

About The National Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS) 

The NSLS is the nation’s largest leadership honor society, dedicated to providing a life-changing leadership program that helps students achieve personal growth and career success, empowering them to have a positive impact in their communities. With over 700 chapters, the NSLS currently has more than 1.5 million members nationwide. Over the last year, they have hosted President Barack Obama, President George W. Bush, Dr. Bernice King, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and other notable guests as part of their member-exclusive Speaker Broadcasts. Visit to learn more. 

About University of Phoenix

University of Phoenix is continually innovating to help working adults enhance their careers in a rapidly changing world. Flexible schedules, relevant courses, interactive learning, and Career Services for Life® help students more effectively pursue career and personal aspirations while balancing their busy lives. For more information, visit