National Academy of Honor2013 Academy of Honor Award Recipient - Harlen Gudger
The Miss America Organization was proud to announce Harlen Gudger, Executive Director of the Miss Virginia Scholarship Program as the recipient of the 2013 Academy of Honor Award. This prestigious award was established in 1996 to recognize one individual annually who provides outstanding service to the Miss America Organization at the State or Local competition level.
According to Art McMaster, President and CEO of the Miss America Organization, "Harlen exemplifies what it means to be an Academy of Honor Award recipient. His true dedication and commitment to the Miss America Organization are a wonderful example to follow. During his years of continuous service, he has made significant contributions to the Miss America Organization which embodies the true spirit of our program."
Harlen was presented with the prestigious Waterford crystal eagle by Art McMaster during an on-stage award ceremony at a 2013 Miss America Preliminary Night Competition. Harlen's name has also been added to the plaque that celebrates all Academy of Honor winners which is on display at the Miss America Organization's national headquarters. In addition, the Miss America Organization will award a $5,000 scholarship grant to the Miss Virginia Scholarship Fund in recognition of Harlen's achievement.
Harlen's 34 years of volunteering began in 1978. He held multiple positions that ultimately led him to being named Executive Director in 2008. The Miss Virginia program has grown under Harlen's leadership, which even includes having Miss Virginia's own Caressa Cameron crowned Miss America 2010. As the State Executive Director, Harlen has instilled values and the importance of community service in his contestants which has made the Miss Virginia Scholarship Program what it is today. Harlen's commitment began with his parents' involvement in North Carolina pageants, and in 1961, as he witnessed Miss America Maria Fletcher being crowned. Today, he continues to guide and help the young women in his program evolve and become successful as they achieve their personal goals.
Previous Miss America Academy of Honor Award Recipients include Sally Johnston, New Jersey, 2012; William J. Haggerty, New Hampshire, 2011; Nan Teninbaum, Alabama, 2010; Mary Sullivan, Florida, 2009; Dana Phillips, Oregon, 2008; Kay Dickinson, North Carolina, 2007; Bruce Robert, Massachusetts, 2006; Gail Sanders, South Carolina, 2004; Charles Welch, Oklahoma, 2003; Theresa Beauchamp, Connecticut, 2002; Robert W. Arnhym, California, 2001; Joseph P. Sanders III, South Carolina, 2000; Larry Webber, Missouri, 1999; Meg Geraghty, New Hampshire, 1998; Robert Wheeler, Arkansas, 1997; and Tom Hensley, Tennessee, 1996.