Dr. Constantine “Taki” Papadakis was President of Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. for 13 years, where he became a university leader like no other before him. He changed people, brought ideas to life, and improved everything he touched, and during his Presidency Drexel experienced one of the most remarkable and sustained periods of success in the University’s history. Today’s Drexel in many ways reflects his leadership: bold, innovative, and committed to the highest level of excellence.

Taki was also the Chair of the National Commission for Cooperative Education (which has recently joined WACE) for five years and served as a trustee for 13 years. During his tenure as trustee, he pioneered many innovative initiatives, including The Corporate Symposium, The Co-op Hall of Fame, and The $4M National Co-op Scholarship Program. Taki was highly respected, both nationally and throughout the world, as a passionate leader and advocate for high quality cooperative & work-integrated education. President Papadakis passed away in 2009 at the age of 63.

CRITERIA: Significant contribution to executive leadership during which innovative strides were taken to produce transformational results. Ideally, the recipient will have:
  • been innovative in the leadership of an academic institution and/or business organization;
  • placed his/her organization on a successful track by exemplifying and implementing standards of excellence;
  • produced results during his/her tenure that led to significant organizational change and transformation;
  • and regarded not only within the organization’s community as an effective leader and advocate for cooperative & work-integrated education, but throughout the greater community as well.
The award includes an engraved plaque, one free registration to the World Conference, and two years of free membership for his/her institution in WACE. The recipient is responsible for travel and other expenses incurred to attend the World Conference.

Since the inception of this prestigious WACE Award in 2011, the following individuals have been honored:
  • 2011 C.R. "Chuck" Pennoni, Pennoni Associates
  • 2013 William Howard, CDM Smith
  • 2015 Ms. Judie Kay, RMIT University (Australia)
  • 2017 Professor Dato’ Seri Dr. Mohamed Mustafa Ishak, Universiti Utara Malaysia (Malaysia)
  • 2019 Dr. Paul J. Stonely WACE Advisor to the President & CEO (Ret.)
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