Thomas R. Tillia Community Service Awards

The Thomas R. Tillia Community Service Awards recognize ACCET-accredited institutions that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to service that positively impacts their communities by benefiting people, infrastructure, or the natural environment.

These awards were established in 2017 in honor of the late Thomas “Tom” Tillia (1944-2016). Tom Tillia loved people, and people loved Tom Tillia. He started in the career school industry in the mid-1980s to help make a difference in his community by providing non-traditional students hope for the future. He believed in fighting to give every student the chance to succeed, and he showed up for that fight every day, to the very end, always cheering for the underdog. You could count on him to speak the truth, even when no one wanted to hear it, and our community is better for it.

Tom was a longtime friend of ACCET, serving as a Commission Representative and Commission Chair and co-founding an ACCET-accredited institution. Tom was also committed to serving the arts and is remembered for his devotion to The Red Barn Players theater troupe in Ellwood City, Pennsylvania.

The 2024 award will be announced at the ACCET Annual Conference, August 25-28, 2024, in Washington, DC.

Eligibility Requirements:

  1. Must be an ACCET member institution that is currently accredited and in good standing.
  2. The community service activities may be completed by the institution or a branch campus, program, or department that is part of that institution.
  3. The community service activities must have occurred in the 12 months leading up to the application submission.
  4. Each institution may submit only one application per year.

Application Information:

To apply, please complete the following by 11:59 p.m. EST on June 30, 2024:

  • Complete the online application form.
  • Upload a short video presentation of your application (2 minutes or less and as an MP4, MOV, WMV, or AVI file) to Dropbox.

Select applicants will be featured on the ACCET website and at the 2024 Annual Conference.

Questions? Contact us at

Previous Awardees & Honorable Mentions:


2021 Awardee: Approach International Student Center, Allston, MA

2021 Honorable Mentions:

  • Asher College, Sacramento, CA
  • InterCoast Colleges, West Covina, CA


2019 Awardee: UEI College, Encino, CA

2019 Honorable Mentions: 

  • InterCoast Colleges, Santa Ana, CA
  • American Advanced Technicians Institute, Hialeah, FL
  • CEC American University of Beirut, Beyrouth, Lebanon


2018 Awardee: First Institute, Crystal Lake, IL

2018 Honorable Mention:

  • EF International Language Campus, Santa Barbara, CA


2017 Awardee: The HOFT Institute, Austin, TX

2017 Honorable Mentions:

  • The Electrical Training Center, Copiague, NY
  • The International School of Hospitality, Las Vegas, NV