At the Direct Selling Association’s Annual Meeting in Austin, Texas, in June, DSEF presented its highest commendation, the 2019 Circle of Honor award, to three longtime academic partners, each with long histories of extraordinary contributions to the work of the Foundation.

Award recipients were Dr. Victoria L. Crittenden, Professor of Marketing and Babson Research Scholar at Babson College; Dr. Linda Ferrell, Marketing Department Chair and Professor of Marketing at Auburn University; and Dr. Greg W. Marshall, The Charles Harwood Professor of Marketing & Strategy at the Crummer Graduate School of Business at Rollins College. All three sit on DSEF’s Academic Advisory Council and have held seats on its Board of Directors.

“This was an honor beyond anything I ever could have imagined,” Vicky says. “To be in the company of such an esteemed group is something I will always cherish.”

The three award winners were seated onstage, ready to participate in a panel discussion on The Future of Commerce, when Gary Huggins, DSEF Executive Director, and Dr. Robert Peterson, University of Texas at Austin—and the 1991 Circle of Honor inductee—made an unexpected appearance to make the award presentation.

“The induction into the DSEF Circle of Honor was such an honor and overwhelming surprise,” Linda says. “I am so pleased to be involved with DSEF, and it’s so meaningful to be inducted with great friends and colleagues—Vicky and Greg.”

Greg says that being inducted into the DSEF Circle of Honor is a tremendous privilege. “Some of my long-time academic heroes are prior Circle of Honor inductees including Bob Peterson, Tom Wotruba, Larry Chonko and Buddy LaForge,” he says. “Joining that group, along with the many industry practitioners so-honored, is a really wonderful experience for which I’m very grateful.”

Dr. Deborah Crown, dean of the Crummer Graduate School of Business at Rollins College, offered her congratulations to Greg and thanked the Foundation for recognizing his contributions. “Dr. Greg Marshall’s work with students as well as with outstanding organizations such as the DSEF exemplifies our mission at Crummer to produce and foster global, responsible and innovative leaders who impact their organizations and communities,” she says.

For decades Vicky, Linda and Greg have brought significant value to the Foundation and the industry through their expertise, thought partnership and extensive networks, and those efforts have only increased in the last three years.

“In 2016, the DSEF introduced a three-year plan to deepen our relationships with the academic community,” Gary says. “Our three Circle of Honor recipients have worked tirelessly to help us grow our Fellows program, publish direct selling-related research, include direct selling in textbooks, launch a new Doctoral Sales Grant Program, and help shape the vision for the Foundation of the future.”