2021 DWA Recipients

The Distinguished Woman in Higher Education Leadership Award is presented annually by the Michigan ACE Network. It is the highest honor the MI-ACE Network presents.

The 2021 recipients are recognized below. While there will not be an in-person annual conference, special recognition is planned to highlight and honor these women.


Ms. Kim DiCaro – Deputy Chancellor, Wayne County Community College District

kim dicari



•Spearheaded the Chancellor’s Transparency Initiative

•Developed and executed capital improvement plans for over $200M with a focus on LEED Platinum Certification

•Co-chaired COVID Taskforce

•Served over 20 years as Chief Financial Officer for multi-campus district

Dr. C. Michelle Piskulich – Interim Executive VP for Academic affairs and Provost, Oakland University

michelle piskulich



•Served as a founding member and conference chair of Women in Leadership

•Led focus groups and campus client survey to implement flexible work arrangement for university employees

•Created opportunities for female employees to apply to a COVID19 resource fund for grants, including childcare expenses

•Served as President of the Network of Schools of Public Policy Affairs and Administration

Dr. DeLois Leapheart – Professor of Business Law, Northwood University

delois leapheart

•Led Mock Trial Teams to achieve national success in consecutive years

•Inducted into American Mock Trial Association coaches Hall of Fame in 2016

•Created a nonprofit organization, Adoption Option, Inc. helping to place children whose parents have had their parental rights terminated.

•Recognized by the Midland County Historical Society as one of the most influential women in Michigan