The Beacon Award for Excellence in Student Achievement and Success is an annual award to recognize institutional or programmatic accomplishments in student achievement and success at the NWCCU family of institutions.

Award winners must demonstrate distinctive, measurable, and replicable innovations that have resulted in student achievement and success at the institutional or programmatic level, including advising and mentoring, alternative credentialing, experiential learning, learning communities, or other such efforts. Other winning examples may include new curricula, courses, or educational delivery models. The Beacon Award will recognize innovative approaches that have significantly contributed to measurable improvements in completion and/or graduation rates at the institution.

Oregon State University’s Beaver Connect Program has been selected as a winner for the 2020 NWCCU Beacon Award for Excellence in Student Achievement and Success. The university's Undergraduate Student Success Initiative (USSI) Steering Committee, co-chaired by Roy Haggerty, Dean of the College of Science, and Dan Larson, Vice Provost for Student Affairs, recommended adopting the mentoring program as part of the USSI after determining that easing the transition to college was critical to student success. Key contributors in implementing and evaluating the Beaver Connect Program were Gloria Crisp, Professor and Chair of the Adult and Higher Education Programs, and Caitlin McVay, Beaver Connect Program Coordinator. The Beaver Connect program connects new-to-OSU students, peers, and faculty members in an effort to ease the student transition to college, facilitate faculty-student interaction and build a network of support to help all students succeed during their time at OSU.