Covell & Brinley Awards

A Davis Tradition Since 1944


Please carefully review the suggestions below before writing your nomination.  Completed nominations may be submitted in Microsoft Word or PDF format by emailing an attached file to



Over time, the Steering Committee has determined ways to make the nomination letters clearer and easier for the Selection Committee to read and compare.  Though some nominees are widely known, a well-written letter prevents the committee from having to strain to sort out the nominee’s accomplishments.

1.  Letters should be no more than two typewritten pages

2.  Generally state the main points, following these guidelines:

Covell:  The nominee should have been involved in several major groups, so after the name of each organization, provide a bulleted list of activities, including offices/dates when possible, and a contact person. Bulleting the points enables the Selection Committee to easily see them.  Do not bury them, or the names of the organizations, in paragraphs.

Brinley:  If the emphasis is on one area (e.g., the arts, or an organization), bullet the activities.  If the emphasis is on a major project, chronologically list how the person achieved each major step.  Each nomination letter is different, but the activities and accomplishments are what are important.

3.  Restrict paragraphs to an introductory, explanatory paragraph and a closing summing-up or heart-felt paragraph.  This way nominators can express feelings about the nominee, yet keep the facts about accomplishments separate.

4.  Only one letter is needed for a nominee. If more than one is received, the chair will contact the writers to come up with one that can be co-signed.

5.  Including quotes from other supporters may strengthen the letter—placed either with an activity or at the last of the letter.  When the chair receives a nomination without such lists, s/he will encourage the nominator to resubmit, eliminating long paragraphs and listing the activities.  (This does not mean separating each paragraph into a list of sentences!)  Lists make it easier for the Selection Committee to see each person’s involvement and to compare nominees.

Importance of submitting nomination letters early.

• Submitting early allows time to get suggestions on how to strengthen the letter and improve chances for the nominee.

• If there are questions about the process, contact the Steering Committee chair, who will gladly assist with the layout of the nomination. Well presented letters are helpful for everyone.  

• To learn if anyone else is planning to nominate a particular person, contact the Steering Committee chair. Since only one letter is needed, nominators might work together. 

It is always possible to be nominated.

Everyone who is nominated for the C. A. Covell or the A.G. Brinley has made worthy contributions, some outstanding.  Yet a great many people whose accomplishments are clearly noted and—who are held in high regard by many—are never selected.  

This is partly because Davis has many outstanding citizens who are very active in the community.  Aside from a person’s achievements and contributions, however, being selected is often greatly a matter of chance.

Occasionally a person is selected the first time s/he is nominated, but that isn’t usually the case.  Usually a person’s name comes before committees two, three, four or even more times, and then all of a sudden that person is selected!  Two factors are very important:

● First, qualified people must be nominated

Most importantly, a person has to be nominated, and for some outstanding volunteers, this simply does not happen.  Nominating a person takes time and thought, and no doubt very busy people just don’t take the time—or assume someone else will do it.  But without that nomination, the process cannot go forward. 

● Second, nominators must follow the directions

Letters that have been well organized by nominators who have followed directions carefully get better results than those that don’t provide sufficient information or that make the Selection Committee strain to figure out the important information.
The better the points are outlined (listing the activities, main strengths or steps), the easier it is for the Selection Committee to see what each candidate has accomplished.