Lehigh students, staff, faculty, friends and family recently attended the Fifth Annual Volunteer Recognition Awards Ceremony, 25th Annual Multicultural Affairs Student Awards Banquet, and the 22nd Annual Student Life Leadership Awards Banquet.
“This year’s award recipients are outstanding examples of what leadership and service looks like at Lehigh,” says John Smeaton, vice provost for Student Affairs. “Their countless efforts to positively impact the Lehigh community will stand as a lasting legacy of their time here on South Mountain. These are truly exceptional young men and women and I am very proud of each and every one of them.”
And the winners are…
Volunteer Recognition Awards
The Fifth Annual Volunteer Recognition Awards Ceremony honored students, staff and faculty who helped to make a difference both on campus and in the surrounding areas.
Jeffrey Abel ’07, Jill Engels ’08, Allison Heinly ’07 and Mark Marzen ’08 were awarded the prestigious Vice Provost’s Award for Service. The award, established in 2004 by the Community Service Office, is a special and distinct way to recognize, reward and celebrate the contributions of those whose selfless giving represents the highest standard for service and volunteerism. Each recipient received an engraved medal of service and will have their name displayed on a plaque that will be prominently displayed in the campus community.
The Ibis of Service Award, created in 2005 and named for community services coordinator and the first recipient of the award, Carolina Hernandez, is given to a person who exhibits great dedication to a lifestyle of servant leadership. This year’s award recipient was Kim Carrell-Smith, professor of history.
Graduate Student Sabrina Harris and Sean McKeever ’08 were the Brian J. Lime Award recipients. The award is named after a Lehigh graduate and given to students who lead by humble, consistent and selfless service.
Showing exceeding generosity, the Giving Tree award was given to the Reformed University Fellowship, whose members selflessly served the community on a regular basis.
Victory House received the Bridge Builder award for building bridges and sharing their knowledge of the community’s needs with the servant leaders at Lehigh in the hopes that the community as a whole is better served.
Reaching beyond their own circle of influence, the Branch Out awards were given to Tara Frank, assistant dean of students for student activities; Jean Johnson, team leader/education librarian LTS; Susan Lantz, associate dean of students; and Tony and Debbie Silvoy from Goosey Gander for reaching out in outstanding support helping to fulfill the crucial needs of the Community Service Office.
The Starfish awards, which honor single acts of service that can change lives and are given to students, staff and faculty who have frequently volunteered while emulating a true desire to improve the lives of those they are serving, were given to: Karen Choi ’09, Shaun Elwell ’09, Elaine Hardenstine ’10, graduate student Mel Lepko, Kristen Merlo ’09, Patty Rekawek ’07, and Nishika Vidanage ’07.
Multicultural Affairs Spring Awards
The Office of Multicultural Affairs Spring Awards celebrated 25 years of recognizing amazing students who work to excel academically and to make their mark on Lehigh, while making significant contributions to student life.
Shaneka Duren ’10 and Samuel Johnson Stoever ’10 both received the Protostar Award, which is given to first-year students whose early commitment to academic excellence and co-curricular life has established a foundation for self and for others’ success.
Hilary Chadwick ’09 received the Paoni Award, which recognizes second-year students who have come into their own very early, are well known as pillars of the community and are working toward a Lehigh that is more readily built upon the gifts and talents of their many constituents, which is the Lehigh they envision.
The Crysalis Award, presented to third-year students whose pursuit of academic excellence, leadership, and community involvement has enhanced the quality of life for students of color and the broader community, was awarded to Whitney Pryor ’08 and Uhuru Aseto ’08.
Brennan Wiggins ’07 received the Efflorescence Award, which recognizes a graduating senior who has demonstrated tremendous leadership and support for the mission of multicultural affairs, impacted the quality of student life at Lehigh and has served as a model of professional excellence.
The Paradigm Award, presented to a graduate student who models leadership, personal integrity and a commitment to academic excellence, was awarded to Melodie Kent for active support of the university community and dedication to serving others on endeavors large and small.
Keystone Awards, given to faculty or staff members committed to improving the Lehigh experience for students of color, were awarded to Kristin Handler, director of the Women’s Center; Tom Hyclak, interim dean of the College of Business and Economics; Ryan Lovell, Greek life coordinator; Antonio Prieto, associate professor of modern languages and literature; and Mike Raposa, associate dean for undergraduate studies, College of Arts and Sciences.
Gaby Saade ’08 received the Kinship Award, which is presented to a student who has demonstrated overwhelming support for Lehigh through service and volunteerism.
Jason Russell ’07 received the MVP award, which recognizes a student who excels both athletically and academically.
The Interfraternity and Panhellenic Councils, along with Society of Hispanic and Professional Engineers, were also honored as Student Organizations of the Year for impacting student life and for promoting cultural awareness.
Devin Dobson ’07 received the Ralph Albert Thomas ‘76 Leadership Award, which recognizes a senior who has demonstrated tremendous achievement in their academic, personal and co-curricular involvement, while having a significant impact on the quality of life of other Lehigh students.
Student Life Leadership Awards
The 22nd Annual Student Life Leadership Awards Banquet ceremony recognized and celebrated the achievements of students who devoted their time and energy to improving and serving the Lehigh community
This year’s ceremony theme was, “Setting Leadership in Motion.” Jessica Manno, Greek Life Leadership Development Coordinator kicked off the banquet by quoting Walt Whitman: “The universe is a procession, with measured and beautiful motion.”
This idea, Manno said, that everything is a form of motion can also be applied to our definition of leadership.
“Leadership is not an office or position,” Manno said. “It is action, it is an ability to move or move others with you towards a common goal.”
Provost Mohamed El-Aasser presented Julia Sterrett ’07 and Tyler Rock ’07 with the Bosey Reiter Leadership Cup. The award’s criteria is defined chiefly in terms of moral character and “a just regard for the rights of others, together with the unflinching determination to succeed, no matter what obstacles and barriers have to be beaten down.”
Sterrett, well-known and well-liked, was described as a determined leader who has shown her ability on the athletic field, the classroom and in working with the other members of the Lehigh community.
“Her management of the Athletic Department’s ‘Adopt-a-Family’ program as well as her involvement with the COACH program are testimonies to her commitment to others,” her nominator wrote. “She represents the highest traditions of our university and has made a tremendous impact on the Lehigh community and will do the same as she moves on to her next challenge.”
Rock has served the Lehigh community, as well as the Greek community, with distinction and dedication. As a member and leader in his fraternity Sigma Phi Epsilon, he was instrumental in helping his chapter achieve Gold status in accreditation.
Wrote his nominator: “As president of the Interfraternity Council, he pushed the organization to be on the forefront of sweeping changes to ensure that all chapters embrace the concepts of diversity and inclusion.”
Christina Diggs ’07 and Devin Dobson ‘07 were honored with the University Service Award presented by President Alice P. Gast. The University Service Award honors seniors whose influence, ideals, and activities have been devoted unselfishly to serving the best interests of Lehigh and fellow students.
Diggs was honored for her academic accomplishments, her tireless efforts for improving the climate at Lehigh and for her involvement in a variety of groups and activities such as Spectrum and Phi Eta Sigma. Diggs has also served as a Gryphon, a facilitator for the “Building Bridges for Peace” program, and was a Roy Eckardt scholar.
“She is nothing short of phenomenal and inspiring at such a young age,” her nominators wrote. “She is a tireless advocate for improving the climate at Lehigh, particularly in the areas of LGBTQA issues and sexual violence. I cannot think of another student taking such a well-rounded, impactful approach to creating lasting change on our campus.”
Dobson was honored for his success as a student-athlete, mentor, and as a change-agent on Lehigh’s campus.
Dobson was a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, the National Society of Black Engineers, the Lehigh football team, served as a peer educator in the office of Career Services and as spokesperson for the Movement.
In his role with the Movement, he “mobilized minority students to share their experiences, while working with majority students to help them find their place in the fight towards multiculturalism,” his nominator wrote.
Lehigh University Emergency Medical Service (LUEMS) received the Student Senate Organization of the Year Award.
Cara Diorio ’07, Alexandra Milspaw ’07 and Richard Sypeck ’08 all received the Student Senate Leadership Award. The award was established by Lehigh’s Student Senate to recognize juniors and seniors who exhibit outstanding leadership skills in aspects of student life through student government, student organizations or athletics.
Jeffrey Abel ’07 received the Residence Hall Association Character Award, which recognizes a student who has worked to improve student life at Lehigh in Residential Services or Residential Life. Abel’s nominators wrote: “Abel is a dedicated, central figure in thinking outside-the-box. He is intelligent, creative and highly personable.”
Rich Sypeck ’08 and Nina Granberry ’08 both received the Ujima Award, which recognizes students who have taken responsibility for and worked collectively with others to create a more inclusive campus community.
The Contribution to Student Life Award recognizes Lehigh seniors who have significantly contributed to the improvement and quality of student life during their years at Lehigh. Each nominee was considered because of their involvement in campus activities, campus governance, community service, leadership within student organizations, academic initiatives and their pursuits to empower and support their peers. The recipients of the Contribution to Student Life Award were Jeffrey Abel, Ali Bachani, Lisa Catullo, Anna Childson, Rahil Darbar, Christina Diggs, Cara Diorio, Devin Dobson, Marisa Enrico, Alexandra Ganim, Christina Gray, Sabrina Harris, Allison Heinly, Adam Hyncik, Gemma Kite, Olivier Lewis, Breana Love, Heather McFall, Alexandra Milspaw, Ashwath Muralidharan, Carly Newhardt, Nickita Nickitas, Tyler Rock, Julia Sterrett, Laura Stoffel, Justin Stroup, Megan Turner, Megan Ward, Brennan Wiggins and Jason Worrall.
The Service Above Self Award honors students or student organizations who best exemplify the qualities of caring and concern for others through their participation in or coordination of volunteer and service activities. This year’s recipients were graduate student Sabrina Harris and Jill Engels ’08.
The Alumni Association awarded Anne Boig and Cara Diorio the Undergraduate Merit Award. Ryan Deacon received the Graduate Student Merit Award. These awards recognize seniors and graduate students who by exemplary character, personality, scholarship and participation in extracurricular activities, represent the highest traditions of Lehigh University.
The Graduate Student Life Office awarded Ryan Wynne and Patrick Belmont the Graduate Student Life Award. The award recognizes outstanding graduate student leaders who have shown exemplary scholarship, leadership and service to the Lehigh graduate student community.
The Student Life Leadership Award recognizes extraordinary performance as a student leader at Lehigh. Three senior students were presented this award, judged by program development and implementation, for their work to bridge cultural differences and to enhance multiculturism, participation in student governance, and for their overall positive impact on Lehigh students. This year’s recipients were Jeffrey Abel, Cara Diorio and Sabrina Harris.