Campus Leaders Recognized During Student Life Awards Ceremony

By Blake Silberberg ’13
Univ. Communications

Each spring the Office of the Dean of Students recognizes undergraduate students who have made significant contributions to campus life. Nominated by faculty, staff, and peers, Student Life Award recipients represent diverse interests, talents, and accomplishments. Winners are selected on the basis of their leadership and engagement in campus life and positive influence on peers, all of which help the community become stronger now and in the future.

Sponsored by the Office of the Dean of Students and organized by the Rochester Center for Community Leadership, the 2013 awards recognized 17 individuals and 3 organizations. “I think the winners represent a large demographic that follows their passions and gives back to others in all sorts of ways,” said Ed Feldman, associate director of leadership programs at the Rochester Center for Community Leadership and chair of the selection committee.  He added that he felt inspired by the winners whose “values center around an inherent desire to better themselves and in return make a positive social change in the campus and Rochester community.”

The Douglass Leadership House, this year’s winner of the Outstanding Student Organization Award, is a first year organization. Named after Rochester icon Frederick Douglass, the mission of the Douglass Leadership House (DLH) is to celebrate and raise awareness of the black experience including its culture, politics, history, and Diasporic roots. The organization helped host numerous events on campus, including a lecture featuring author Jeanne Theoharis, who spoke about her book, The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks, in March.

Neuroscience major Kory Buresh ’13  was this year’s recipient of the Seth H. & Harriet Terry Prize, an award given to a male member of the senior class “who, by his industry, character, and honorable conduct, has done the most for the life and character of the undergraduate community.” Buresh and Sam Tramontano ’13 are co-creative directors of this year’s ArtAwake planning committee this spring. Together, they worked closely with advisor Stacy Fisher and the other student directors to iron out the legal and logistical details of planning the art and music festival. Buresh also is an RA, a member of the men’s club volleyball team, and was co-chair for College’s Against Cancer’s “Think Pink” week. Buresh was very surprised and honored to have won the award: “It’s actually a really nice feeling,” he said. “I’ve always felt as though I was an active member of the student body and it’s cool to know that others have recognized the things I do.”

The 2013 Student Life Award recipients are as follows:

Individual Awards:

Andrew Fried Prize: Pedro Vallejo Ramirez

Established by friends and family in 1961 in memory of Andrew Norman Fried, class of 1961. This prize is awarded to the man who, upon completion of his freshman year, has shown outstanding qualities of character, superior moral judgment, and interest in serving his fellow students.


Delno Sisson Prize: Oluwatobi Abubakare

In 1957, this award was established by a gift from Delno Sisson, class of 1966. This prize is awarded annually to the freshman who has shown the most improvement not only in academic work, but also in adjusting to college life and the student body.


Award for Freshman Leadership: Samantha Lish

This award recognizes an exceptional man or woman of the freshman class who has motivated his or her fellow classmates to become actively involved in the campus community.


Eli & Mildred Sokol Prize: Justine King

This award was established in 1985 by a gift from Eli and Mildred Sokol, class of 1933. This prize is awarded to a sophomore who has emerged as a leader who can be expected to contribute significantly to the welfare of his or her fellow students in the next two years.


Award for Campus Contributions: Annalise Baird (SR) and Jonathan Johnson (JR)

Two awards, one each presented to a junior and senior class member who has made significant contributions to the University community, including, but not limited to, campus life, academic achievement and leadership, and community service. The award winner will have promoted and demonstrated excellence in all aspects of their college experience.



Seth H. & Harriet Terry Prize: Kory Buresh

Established in 1928 as a gift from Seth H. Terry, class of 1883, in memory of his parents. This award is given to the male member of the senior class who, by his industry, character and honorable conduct, has done the most for the life and character of the undergraduate community.


Percy Dutton Prize: Oladoyin Oladeru

This prize was established in 1946 as a gift from Percy Dutton. This award is given to the male member of the graduating class who has excelled in “wholesome, unselfish and helpful influence” among his fellow students.


Award for Outstanding Fraternity and Sorority Leadership: Kyle Coapman

This award recognizes the positive contributions fraternities and sororities make to the campus community. It is awarded to a fraternity or sorority member who has led with integrity within their fraternal organization while also making significant contributions to the greater campus community.


Simeon Cheatham Award: Melissa Gaitan

Established in the 1970s by the Office of the Dean of Students to recognize outstanding University of Rochester students. This award is given to a student who has outstanding qualities in devotion to community service and to growth and development of children.


Rob Rouzer Award for Excellence in Student Government Leadership: Michael Dymond

Established in honor of his 28 years of service to the University of Rochester, the Rob Rouzer Award is conferred annually to a student affiliated with either of the three branches of the Students’ Association Government who has shown immense integrity and perseverance in striving to improve student life and welfare.


Logan Hazen Award for Outstanding Contributions to Residential Life: Cathy Christian

This award is given annually to the student who has “made significant contributions to the community and experience of students living in undergraduate residence halls. This student, through his or her actions, leadership, and innovation has promoted community through respect, fairness, and inclusion.”


Award for Athletic Leadership: Jon Richardson

This award recognizes the positive contributions athletes make to the campus community. It is awarded to a student athlete who has demonstrated leadership within their club or varsity sport while also making significant contributions to other aspects of campus life.


Presidential Award for Community Service: Alyssa Abel

Established by the Dean of Students in 1990 to recognize University students who are committed to community service. Given to a senior for outstanding participation and leadership in service to the community beyond the campus, this award recognizes a student who has worked selflessly and effectively in addressing social causes.  Areas of focus include, but are not limited to, improving literacy, reducing hunger and hopelessness, providing legal or medical assistance to the needy, and serving as a mentor.


Entrepreneurship Award: Marissa Balonon-Rosen

The award for entrepreneurship is given to a student, or group of students, who has turned an idea into a venture that benefited others. The recipient will have demonstrated individual initiative and knowledge through awareness of markets and attention to the needs of others.


Michael Lowenstein Memorial Award: Makia Green

This award, named for Michael Lowenstein, class of 1960 is presented to the University of Rochester River Campus undergraduate who deepens student, faculty, and community awareness of existing social, racial, or political inequities. This undergraduate through his/her words and actions has endeavored to promote the ideals which Michael cherished. Michael sought to give a fresh view of things around us, to focus upon issues, to probe deeply using fact and objectivity and to open a dialogue with the community to find some answers. (Not pictured.)

The Communal Principles Award: Kelly Scull

Established by the Office of the Dean of Students during the 2011-2012 academic year, this award is given annually to the student(s) or organization that best promote(s) the Communal Principals, as adopted by The College. These principles include Fairness, Freedom, Honesty, Inclusion, Respect, and Responsibility. One of these six principles will be highlighted annually and the recipient will have demonstrated qualities that exemplify the principles and/or created programming and activities related to this year’s Communal Principle – Responsibility.


Student Organization and Programming Awards

Excellence in Programming: Undergraduate Religion and Classics Council

This Excellence in Programming Award recognizes a student organization or group, either formal or informal, for its exceptional creativity, planning, and execution of a University program. Criteria upon which decisions are based include appeal to a broad cross-section of the University community, originality, and participation by members of the organization during all phases of the effort.


Outstanding Student Organization Award: Douglass Leadership House

Awarded to a student organization that has gone beyond the bounds of their membership by helping to create a positive campus environment for all students.


Award for Excellence in Creative Co-sponsorship: Eastman Welcome Weekend

This award recognizes a program that was co-sponsored by a minimum of two organizations or groups. The cosponsored program should have been a new effort, one that brought together different facets of campus, and which served to build and strengthen the campus community.


Rochester Fraternity and Sorority Affairs Staff Members Honored

Univ. Communications – Two members of the University of Rochester’s Fraternity and Sorority Affairs (FSA) unit within the Office of the Dean of Students were honored during the Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors (AFA) annual meeting in St. Louis, Mo., last month. The AFA is a professional organization for individuals concerned with the advisement of fraternities and sororities.

John DiSarro, assistant director of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs at Rochester, was awarded the 2011 Essentials Award for an article he wrote for AFA’s monthly e-newsletter, Essentials. DiSarro’s article, titled Using Restorative Circles to Resolve a Fraternal Crisis, was included in the June 2011 issue and explored the lessons learned from incorporating alternative dispute resolution processes in FSA’s judicial procedures. The Essentials Award recognizes authors who have written thought-provoking pieces that present relevant and practical ideas to AFA members. DiSarro’s article was selected from a pool of more than 50.

DiSarro, a native of Bethlehem, Pa., joined Fraternity and Sorority Affairs in 2007 as a graduate assistant while he pursued a master’s degree in education leadership and higher education student affairs from the University’s Warner School of Education. DiSarro, who is a member of Alpha Chi Rho fraternity, graduated summa cum laude from the State University of New York at Geneseo.

Tara Leigh Sands, the Expectations for Excellence graduate assistant in FSA, received the AFA’s Marlin Bradley Ally Scholarship, which covered the registration costs associated with attending the conference.

Sands, a native of New Jersey, joined FSA in 2008 after completing a degree at Western Carolina University. At Western Carolina, she served as a Greek Assistant Resident Director, supervising and training a team of student house managers and managing the Greek Village Budget. She also was a graduate advisor for the College Panhellenic Council, where she coordinated formal recruitment efforts and served on the Greek Life Advisory Committee. Sands, who joined Gamma Phi Beta sorority as an alumnae initiate in fall 2009, is currently pursuing a degree from the Warner School.

Additionally, Monica Miranda Smalls, director of FSA at Rochester and AFA’s outgoing president, ended her term by presenting the inaugural Monica L. Miranda Smalls Scholarship. Similar to the Marlin Bradley Ally Scholarship, this award is given to a young professional or graduate student and offsets the cost of attending the organization’s annual conference. It is the first scholarship created that gives preference to members of culturally-based fraternities and sororities in an effort to increase access for underrepresented members of AFA.

Smalls, who was inducted as AFA’s president in 2010, is a member of two other professional organizations, the NASPA: Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education and the American College Personnel Association (ACPA). She has been actively involved with her sorority, Omega Phi Beta, for 18 years and served as the inaugural chair of the Board of Trustees from 2008 to 2009. Smalls also is enrolled in the educational leadership program at the Warner School of Education.

Founded in 1976, the Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors provides support and professional development for its 1,700 members by fostering partnerships across higher education and offering innovative resources and services to those involved in advising fraternities and sororities.

Article written by Melissa Greco Lopes, editor of The Buzz and student life publicist in University Communications. Photos courtesy of Monica Miranda Smalls, Fraternity and Sorority Affairs.

CPP Offers Programming Grants

Office of the Dean of Students – The Communal Principles Project, an initiative of the College coordinated by the Office of the Dean of Students, is seeking proposals for programs that represent the communal principle of respect.

As a principle, Respect is defined by the College’s Statement of Communal Principles as: “Respect for the basic dignity of self and others is essential to this community. Every person has the right to be treated with respect, regardless of the many differences that distinguish individuals and groups. Respect involves showing regard for others’ well-being and safety as well as for their personal property, personal space, and for their living, learning, and working activities. In addition, members of this community also have a responsibility to respect the properties and functions of the institution.”

In effort to encourage undergraduates of the College to develop a program or activity that exemplifies the spirit and purpose of respect to our community, the CPP is offering groups the chance to submit a proposal to be considered for a grant to help fund their programs. For more information on proposal submission and guidelines, visit