By Blake Silberberg ’13
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:
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.