Skip to main content

Family Pillar Award

OMSA and Parent & Family Relations Writing Contest

The Family Pillar Award is given in honor of the significant contributions, sacrifices, and support that family members make in the lives of seniors supported by the Office of Minority Student Affairs (OMSA). OMSA and Parent and Family Relations invite students to submit a writing entry about a family member who has influenced their lives here at Rochester and beyond. Entries are judged by a committee of faculty and staff.

This contest provides OMSA-supported graduating seniors with an opportunity to recognize parents, grandparents, or other family members whose love, support, and guidance have had a significant influence on his/her achievements and success, both academically and personally.

About the Contest

Author Gail Lumet Buckley wrote, “Family faces are like magic mirrors. Looking at people who belong to us, we see the past, present, and future.” Using this quote as a guide, please explain how your parent, grandparent, or other family member has positively influenced your past and present. Share how this influence has contributed to your personal growth and academic success at the University of Rochester and how you plan to use this influence as you look toward your future. The family member referenced in your entry will be nominated to receive this year’s Family Pillar Award.

To enter, you must be an OMSA-supported graduating senior. Entries must be 500–750 words in length for essay or other writing submissions, and a minimum of one page for poetry submissions.

Entries will be judged and the award recipient selected using the following criteria:

  • Thoughtful reflection on the positive influence illustrated and the ways in which the nominee has helped to prepare a brighter future for the student.
  • Clear and concise development of points.
  • Appropriate grammatical correctness and sentence structure.

Deadline and Submission Details [Heading 3]

Submissions are no longer being accepted.

Note: The deadline for submissions was Wednesday, May 3, 2017.

Recognition and Prizes

A selection committee will review all writing submissions. All nominees will receive a congratulatory letter and a copy of the submission. Recognition of the winning submission and the award recipient(s) will occur during the OMSA Annual Senior Dinner in May.

The student who writes the winning submission will be presented with a University gift basket and the winner(s) of the Family Pillar Award will be presented with a plaque.

Past Winners:

  • 2016—Beverly Aiyanyor, written by her sister, Michelle Aiyanyor
  • 2015—Jessica Colorado, essay written by her sister, Amy Colorado
  • 2014—In memory of Martin Quinonez, essay written by his son, Eduardo Quinonez
  • 2013—George and Afiwa Kothor, essay written by their daughter, Marius Kothor
  • 2012—Michael Conover, essay written by son, Neftali Morales
  • 2011—Daisy Benson, essay written by her daughter, Lynn Benson
  • 2010—Winsome Brissett, essay written by her daughter, Kayann Williams
  • 2009—Cynthia German, essay written by her brother Robert Duran
  • 2008—Deborah Willis, essay written by Paulette Cooke