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Student Life Awards to honor top campus leaders

April 15, 2016

Rocky on a red carpetNineteen individuals and four groups will be honored on Thursday, April 21, at the College’s annual Student Life Awards dinner.

The event will be hosted by Matthew Burns, dean of students, in the May Room at Wilson Commons.

Sponsored by the Office of the Dean of Students, the Student Life Awards recognize undergraduate students who have significantly and positively affected the University or surrounding community through service to others, investment of talent and time, and pursuit of excellence.

The awards, also known as “the Rockys,” are divided into two categories: Individual Leadership Awards and Student Organization and Programming Awards.

Students are nominated by faculty, staff, and peers. This year, 240 students were nominated.

All of the winners will receive engraved glass trophies and certificates at Thursday’s dinner.

Here are this year’s winners:

Andrew Fried Prize: Syed Muhammad Miqdad ’19 (chemical engineering)

Syed Muhammad Miqdad

Established by friends and family in 1961 in memory of Andrew Norman Fried ‘61. It’s awarded to a man who, during his freshman year, shows outstanding qualities of character, superior moral judgment, and interest in serving his fellow students.

Delno Sisson Prize: Vitumbiko Kambilonje ’19 (undecided)


In 1967, this award was established by a gift from Delno Sisson ‘67. It is awarded annually to a freshman who has overcome obstacles to successfully transition into and adjust to college academic life.

Award for Freshman Leadership: Henry Dean ’19 (voice performance)

Henry Dean

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

Eli & Mildred Sokol Prize: Nirupama Muralidharan ’18 (health, behavior, and society)

Nirupama Muralidharan

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

Award for Campus Contributions: Samantha Andrew ’17 (molecular genetics and violin performance) and Samantha Lish ’16 (public health and English)

Samantha Andrew

Samantha Andrew

Samantha Lish

Samantha Lish

Awarded to one junior and one senior who have 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 S. Terry Prize: Pedro Vallejo-Ramirez ’16 (optical engineering)

Pedro Vallejo-Ramirez

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: Ulrik Soderstrom ’16 (data science and environmental studies)

Ulrik Soderstrom

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

Transfer Student Award: Yinou Zhang ’16 (mathematics and economics)

Yinuo Zhang

This award, recognizing the unique role of transfer students to the campus community, is given to a student who transferred with sophomore standing or above, and has completed two semesters of study at the University. The recipient will have demonstrated a quick and successful transition to the institution and will have taken full advantage of the time spent at the University.

Simeon Cheatham Award: Jane Clinger ’16 (psychology)

Jane Clinger

Established in the 1970s by the Office of the Dean of 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: Melissa Holloway ’16 (neuroscience and political science)

Melissa Holloway

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

Award for Athletic Leadership: Gabriella Goddette ’17 (neuroscience)

Gabby Goddette

This award recognizes the positive contributions athletes make to the campus community. It is awarded to a student-athlete who has contributed to campus life and demonstrated leadership within their club or varsity sport.

Presidential Award for Community Service: Lynn Miro ’16 (international relations)

Lynn Miro

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.

Social Entrepreneurship Award: Omar Soufan ‘17 (biomedical engineering) and Ibrahim Mohammad ’17 (mechanical engineering and mathematics)

Omar Soufan

Omar Soufan

Ibrahim Mohammad

Ibrahim Mohammad

This award is given to a student or group of students who have pursued an innovative idea with the potential to enhance community or to address a pervasive community issue. Community may be defined as on or off campus. These entrepreneurs demonstrate creativity and a willingness to seize an opportunity for positive change by engaging others to develop their idea or opportunity.

Award for Outstanding Fraternity and Sorority Leadership: Michaela Cronin ‘16 (brain and cognitive science)

Michaela Cronin

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.

Logan R. Hazen Award for Outstanding Contribution to Residential Life: William O’Brien ’16 (religion) and Mary Russek ’16 (violin performance and music education)

Will O'Brien

Will O’Brien

Mary Russek

Mary Russek

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. These students, through their actions, leadership and innovation havepromoted community through respect, fairness, and inclusion.”

Michael Lowenstein Memorial Award: Charlisa Goodlet ’17 (political science and African-American studies)

Charlisa Goodlet

This award, named for Michael Lowenstein, Class of 1960 is presented to the River Campus undergraduate who deepens student, faculty, and community awareness of existing social, racial, or political inequities. This undergraduate 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.

The Communal Principles Award: Black Students’ Union

Five women, members of the Black Students' UnionEstablished in the 2011-12 academic year by the Office of the Dean of Students, this award will be given annually to the student(s) or organization that best promote(s) the Communal Principle that is highlighted annually. The recipients will have demonstrated qualities that exemplify the principle and/or created programming and activities related to the highlighted Communal Principle.

The Communal Principle highlighted this year is fairness. The principles of fairness and openness are fundamental to the operations of the community, its processes for decision making, problem solving, and doing the work of the institution. Every person has the right to, and should expect, fair treatment according to openly stated and clearly articulated expectations, policies, and procedures and in accordance with the fundamental rights and privileges of a free society. Every person is encouraged in parallel ways to use fair and open methods of communication and action, including wherever possible, those provided by existing institutional channels, in voicing concerns and seeking solutions to problems.

Student Organization and Programming Awards

Outstanding Student Organization Award: Women’s Rugby

four women holding a rugby ballAwarded to an undergraduate, University-recognized 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: Muslim Students’ Association & Sigma Beta Rho Islamophobia Panel

five studentsEstablished in 2004, the award recognizes a program that was cosponsored 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.

Award for Excellence in Programming: Hartnett Art Gallery #ferguson

three womenThe Excellence in Program Planning 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.

Last September, Hartnett featured the exhibit #Ferguson: New Works by Brice Olen Robinson. Robinson grew up in Ferguson, Missouri. In the exhibition, he investigated the tension in that city during the August 2014 racial protests.


Category: Student Life

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