2012 Distinguished Leadership Awards
In a ceremony held on February 29 in the Welsh Hills Room of Burton D. Morgan Center, Denison’s Vice President of Student Affairs Laurel Kennedy presented the university’s 2012 Distinguished Leadership Award to 25 deserving seniors.
The honor is awarded annually to graduating seniors recognizing their extraordinary commitment to excellence, leadership and dedication to Denison and surrounding communities. About this year’s event, Dr. Kennedy said, “When we first surveyed the list of applicants for this award, the members of the Selection Committee could not help but feel daunted by our task: the Class of 2012 is truly wonderful, with extraordinary leadership demonstrated by so many across the many avenues of Denison life. Selecting the 25 students who we honor today was very challenging, and we are grateful for the time and energy from recommenders that helped us to understand each of these leaders’ contributions."
Kennedy added, “We looked for evidence of long-lasting impact not just on individual students, but also on the college, a legacy of some kind, from changing the way an organization operates to creating a new program or increasing organizational effectiveness. We wanted to honor students who had engaged effectively while upholding their commitments as students, as suggested by achievement of a GPA at or near the average for the senior class, which is 3.25. We also sought students who had respected one another and the values of the institution by honoring our codes of student conduct. We selected those 25 students who represent 5% of the graduating class, whom we believed best represented distinguished leadership at Denison. ”
This year’s awardees, listed below, exemplify a remarkably broad and diverse range of interests, contributions, and achievements. Click any name for a profile of the student’s accomplishments and Dr. Kennedy’s presentation remarks.
B.A., English Literature; Centerburg, Ohio
Burpees Seedy Theatrical Company - President; Break Away - Site Leader; DCGA - Senator, Rules Committee and Appeals Board; University Honor Council Eta Sigma Phi - Treasurer
Presentation remarks: Bob, I am very pleased to begin the awards with you, because your leadership record reflects some of the finest aspects of character one might seek in a leader: humility, genuineness, a thoughtful awareness of others, and the capacity to look ahead and to plan and prepare for success. In your essays for this Award, you gave all the credit for your accomplishments to others, who you said had helped you to develop the confidence to engage and contribute to the Denison community.
Your integrity shines through in the comments of your recommenders. Kale Hills wrote, "Bob considers the purpose of any position he engages with it." and Marissa Ortiz wrote that you are not afraid to be passionate about the things that matter most to you, and that you have thrown your whole self into your endeavors. You noted the pleasure of encouraging others to develop and grow; your recommenders make clear that the support and care you show for others has the effect of setting a high standard and inducing your peers to want to meet you there. Fred Porcheddu described you as a "downright good young man." You have been an intellectual leader, a champion for the marriage of the arts and community service, and a committed representative of your peers in student government and the University Honor Council. In the process, you have become both beloved and admired. Congratulations, Bob.
B.A., Political Science; Findlay, Ohio
S.H.A.R.E. - Vice President of Education, Advocate, On-call; CSMART - Education Committee Member; Listening for a Change - Co-moderator; Break Away - Site Leader
Presentation remarks: Emily, the list of contributions you have made at Denison is long and varied, including Breakaway, America Reads, Delta Gamma, DCGA, Listening for a Change, and of course SHARE. Those who have watched your development as a campus leader would note the common threads of support for others, and service to the whole. Particularly in the case of SHARE, you have gone well beyond offering support to victims of sexual assault. Crystal Lapidus-Mann wrote that you "worked tirelessly to create and implement new initiatives, like the Handprint Project, to educate our community about sexual misconduct and ways to prevent it."
Your recommenders note that you are never NOT doing the work that inspires you. McKenzie Hull wrote that you continue the important conversations about women's issues with friends and acquaintances, because this is how you can live out your commitment to making Denison a place where everyone feels valued and respected. You have inspired your peers with your example as you have challenged yourself to develop the skills that would make you an effective leader and agent of change. If there is a common thread to the sentiments of your recommenders, it is that you live an integrated life, in which your values correspond with your actions. As Dean Neff wrote in her recommendation, your work with SHARE, C-SMART, and the innumerable other organizations you have supported have resulted in Denison being a much better place than you found it four years ago. Thank you, Emily.
B.S., Biochemistry; Navarre, Ohio
DCGA Class of 2012 - Senator; Resident Assistant – 3 years; Alpha Epsilon Delta National Pre-Health Honorary - President; Denison University Club Basketball - Founder and President; Delta Chi Fraternity - Vice President and IFC delegate; Sustained Dialogue - Moderator and Member
Presentation remarks: Ryan, you have a very long list of activities and types of involvement while at Denison. Your faculty say you have been a classroom leader, a person who, in the words of Peter Kuhlman, “lives” the characteristics that faculty most appreciate: diligence, curiosity, respect for your fellow students and a sense of personal responsibility. You have been active in service as a four-year volunteer for Big Brothers Big Sisters, a Sustained Dialogue moderator, DCGA Senator, an RA and an active and positive representative of the Denison Greek community. And you have been an athlete who has left varsity sports but carried your passion for basketball to the formation of an outstanding club team, which will live on after you have left as a result of the foundations you carefully built.
Your recommenders describe the impact you have had on campus in all of these venues, and credit you with having developed excellent conflict management and communication skills, and an astute ability to take on the perspectives of others. They focus on what Suzanne Baker called “a reciprocal human element,” connecting with and understanding others in order to achieve positive outcomes. Your leadership effectiveness, your recommenders agree, lies in your compassion for others and your genuineness, as well as your good nature. Congratulations, Ryan.
Eun Hyun (Dolly) Cho
B.A. English Literature; Olongapo City, Phillipines
University Programming Council - Director of Denison Lecture Series; Campus Leadership & Involvement Center; DU LEAD 2011 - On-Site Coordinator, Leadership Fellow; Admissions - Senior Interviewer; Asian Culture Club - Secretary; After School Tutoring
Presentation remarks: In your essays, you wrote about discovering at Denison that leadership was less about famous personages and more about being an effective force for change, especially in the area of cultural diversity. Your involvement as a Leadership Fellow, as president of UPC and co-coordinator of DU Lead was characterized by Natalie Pariano as "sheer excellence" Natalie also notes that your achievement reflected perseverance as you found your place as an international transfer student at Denison.
In finding a home here, you modeled good decision-making, reliability and follow-through. Abdi Ali praised your effectiveness in forming partnerships between Denison's leadership development programs and student organizations, attracting a wider array of campus constituencies to Leadershape in particular. Abdi also described the effective balance you strike between support of organizations, like the Asian Culture Club, and individual students, like the Korean students you met and mentored at Denison. In your application essay you wrote about being moved by the question, "How will you make your mark?" Your own hopeful answer was that you tried to inspire others to realize their visions of a better future. It is clear that you were successful, and that you made a lasting mark on Denison. Congratulations, Dolly.
B.S. Biology; Carmel, Ind.
DCGA - Class Senator, Speaker, Treasurer; Greek Woman of the Year 2010; Kappa Kappa Gamma - Membership Chair; Resident Assistant–3 years; Admissions - Senior Interviewer; Varsity Women’s Tennis, 2009-2011
Presentation remarks: Elizabeth, your record of leadership and service is as comprehensive as the Denison catalog: Greek life, Residence Life, student government, varsity athletics, academics, service, Admissions. It was ironic, from a person as involved as you, to read the essay in which you assert that whatever experiences Denisonians seek beyond the classroom, they are students seeking academic enlightenment above all else. Fortunately, you made sense of this statement with your next paragraph, in which you explained that the unifying theme of the Denison mission statement is in the concepts of action and activity.
All your activity, it appears, has been in the quest for excellence. Elyse Schultz wrote that you fostered for yourself and others an environment of academic and personal growth in each of the settings you've encountered. Elyse writes that you had organizational skills that enabled you to be widely engaged,as well as academic perseverance, a sense of responsibility, and the courage and determination to hold yourself and others accountable to the highest standard of in all things. Your essay said that you had learned through experience that leadership by example is the most powerful way to influence others. And this, in the end, is how you have perhaps most clearly affected the campus: in providing that example to your residents, your sorority pledges, your teammates and fellow athletes, and your DCGA colleagues. You have held positions of importance and effected lasting change in each setting, but cumulatively it is your example that will be best remembered by individuals across our campus. Congratulations, Elizabeth.
B.A. French and International Studies; Clarendon Hills, Ill.
The Denisonian - Managing Editor; Denison Career Exploration & Development - Professional Development Fellow; Career Exploration & Development - Member of Search Committee for Assistant Director; Admissions - Senior Interviewer; Kappa Kappa Gamma - Ritual Chair; International Studies Program Committee - Student Representative
Presentation remarks: Christy, your work with the Denisonian, writing clear-eyed and informative stories in service to the campus as well as your work as one of the inaugural Career Exploration Professional Development Fellows, presented primary opportunities for you to act in a leadership role. Like many of your peers, you have committed yourself in many ways during your time at Denison. In both cases, you held positions at make-it-or-break-it moments, when a sense of purpose and a great deal of energy were essential to success.
Ashley Strausser was one of your recommenders, and Ashley mentioned your own appraisal of your impact on the students and groups with whom you worked, as you shared your experience and perspective with enthusiasm and dynamism. Alan Miller, the advisor to the Denisonian, wrote that you have the special skills and temperament to bring effective leadership to the Managing Editor role, a position that involves a fair amount of herding of cats. Your recommenders agree that you have earned the respect of your peers in these settings and others by being kind, finding the fun in any situation, and operating with a strong moral compass. Thank you for these contributions to Denison. Congratulations.
B.S. Biology; Strongsville, Ohio
Equestrian Team - President; Resident Assistant – 2 years; Coalition for Campus Conversation and Change (4C) - Founding Member and President; Bluegrass Ensemble; D-Day Committee
Presentation remarks: Becky, your Denison story is truly one of transformation. You have grown and changed, becoming bold, even outspoken in the quest for positive change on our campus, while sustaining a balanced life as an accomplished equestrian and musician. Students know you in any of a number of settings: the Bandersnatch, bluegrass circles, D-Day, Res Ed, but I wonder how many realize the extent of your engagement in all of these.
Your own essays describe your decision that you would not be a bystander to your college experience, but that you would step up. You have become known in the very ways you hoped: as a person of principle, who will challenge authority from a place of care for others. I have admired you for as long as I have known you, and the same is true for your recommenders, who give testament to your will to improve our community through conversation, even difficult conversation. You have represented students very well, Becky. You have been an articulate and passionate spokesperson for a healthy campus culture, one that is characterized by respect, intelligent debate, and courage. Thank you for your many contributions. Congratulations.
B.A. Sociology/Anthropology and International Studies; Dallas, Texas
Denison Religious Understanding - Co-President; Break Away - Site Leader; Denison Service Orientation - Group Leader, Co-Coordinator; Amnesty International - Chapter President; Sustained Dialogue - Moderator
Presentation remarks: Meg, there are many ways that progress can be made. Mark Orten describes yours as “quietly extraordinary.” Your activities coalesce, your recommenders agree, around a passion for peace and reconciliation, and the use of dialogue to understand and appreciate different perspectives and experiences. As an effective DSO and Breakaway leader, the president of Amnesty International, and a leading member of Denison Religious Understanding and Sustained Dialogue, you are well known for these traits, which Steven Profitt described so well: “a compassionate heart, a sharp intellect, formidable work ethic and a passion for social justice.” Anyone who has worked with you knows that Denison is just the beginning, and that you will continue to influence lives by asking good questions, making astute observations, and offering ideas and energy to effect change. Thank you, Meg.
B.A. Communication and International Studies; Lawrence, Mass.
La Fuerza Latina - President, Vice President, Community Senator; Sustained Dialogue - Moderator, Public Relations; Denison Community Association - Secretary, Public Relations; Communication Department Fellow; Lambda Pi Eta Communications Department Honorary - Vice President, Public Relations; Sigma Lambda Gamma National Sorority Inc, - Founding Member
Presentation remarks: Genesis, many of us recall the early days of La Fuerza Latina, when it was an organization that supported a handful - actually 4 or 5 - students. During your time at Denison, you have contributed incredible energy to making sure this organization was vital, recognized, and respected. You have served on the Executive Board and represented La Fuerza in DCGA. Throughout this time, LaFuerza’s membership has grown and it has come to be seen as a prominent student organization on our campus. Throughout the same period, you brought Sigma Lambda Gamma, the Latina Greek organization, to Denison.
But to say that you have substantially improved the opportunities and supports for Latina women at Denison would be to understate your impact. You have been a driving force in the Denison Community Association and Sustained Dialogue, as well as a leader among students in Communication and Women's Studies. You served on the Paving the Way staff and you have generally been an outspoken advocate for positive change on our campus. Your recommenders attribute your effectiveness to the coherence of your commitments, noting that the organizations and activities in which you invest yourself are complementary. You have been skilled at taking the lessons of the one and applying it to another.
As Natalie Aguilar wrote, you reflect upon and learn from every situation you are in, and you apply those lessons when the opportunity presents itself. Your recommenders, and your peers across campus, view you as a person - a woman - of integrity, passion, and strength. As Sakeenah Chapman wrote, your contributions both inside the classroom and beyond it will be long lasting, though we will feel your absence nonetheless. Thank you.
B.A. Economics and Environmental Studies; Ann Arbor, Mich.
DCGA - Class of 2012 Representative, Projects Committee Chair, Elections Committee Chair; D-Day - Committee Member; Break Away - Site Leader; Academic Affairs Council - Student Representative; University Honor Committee Member and Academic Integrity Board - Co-Chair; August Orientation - Student Leader
Presentation remarks: Audrey, your impact on Denison has been absolutely clear in the minds of the many individuals touched by your work.In your recommendation, Kim Coplin describes how you were “the primary student member on the ‘transition team’” that moved Denison from its old academic integrity policy to the new one. In addition to serving on the both the old and new hearing Boards and doing tremendous service in that capacity, you brought creativity and a student voice to strategies for introducing the new system, like the handprint banner you developed so that students could pledge their commitment to integrity. You are credited by your peers for similar energy and inventiveness in DCGA, with D-Day and the concept of Spirit Week. These are settings where success is almost entirely a function of the leadership in any given year, and your recommenders leave no doubt about your success ratio: it was very high.
Abram Kaplan says that your “quiet leadership” has permeated Denison, through governance, environmental affairs, social action, community service, and the orientation of new students. In your own essay, you wrote that as you took on more and more of these responsibilities, you gained an increasing understanding of the potential that students have to make change in the college. Your work will continue to affect the college long after you have gone, in ways of which you can be very proud. You have stood for our dearest values as an institution. We thank you for being such a strong voice for the values of integrity, inclusiveness, hard work, and enthusiasm for new challenges.
B.A. Political Science and Cinema; Kansas City, Mo.
DCGA - Vice President, Senator; Beta Theta Pi - Ritual Chair; Resident Assistant – 3 years; Denison University Theatre - Actor and Writer; Burpee’s Seedy Theatrical Company
Presentation remarks: Kale, I’ll begin by commending you not just for your own essays, but also for the recommendations you wrote for others. In all of these, your voice was truly your own: human, relatable, reflective, dear. You say, for example, that you have hoped, above all, to take full advantage of the opportunities available to students at Denison, to experience the breadth of the curriculum, to broaden perspectives, to learn in new domains.
Nothing, you wrote, has been more rewarding than hearing others’ stories, and that simple pleasure has led you to be an RA, a fraternity member, a member of student government, a playwright and documentarian. You avoid claims to a legacy. So, Kale, I will seek to correct your own record. You have demonstrated outstanding leadership not merely because of your fascination with others’ stories, but because you appear to feel a human obligation to do something positive with those stories, on behalf of their tellers.
It’s because you are trustworthy, and because you actively seek partnership with others. Your successes are easy to point to: The introduction of gender neutral housing in just a few weeks and the frequent airing of the documentary you produced about sexual assault reporting in Licking County. Other impacts have been more subtle, but no less significant: the support and the example you have offered to your residents and to your fraternity brothers of an engaged and positive student. You will be one of those students, Kale, whose name will bring warm memories first to the hearts of those who have known you, to be quickly followed by all the ways you have been more than a nice guy, but exemplar of the Denison student we most proudly graduate. Congratulations.
B.A. History, Dance and Black Studies; Akron, Ohio
Phi Alpha Theta (National History Honorary Fraternity) - member; Dance Department -Junior Student Fellow, Senior Student Fellow; Dance Department -Teaching Assistant; Dance Department - Student Tutor; Dance Department - Performer, Production Crew Member
Presentation remarks: Sam, it is important to us to recognize, with the Distinguished Leadership Award, the many forms that leadership takes on our campus, and the many venues in which it appears. There is no question, while reading your essays and letters of recommendation, that you have been a leader among students in the fine and performing arts at Denison. This is reflected in all the choices you have made about where to devote your energies. You have been extremely active as a dancer and a student of dance, reaching out to and mentoring other students. Your recommenders concur that you have, by your example, made the dance major and minor more accessible and have enabled more students to consider dance as a part of their educational experience.
But you have been an intellectual in your approach to Dance as well, complementing your major with the study of History and Black Studies. As Stafford Berry wrote, you have deepened and enriched your understanding of the intersections between creativity, the past, and culture. You have also been an educator, doing research on public education, dance and history, and serving the Denison Museum with event planning and art preservation. As a result, you are viewed by faculty and peers alike as an indispensible contributor. We thank you for finding your own path, making it rich and exciting, and inviting so many others to join you there.
B.A. Environmental Studies; Weston, Mass.
People Endorsing Agricultural Sustainability (PEAS) - President and Co-Founder; Green Team - Co-President, Vice President; Campus Sustainability Committee - Student Representative; Venture Philanthropy Club; Operation Move Out - Student Coordinator; Symphony Orchestra & Wind Ensemble - Principal Bassoonist; Bassoonist in the Woodwind Quintet and Bassoon Ensemble
Presentation remarks: Nicki, Denison students have historically been the source of progress on environmental matters on our campus; we can think back to many admired students who wanted Denison to be a leader not just in the curriculum of Environmental Studies but also in our day-to-day practices. These students have committed their energy and creativity to advancing sustainability as a University ethic. You can be proud that you are viewed as a member of that celebrated group. After joining Green Team and developing a community art project about climate change and revamping Water Wars, you partnered with others to completely revamp Earth Day, which now has a presence and a distinct personality as a result of the clothing exchange and the addition of bluegrass music throughout the day.
These alone would have been noteworthy achievements, but you went on to found and coordinate the Senior Apartment Composting program and PEAS, People Endorsing Agricultural Sustainability. PEAS is the product of your vision and your hard work, combining a ethos of service, a love of good and fresh food, slowly cooked, and innovative approaches to sustainability education. You later joined the Campus Sustainability Committee, bringing your passion to still another domain of University activity. People who have vision need many other attributes in order to be successful leaders. Among those that Jeremy King ascribes to you are patience, enthusiasm, attention to detail and the ability to listen and reflect on what you have heard. E.B. Jo wrote that you had inspired her by putting your passion into action and by “keeping the faith,” even in moments when the future was uncertain. In both your example and your actions, you have changed our community in ways that will be, we believe, sustainable in the longest term. And we are grateful.
B.A. Environmental Studies; New York, N.Y.
Sustained Dialogue - President, Vice President, Secretary, Moderator; DCGA - Class Co-Governor, Projects Chair, Committee Liaison, Recognition Commitee; Resident Assistant – 3 years; Sustainability Fellows Program - Student Representative/Surveyor; Haiti Relief Coordinating Committee - Residential Life Representative
Presentation remarks: Jennifer, I remember well the day I met you, when you came to my office in Communication to plead for a seat in a course on Leadership. If I had had any sense of what you would go on to do — indeed, what you were already doing — I would have told you that you were already beyond the class. Still Jenn, it is inspiring to have watched you discover your passions and hone your abilities for effective leadership in those areas. You have been an RA, an America Reads tutor, a member of the Gala Committee, a leader of Sustained Dialogue, a DCGA Co-governor, and a member of (by my count) 14 organizations. What is interesting is that all of that was, in a way, preliminary to your discovery that your truest passions are in sustainability and social justice.
You have become a vital player in the development of the co-curricular sustainability education program that Denison is developing. You wrote in your essay about consciously narrowing your focus and recognizing that balance in your life, and intentionality in your commitments, would make you more effective. Many of us have seen that concentrating your considerable energy has indeed made you not merely a dynamo, but a powerhouse. If I may extend the energy metaphor to capture your effectiveness, it extends from your vibrant and sunny disposition, your ability to give fresh perspective to any problem, and your deep wells of goodwill. We hope to be able to share with you, as an alumna, the continuation of the good work you have done in years to come. Thank you, Jenn.
B.S. Physics; New Kensington, Pa.
Interfraternity Council - President; Society of Physics Students - President; Paving the Way Pre-orientation - Ambassador; Beta Theta Pi - Philanthropy, Service and Alumni Relations Chair; Sigma Pi Sigma Honorary - President
Presentation remarks: Dan, your Denison story seems to be about dicovering who you hoped to be, the qualities of character you wished to represent, and then finding ways to live into those values. For you, that has meant developing in three distinctive arenas: as a committed student of physics, as a leader of Denison’s fraternity community, and as a facilitator of the Paving the Way Pre-orientation.
I believe you are widely regarded as have made important changes in IFC, a group that Aimee Maczko identified as one of the most challenging organizations at Denison to lead. IFC has struggled to command the respect of fraternity men, although its role is, in part, to establish mechanisms of self governance and accountability. Your astute analysis of how the body’s membership and place in the fraternity hierarchy undermined its effectiveness enabled you to make changes and increase IFC’s credibility. The value of this work should not be underestimated by anyone who is committed to Greek life at Denison.
As a physicist, you have been a respected student researcher, but also an active participant in the demonstration roadshows the department puts on. Dan Gibson wrote that you have contributed not just with your own time and energy, but also with your skills of persuasion, as you convinced your peers that this educational outreach was important. As one of the student coordinators of Paving the Way, you provided both logistical and programmatic elements, but your brought yourself fully to the table as a first-generation college student. Erik Farley notes that your mentorship and your engagement both broke down barriers and built up bridges that have shaped the expectations of participants about Denison. We are very proud of you, Dan. You have used your experiences at Denison, both inside and out of the classroom, to become more fully yourself, and we have benefitted from whom you have been: a person of character, commitment, and concern for others. We thank you.
B.A. Philosophy; Bexley, Ohio
DCGA - President, Senator, Co-Governor, Rules Chair; Beta Theta Pi - Scholarship Chair, IFC Representative; Philosophy Department Fellow; June Orientation - Student Staff Coordinator; August Orientation - Student Staff Coordinator
Presentation remarks: Rob, there is a certain degree of fun in making this award to you because, as you know, we regarded each other with some degree of suspicion when we first began working together. We had to win each other over and I am happy of course that we can focus today on your success in that endeavor rather than mine. I am doubtful that any student up here today was better positioned to write about Denison’s mission and its correspondence with their own experience.
As you noted in your essays, a considerable part of your learning at Denison has been intentionally framed by the University mission. In your work as DCGA President (but also in your extensive prior work on student government committees), as a June O and August staff coordinator, and as an engaged member of your fraternity, I have complete confidence that you have expounded widely and often for your peers the relevance of these experiences to achievement of the mission. And while I might sound like I am making light of that, the truth is that you have set an admirable expectation that such conversations would occur naturally at Denison. Beyond that, you have been an extremely effective leader on our campus, in each of these domains. DCGA had a strong record of passing resolutions and, even more important, completing action on those resolutions. In this regard, to quote the recommendation of Harry Brisson, your DCGA presidential predecessor, “Rob demonstrated how much a of a voice students have, and how if we use our voices together, there is nothing we can’t change.” Thank you for your many contributions to Denison, Rob. We look forward to seeing your trajectory continue from this hill.
B.A. Psychology; Ann Arbor, Mich.
Asian American Student Union - President and Founding Member; Resident Assistan t– 2-1/2 years; DCGA - Speaker of the House, Senator; D-Day Planning Committee - Executive Board
Presentation remarks: Priya, your service to Denison has come in a variety of domains: Residential Education, as Speaker of the House in DCGA, a student representative to the University Council, a four-year volunteer to Legal Aid in Licking County, and as Vice President and then President of the Asian American Student Union. Provost Bateman’s recommendation focused on your contributions to AASU, an organization that he writes benefited from your steady, guiding hand. He points to the increased sense of shared purpose, and the higher level of organizational sophistication, as contributions you have made to AASU. Jessica Wang’s recommendation says that AASU was the entry point on your path to campus leadership. She reports that you stepped up when needed by the AASU to represent that organization in DCGA.
From there, though, you took on increasing responsibility within DCGA and were recognized by Jessica and others for your strength, drive, and magnetic sense of humor. She describes your energy but also your ability to make clear-eyed appraisals of situations that form the foundation for workable solutions. Perhaps the nicest accolade came from Caitlin Westenberger. Caitlin wrote that while your leadership is evident to those who have observed you in these various roles, you have passed the higher standard: you are a person of character and leadership even when no one is looking. Thank you for your many contributions to the college, Priya.
B.A. English Writing, Music Performance; Clarkston, Mich.
Career Exploration & Development - Professional Development Fellow; Music Department - Vail Scholar for Vocal Performance; Rotary Youth Exchange - Alumna Mentor; Granville Chapel - Sunday School Teacher; Campus Bible Study
Presentation remarks: Marissa, definitions of leadership abound, but you opened your essays with the definition you use: it is “the practice of building others up so they can perceive their own potential and achieve their goals.” Your leadership resume and your letters of recommendation demonstrate that you have provided that kind of encouragement and support as a co-learner in classes, as a tutor and Career Exploration Fellow, and perhaps most especially as a leader in Christian ministry. And you have used both conventional and unconventional tools, including the performance of music you have composed. Your recommenders describe you as inquisitive, generous with your time, compassionate in assessing and responding to the needs of others. We are curious to see what you will do with your unique combination of talents and interests, but we know that it will reflect well on Denison. Congratulations.
B.A. Political Science; Carlisle, Ohio
Moot Court - Captain; Interfraternity Council - President; Resident Assistant – 1-1/2 years; DCGA - Senator, Rules Committee, Finance Committee; Campus Leadership & Involvement Center - Leadership Fellow; Academic Affairs Council
Presentation remarks: Steven, you are the most unreal real-deal that has graced Denison’s campus for a while. As you walk away, people are left wondering, “Could anyone actually be THAT nice?” And then it turns out that you are. But “nice” wasn’t the trait that led you to success as the Captain of Moot Court, I’m confident. Nor did it produce effective change when you were President of IFC.
What you have demonstrated over time is that you can get done whatever the job is, and you’ll dig around in your toolbox until you find what you need, whether it's a wedge, a C-clamp or a hammer. You are credited by your recommenders with raw intelligence and tremendous analytical ability. You are described as earnest — an understatement for which you can later tease Kale Hills — as well as disciplined and grounded by a strong and clear sense of personal ethics. Eric Boehme writes that you will be a future leader and a bright star in politics and the law. We are fortunate that we have retained you at Denison for just a little while longer, but will surely send you out in the hope that Dr. Boehme is right, because we’ll need you out there even more than we need you here. Until then, we are grateful that you continue to give service to Denison. You really are that nice.
B.A. Psychology; West Chester, Ohio
The Bandersnatch - Operations Manager; DU Bike Share - Co-founder; Neuroscience, Education & Research at Denison (NERD) - President; Mental Health Connection - Chair; Psychology Department Fellow; Main Place, Newark, OH - Working Board Member
Presentation remarks: Ellen, small institutions like Denison, situated as we are in remote and rural locations, look to community engagement as a way for students to practice and apply the lessons of their education, whether those are theoretical or practical. We hope, in fact, that students will work enough in the community to experience some degree of frustration that will fuel them to learn more and to learn better so that they be agents of change in the world after graduation. That’s the theory. Your record of accomplishment demonstrates that you are the proof of the theory. From very early in your career, you moved beyond traditional volunteerism to grapple with the issues facing our community.
You led the DCA group called Mental Health Connection for two years, moving student volunteers into a number of Licking County organizations that support mental health and work to mitigate mental illness. But you also served as co-facilitator of an anger management program offered by one of these organizations, as a Chemical Dependency Counselor Assistant for a local alcoholism prevention program, as a mentor and tutor through a college access program, and on the Board of the Main Place drop-in center for individuals who experience mental illness. While working at the Bandersnatch and serving as President of NERD.
I’m not sure I even need to go on. But I’ll note, from your recommenders, how you appear to be so effective in so many ways: efficiency, the willingness to confront difficult situations head-on, a compassionate spirit, and a forward-thinking attitude. As a result, younger students appear to be drawn to the work you do, just as our neighbors in Licking County clearly value your contributions. You are well-positioned, as a consequence of all you have taken on, to achieve your goal of transforming health and mental health care policy. It is clear that you have already had a transformative effect as an undergraduate, and we look forward to your next act. Thank you.
B.A. Economics; Accra, Ghana
African Students Association - President and Founder; Denison National Pan-Hellenic Council - President; Paving the Way - Ambassador; Black Student Union Culture Jam - Co-Chair 2012; Resident Assistant – 2 years
Presentation remarks: Effi, your Denison story can only be considered inspiring. As an international student from Ghana, your recommenders remember you in your early time here as shy, nervous when speaking in front of others, and reserved in your demeanor. They say that today you are poised, confident and secure in the accomplishments you have realized. You chose to commit yourself to academics, to service, and to cultural celebration. You founded the African Student Association, you helped bring Ghanaian dance to Denison, you are co-chairing Culture Jam, you have advanced Black Greek organizations through your leadership of Alpha Kappa Alpha and NPHC, and you have served and shaped the Paving the Way pre-orientation.
I have focused on those contributions in the cultural arena not to exclude your significant service work, your leadership in Residential Education, or your scholarly dedication, but because your work in the cultural realm has demonstrated the kind of deepening that serves both the student and the Denison community. In the process of challenging yourself with new roles and new responsibilities, it appears that you discovered many talents. That you have committed those so effectively to enriching the cultural atmosphere of our campus is the a sign of the distinguished leader you have become. Congratulations, Effi.
Shuangqi (Joy) Wang
B.A. Sociology/Anthropology; Shenzhen, Guangdong, China
Asian Culture Club - President, Treasurer; DCA Volunteering Medley Committee - Co-Founder, Chair; Admissions - Senior Interviewer; DCA - Cabinet Member; June Orientation - International Student Coordinator; International Student Pre-Orientation - Student Staff
Presentation remarks: Joy, you have been fully engaged as a member of the Denison community since the very first moment you set foot on our campus, and you have proven yourself to be one of the most spirited, enthusiastic, and yes, joyful students of the last four years. Following your participation in DSO, you moved directly onto the DCA Cabinet and into several different service committees. You later took the lead on forming a new committee, Volunteer Medley, to give students the opportunity to get a taste for the rewards of service before having to commit to continuing service.
Within a short time, however, you had also become very involved in the Asian Culture Club, ultimately becoming Treasurer and then President, and in June Orientation, where you served in the vital role of International Student Registration Assistant. In each of these roles, you have been nothing but invincible. You have repeatedly demonstrated the ability to solve problems and to do so with sensitivity. At moments when the organizations you led might have become fragmented or lost sight of their goals, you reminded them of the importance of working together and renewed their sense of shared purpose. And with that smile of yours, you have shown us all that a positive attitude — an attitude of joy — is at the heart of leadership effectiveness. Thank you, Joy.
B.S. Biology and Sociology/Anthropology; Grand Rapids, Mich.
Sustained Dialogue - President, Moderator Coordinator, Moderator; Listening for a Change - Moderator; Head Resident –1-1/2 years; Resident Assistant –1-1/2 years; Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Planning Committee - Student Representative; DCA Homelessness and Hunger Committee - Chair
Presentation remarks: Jessica, Denison’s mission envisions students who are “active citizens in a democratic society.” I join your recommenders in describing you as not merely active, but an active citizen of this community. Dr. Anita Waters wrote that your service to the university and the community hasbeen unparalleled in her experience. Through your work as an RA and a Head Resident, as a member of the MLK Planning Committee and through engagements with service and dialogue groups like Sustained Dialogue and Listening for a Change, you have used your energies and your abilities to foster engagement with important issues about campus culture and interaction. You spark democracy. Your recommenders speak of you as enthusiastic and yet patient as you have, for example, made significant structural changes to Sustained Dialogue. They say you are encouraging and knowledgeable as you help others to achieve their potential as campus leaders. And they say you have been courageous, in using your own story to help others think about matters of identity and about being true to oneself in a culture that sometimes prefers the safety of sameness. But I will admit that my favorite characterization of you was that you are wise. You choose with care where to invest yourself. You are surely a Master Listener, and you offer thoughtful ideas with humor and goodwill. You will be the very best ambassador for Denison as you pursue your ambitions in medicine. Thank you for all you have done for us.
B.A. History and Black Studies; Matteson, Ill.
Black Student Union - President (Chief Minister); Appeals Board Member – 2 years; Resident Assistant – 1 year; DCGA - Community Senator for the Black Student Union; Paving the Way - Pre-orientation Coordinator; Liaison between the Black Student Union, the Black Caucus and the Center for Black Studies
Presentation remarks: Raymond, I will begin these remarks by telling you that your essays were both powerful and moving. You wrote, for example, that you had begun at Denison with the belief that the role of the leader was to groom future leaders to insure continuity. You wrote that you had come to a different belief, that a leader’s work is to identify “obtainable goals that are collectively made by the members of the community in which you reside.” You wrote about the formative experience of the BSU-DCGA funding dispute and of discovering how important it was to you to become a bridge-builder.
Throughout your four years at Denison, you have intentionally trained and educated yourself to be an effective bridge between communities. From your first year, you have immersed yourself in learning, attending every Alford Center community event with local educators, and I myself recall that you were always the last student to leave. You created a fascinating community forum about the DREAM Act and you co-presented the MLK teach-in on “Mobilization and Marginalization.” As the Chief Minister of the BSU, Erik Farley wrote, you have led with honor and integrity, taking on increasing levels of responsibility. As an RA and as Paving the Way Co-Coordinator, you have presented a model of integrity and responsibility for other students.
Daphne Martin wrote that through reason, tirelessness, and a clear sense of purpose, you have increased cultural awareness for the entire campus. While I cannot disagree, I think you have done even more, Raymond. You have made an attitude of welcome — for conversation, for friendship, for argument, for reflection — part of the leadership you have modeled. The bridges you have built will endure. Thank you.
B.A. Psychology; Bremen, Ohio
University Programming Council - Executive Director and President, Director of Special Events, Director of Finance; Coalition for Campus Conversation and Change - Co-Chair; National Association of Campus Activities - Lead Delegate; Sailing Team
Presentation remarks: Joe, few students have joined me up here today who have not combined in distinctive and inventive ways a unique set of formative leadership experiences. Yours has been compelling in its own way: from breadth and exploration - the period you described as involvement strictly for its own sake - you focused on three areas: the University Programming Council, the engagement of social and cultural issues on our campus, and the past and the future of Denison as it is represented in the Alumni Relations office and its activities. These are not three separate domains - they are integrated by your own values.
This awards ceremony relies on the language of leadership, but I want to also honor you for one of the essential talents of any effective leader, and that is “management.” Your recommenders note your responsibility for the single largest budget of any campus group, your organizational skills, and your ability to guide a team of peers and co-workers to success. The nine regional awards won by UPC during your tenure are a testament to your managerial effectiveness as well as your leadership. The net effect of all this is a new take on the word “dedication,” Joe. You have dedicated yourself to Denison in myriad ways, and ultimately found your way to those where you could have great impact. Current students appreciate your representation; faculty; administrators and staff herald your contribution, and alumni remember you as the archetypal Denisonian of today. Thank you for your dedication to us all.