Steven Fred Profitt '12, President's Medalist
B.A., political science
Steven, you have made your mark as a political science major as well as a prominent figure in student government and campus life. You are dedicated to interrogating the political and legal implications of policy—particularly as they relate to the most pressing issues of our time. Your nominators describe you as a "dialogical thinker" whose opinions emerge from a distinct moral and theological position, and as "a person of conviction who is open to debate." Noted for initiating discussion, you willingly engage others with whom you might disagree, and you adjust your positions in the face of new ideas, cultures, and experiences. Nominators consistently remark that you have made an indelible mark on ethical discourse and you elevated the intellectual tenor in the classroom. Your willingness to adapt is exemplified by your summer research; you shifted your focus from the more policy-oriented work on immigration that you originally planned so that you could address broader theoretical questions regarding citizenship and immigration. You ultimately fashioned a theory about citizenship and membership that encourages patriotic and civic-minded responsibility.
Though you have focused on legal advocacy, you have also excelled in a range of intellectual work, including your studies in Arabic, Greek, chemistry, calculus, upper-division economics, and more. Described by a professor as one of the best legal scholars he has been fortunate enough to teach, you also made your mark as captain of Denison's Moot Court team. Your achievements on the Moot Court include winning, with your partner, two of the top ten awards for individual orator at the 2010 Midwest Regional Moot Court Tournament; you went on to be named the No. 15 orator at the National Tournament from a field of 168 competitors from 27 universities. You have been honored with many other accolades and awards during your four years at Denison, including the Harold Titus Award for excellence in social and political philosophy.
In your leadership across the campus, you have been a role model to many students as DCGA class senator; student representative to the Academic Affairs Council; a resident assistant; an influential member of your fraternity, Beta Theta Pi; a volunteer counselor for the American Legion's Buckeye Boy's State Program; and an intern for U.S. Senator Richard G. Lugar. Your open personality was also commended by nominators. One letter explained that you surprised fellow interns in D.C. by chatting up strangers on the Metro while commuting back and forth to Capitol Hill. People warned you against talking to strangers on the subway, but you persisted. This is further proof that despite all kinds of barriers, you find ways to connect with people.
For the enthusiastic heart and dedicated intellect that you bring to serving your fellow students and engaging the world around you, we award this 2012 President's Medal to Steven Fred Profitt.