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Leadership Banquet Honors Students, Clubs

Dr. Robert Ivany with CJ MillerEducating leaders of faith and character is not only a goal of University of St. Thomas students, faculty and staff – it is a way of life. The 2014 Leadership Banquet celebrated student leaders who live this mission and their achievements. Nominees were selected and the winners were announced on April 28 to a room of about 175 attendees.

UST President Dr. Robert Ivany and several UST faculty and staff commended the student leaders.

The winners were:

Presidential Leadership Award – CJ Miller  

This prestigious award is given to an undergraduate junior or senior who has made significant leadership contributions to the University. CJ Miller is a senior political science major and general business minor. He is an active member of Campus Ministry, Knights of Columbus and Celts for Life. He holds various leadership positions such as chairman of UST College Republicans, vice president of Pi Sigma Alpha, the Political Science Honor Society, and vice president of the Presidential Ambassadors on campus. He was also the 2014 Mardi Gras King.

The Marsha Wooldridge Citizenship Award – Sally Lorena Acebo  

Sally Acebo is a senior chemistry major. She is the current president of the UST student chapter of the American Chemical Society and a past member of the Health Occupations Students of America. The award is given to a student who has distinguished him or herself in character, leadership and scholarship, demonstrated a strong commitment to UST through positive contributions to the entire community, and is successful in his or her academic area of study and co-curricular efforts. Acebo exemplifies the aim of this award – for a student who is sensitive to the value of diversity within the UST community, and is self-confident, skillful, creative and compassionate.

Spirituality Commitment Award – Marianne Tran  

This award is presented to a student leader who exemplifies the Catholic ideals of prayer, scholarship, various living, moral leadership and the common good. Marianne Tran, a sophomore biology major, displays these ideals through her leadership activities and involvement. She is truly embodies a lived faith and is an excellent example for other students.

Emerging Leader – Bao dinh  

This award is given to a current freshman or sophomore.  This individual is most likely to take  leadership roles that will allow him/her to voice his/her concerns and change the face of the university. Bao Dinh, sophomore accounting major, has developed a strong base to become a vibrant student at UST and has taken on leadership positions since his first day.

Outstanding Non-Traditional Student of the Year Award – Billy Moreno  

This award is given to a non-traditional student for his or her dedication to improving the experience of UST non-traditional students. Billy Moreno, a senior political science major, is a member of College Republicans, Pi Sigma Alpha, the political science honor society and Knights  of Columbus. 

Dr. Janice-Gordon Kelter Outstanding Woman of the Year Award – Leticia Gordillo  

This award is named after the late Dean of the Master in Liberal Arts Program, Dr. Janice Gordon-Kelter, in recognition of her tireless efforts for improving the experience of women at UST. It is given to an undergraduate or graduate female student whose leadership has had a positive impact on the overall experience of women on campus. Leticia Gordillo, an MLA graduate student with a concentration in international studies, is the graduate fellow for student activities and a graduate senator for the Student Government Association.

Advisor of the Year Award –Dr. Elmer Ledesma  

Dr. Elmer Ledesma, assistant professor in the Chemistry and Physics Department, goes above and beyond to support the students at UST. He challenges the students of to think critically, apply real-world smarts and creatively solve problems.

Creativity Award – UST Disability Awareness Club: Wheelchair Olympics

This award recognizes the sponsoring club/organization or organizers of an inaugural or second year event that has created a new tradition on campus. This club created a fun and informative student event that raised awareness of the challenges faced by differently abled community. They succeeded to present events in a fun and safe environment that engaged students in different ways.

Co-Programming Award – American Chemical Society with African American Student Union: Black History Month Movie Night

This award was presented to groups who worked closely together to create a positive program for the St. Thomas community. ACS with African American Student Union presented a fun-filled and educational evening that enriched the university immensely.

Student Enrichment Award – Students Working Against Trafficking: In It to End It

This award recognized the sponsoring club/organization of an event or collaborative effort that has enhanced the educational mission of UST through significant contributions to student learning and campus morale. This group capitalized on an established, nationwide movement to bring UST students information about a topic that can be improved upon today. They built lasting relationships with vendors off campus for UST students to make ethical purchases moving forward. This event helped raised awareness of our global footprint. 

Community Service Award – Celt Crazies with Student Activities: Prom Dress Drive

This was awarded to the sponsoring club/organization of an event that has enhanced the educational mission of St. Thomas through significant contributions to community service and service learning. The event was extremely successful, as Celt Crazies with Student Activities went outside the box to benefit the local community in a fun way.

Outstanding Club Award – American Chemical Society

This award was based upon the club/organization’s work on collaboration, organization, integration and inclusiveness both within their own group and throughout all campus activities. ACS has strived from the beginning of the school year to be very active with its members as well as the community by offering a variety of events that are both social and educational. Through their efforts, participation and attendance increased dramatically, volunteer opportunities increased, and the club has received national recognition.

By Marwa Abdou 
Contributions from Vivian Cabrera

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