Tyler Daniels, an Army veteran majoring in political science and global studies, receives an Outstanding Senior Leader Award from President McDavis.

Tyler Daniels, an Army veteran majoring in political science and global studies, receives an Outstanding Senior Leader Award from President McDavis.

Photographer: Kaitlin Owens

Miguel Gomez, an undergraduate majoring in physics, receives the first-ever Charles J. Ping International Leadership Award for a domestic student.

Miguel Gomez, an undergraduate majoring in physics, receives the first-ever Charles J. Ping International Leadership Award for a domestic student.

Photographer: Kaitlin Owens

Gabby Bacha and Camille Smith were two of seven students awarded 2016 Outstanding Senior Leader Awards.

Gabby Bacha and Camille Smith were two of seven students awarded 2016 Outstanding Senior Leader Awards.

Photographer: Kaitlin Owens

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Student excellence in leadership, community service celebrated at awards ceremony (PHOTOS)


“In every discipline, in every residence hall, in every academic college, each and every day, there emerges a leader who will go out into the world and make it a better place.”

Those words, spoken by Ohio University President Roderick J. McDavis, set the tone for an annual event and OHIO tradition of recognizing and celebrating student leaders who have made a difference on campus and in the community.

Members of the Ohio University community mingle before the 33rd Annual Leadership Awards Gala held April 6 in the Baker University Center Ballroom.

Members of the Ohio University community mingle before the 33rd Annual Leadership Awards Gala held April 6 in the Baker University Center Ballroom.

Ohio University’s 33rd annual Leadership Awards Gala was held the evening of April 6 in a packed Baker University Center Ballroom. Sponsored by the Division of Student Affairs, this year’s awards ceremony centered on the theme “Vision.”

“Many students come to Ohio University with a vision of what they want to achieve or who they want to become,” Jenny Hall-Jones, dean of students and interim vice president for student affairs, said in welcoming OHIO faculty, staff, students, their families and special guests to event. “But the student leaders in this room didn’t stop there. Their vision also extends to our community. And their visionary leadership and resolve has undoubtedly left this place better than they found it.”

Jesse Neader, assistant director of student organizations, and Jenny Hall-Jones, dean of students and interim vice president for student affairs, served as co-hosts at this year’s awards ceremony.

Jesse Neader, assistant director of student organizations, and Jenny Hall-Jones, dean of students and interim vice president for student affairs, served as co-hosts at this year’s awards ceremony.

The Leadership Awards Gala highlights and honors the outstanding leadership and community service work of students and student organizations on all of OHIO’s campuses and serves as a year-end reminder of the mission of Ohio University and its core values of character, commitment, civility, community and citizenship.

“We pride ourselves on being the nation’s best transformative learning community because that is what we encourage here—transformation,” President McDavis said. “Whether it is personal, professional, local or global, Bobcats are making an impact on the world around them. … Thank you all for giving your time and devoting yourself to the mission of your organizations. We are so proud of all of your hard work.”

Camille Smith, a student majoring in African American studies and sociology and pursing a Global Leadership Certificate, receives an Outstanding Senior Leader Award from First Lady Deborah A. McDavis.

Camille Smith, a student majoring in African American studies and sociology and pursing a Global Leadership Certificate, receives an Outstanding Senior Leader Award from First Lady Deborah A. McDavis. Smith was one of seven graduating seniors to receive this award created to recognize a collegiate record of leadership and service to Ohio University and the Athens community.

During the event, the Division of Student Affairs and planning units throughout the University presented awards and scholarships to dozens of Ohio University students and several student organizations. The awards and scholarships presented celebrate leadership activities that support OHIO’s mission of diversity, inclusion and globalization as well as community service, engagement and overall commitment to elevating Ohio University and the OHIO experience.

This year’s award and scholarship winners are: 

  • Charles J. Ping International Leadership Awards – Noha Al-Khalqi (international undergraduate student), Mohammad Hashim Pashtun (international graduate student) and Miguel Gomez (domestic student) 
  • Stonewall Student Leadership Award – Morgan Kohls and Paige Klatt
  • Stonewall Campus Group Leadership Award – POWER/GAMMA
  • Women’s Issues Leadership Award – Kentisha Dinham
  • Blackburn-Spencer Achievement Awards – Nile Harris, Diarra Ndiaye, Morgan Matthews, Brandon Brown, Lorne Owens and Niara Stitt
  • Blackburn-Spencer Scholarship Awards – Michael Jones, Destinye Arnold,Joselyn Hines and Ashley Robinson
  • Latino Heritage Awards – Sasha Estrella-Jones, Nora Yepez-Ornelas, Camila Benencia Courreges and Nelson Cruz
  • Francine Childs Diversity Leadership Award – Carla Triana
  • Eyes of Freedom Scholarship – Alexis Apparicio and Selena Snyder
  • Edwin L. Kennedy Leadership Award for Outstanding Community Service (Student) – Joshelyn Smith
  • Edwin L. Kennedy Leadership Award for Community Service (Organization) – Creative Expressions
  • Outstanding Programming Awards – University Program Council and Black Student Cultural Programming Board’s “#TBTwithUPCandBSCPB” (spring semester 2015); POWER/GAMMA’s “A Mile Together” (fall semester 2015); Nutrition Club’s “National Nutrition Month Program” (spring semester 2016); and Sober Bobcats’ carnival-themed OHIO Late Nights program (outstanding late night programming)
  • Kerrigan Family Scholarship Award – Zulfa Rizqiya
  • Rudy Award for Outstanding Student Leadership – Alexandria Stewart
  • Outstanding Graduate Student Leader Award – Mary Kate Gallagher (master’s) and Trina Gannon (doctoral)
  • Outstanding Senior Leader Awards – Camille Smith, Gabby Bacha, Joshelyn Smith, Morgan Peterson, Nathan Perry, Nicole Sova and Tyler Daniels
  • John Newton Templeton Outstanding Senior Leader Award – Rashaun Brown
delfin bautista, director of OHIO’s LGBT Center, presents the 2016 Stonewall Leadership Award to Morgan Kohls, a senior majoring in pre-professional biological sciences.

delfin bautista, director of OHIO’s LGBT Center, presents the 2016 Stonewall Leadership Award to Morgan Kohls, a senior majoring in pre-professional biological sciences. The award is named in honor of the 1969 riots at the Stonewall Inn in New York City, credited with starting the modern LGBT equality movement, and is bestowed upon LGBTQA student leaders who continue the legacy of Stonewall. The LGBT Center added an additional Stonewall Leadership Award this year to recognize a campus group. That honor went to POWER/GAMMA, a health and wellness student organization that identifies key health issues relevant to Ohio University students.

“This award means a lot to me,” said Kentisha Dinham who received the Women’s Issues Leadership Award from OHIO’s Women’s Center. “To be recognized by the University for my involvement with a lot of organizations about women’s issues and to get a hug from President McDavis was really awesome.”

Dinham was recognized for consistently demonstrating leadership, professionalism and commitment to inspire others through her work with the Women’s Center as a mentor in the Young Women Leaders Program, her involvement in The Women’s Affairs Commission and her role as vice president of Unified Sisters. 

She offered this advice to current and future Ohio University Bobcats: “Do as much as you can, find your role on campus and build a lasting legacy for not just you but for future students.”

Brooke Mauro receives a hug from President Roderick J. McDavis after being named the new student trustee on the Ohio University Board of Trustees.

Brooke Mauro receives a hug from President Roderick J. McDavis after being named the new student trustee on the Ohio University Board of Trustees.

Brooke Mauro selected as student trustee

Ohio University ended its 33rd annual Leadership Awards Gala by announcing its new student trustee.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich selected Brooke Mauro to serve a two-year term on Ohio University’s Board of Trustees. 

“As members of the board, (student trustees) bring a unique student perspective, but are responsible for the well-being of the entire Ohio University community,” President Roderick J. McDavis said in announcing Mauro’s appointment. “Members of the board and former student trustees would tell you that a student trustee should be a dynamic person, someone who is self-motivated and has a strong desire to serve.”

In applying for the position, Mauro wrote: “Simply put, Ohio University has changed by life in an extraordinary way, and I want to give as much back to this school and its future students as it has given me.”

Enrolled in OHIO’s College of Business, Mauro is majoring in finance and management/strategic leadership with a focus in human resources. She is an executive board member and pledge educator for Alpha Kappa Psi Business Fraternity and a member of Ohio Women in Business and the J. Kyle Braid Leadership Group.

“This night means so much to me,” Mauro said, noting that she chose to attend OHIO because of how involved and passionate its students are. “I’m looking forward to improving the relationship between the board of trustees and the student body. I want to raise awareness of current issues, bridge the gap between University officials and students and hopefully bring some harmony. … I hope to represent my fellow Bobcats well.”