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The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Vanderbilt Awards for Leadership Excellence celebrates student leadership

The awards ceremony was a reminder to “always seek opportunities to assist others”

The Vanderbilt community took a night to celebrate the accomplishments of exceptional student leaders and organizations that have aimed to challenge and improve campus culture in various arenas with the Vanderbilt Awards for Leadership Excellence (VALE) ceremony, held in the SLC on April 3.

After the awards ceremony, the 2019 Walther Award for VUcept Excellence (WAVE) recipients, listed below, had the opportunity to engage in a breakout Skype session with Michael Walther (‘89) himself. Walther, a former VUceptor, established the award in 2014 to recognize the hard work and dedication of current VUceptors as they serve as peer mentors and positive influences for first-year students. In addition to the award, Walther created a scavenger hunt challenge for the WAVE recipients, giving them a chance to work together and each win a $100 cash prize. The rules were simple: the recipients had ten minutes to find six pieces of blue masking tape that had been hidden in the SLC. Each piece of tape had a word scrambled on the back; the WAVE recipients had to decode the words and guess the phrase to win.

The challenge went down to the wire, but after a lot of laughing, some frustrated groans and a few generous hints, the team correctly guessed the phrase: “Always seek opportunities to assist others.”

It truly was a night of celebrating student success, dedication to service and ingenuity. Below is a full list of 2019 VALE recipients; more information on the significance behind each award is available here.

Individual Awards:

Accolade: The Chancellor’s Diversity Awards – Cedoni Francis

Casey Carter Bonar Award – Farah Arif

Glenn & Elizabeth Bogitsh Award – Brittney McKnight

The Imani Award – Morgan Newman

Lori Groves-White Award for Advocacy and Courage – Douglas Finnegan

John T. & Lizzie Allen McGill First Year Award – Shubham Gulati and Alyssa O’Connell

John T. McGill Award – Sami Heller

John T. and Lizzie Allen Upper-class McGill Award – Sami Heller, Telyse Masaoay and Iliana Yanes

Nora C. Chaffin Scholarship – Juliana Hernandez

Reverend Beverly A. Asbury Award for Interfaith Dialogue – Zahra Biabani

Ripple in the Pond Award – Sangami Pugazenthi

Rob Roy Purdy Award – Siri Nadler

Robert Peter Pratt Memorial Award – Olivia Cherry

Susan Jung Award – Mahek Mehta

Thomas M. Weser Award – Troy Jiang

William Aaron Pathfinder Award – Zoe Psiakis


2019 Walther Awards for VUcept Excellence:

The Diversity Award Simon Obi

The Creativity Award – Kirby Laguerre

The Student Success Award – Agatha Fenech

The Faculty Engagement Award – Tyler Anderson

The Lifer Award – Jacob Pierce

Thee New VUceptor Award – Neena Kapoor


Student Organization Awards:

Best Arts Program – The Kefi Collective

Best Collaborative Program – Delta Sigma Theta, Vanderbilt Student and Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center

Best Diversity and Inclusion Program – Greek Inclusivity Alliance

Best Health and Wellness Program – Mu Rho chapter of Delta Sigma Theta

Best Intercultural Awareness Program – iLEAD

Best Interfaith Program – Vanderbilt Interfaith Council

Community Engagement – Vanderbilt Prison Project

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About the Contributor
Avery Muir
Avery Muir, Former Managing Editor
Avery Muir ('21) is from Bethesda, MD. She studied political science and economics in the College of Arts and Science. Avery has been on staff since her first year at Vanderbilt, previously serving as a staff writer, Life Editor and then Copy Editor. In her free time, Avery likes drinking way too much coffee and exploring the Nashville food scene. You can reach her at [email protected].    
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