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More than 500 students recognized for academic achievement at 37th Honors Convocation

Nearly 500 students and their families gathered in Baker Hall Friday (April 8) for the 37th Honors Convocation, which recognizes juniors and seniors who earned a cumulative grade point average of 3.6 or higher. Many of the attendees were also selected for individual academic awards.

Following prelude music, a processional and an invocation by University Chaplain Lloyd Steffen, the audience was welcomed by President John Simon.

Simon congratulated the students on their academic excellence, community involvement and campus leadership and challenged them to “make a difference” in the world as they go forward.

“As we celebrate your accomplishments today, and as you continue to take on new challenges and responsibilities,” he said, “know that we have high hopes for you.”

Provost Pat Farrell told the students that the world needs creative thinkers and problem-solvers, those who are prepared to see things differently, roll up their sleeves and get to work—the type of students being honored at the convocation.

“As I’ve said on other occasions, these young women and men did not come to Lehigh to blend in,” he said. “They came to Lehigh to stand out.”

Donald Hall, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, introduced Elias (Eli) B. Hess '16, an architecture major who says he reflected on his success at Lehigh by simply looking up.

“It forces me to operate in the moment. It allows me to engage and listen, to eavesdrop, to wonder and daydream. We have lost the ability to be bored, and with it, the state of mind that can make you appreciate the simple joys in life. So I encourage you all to look up,” he said.

His perspective helps him because he studies buildings – how they “are put together and how they operate. Whether they’re beautiful or banal. How they can make us
feel safe or vulnerable, force us to interact or allow us to be private.”

Hess said that Lehigh has been a laboratory for forming his architectural lens.

“Building technology lectures get me thinking how hydroscopic concretes and synthetic polymers will create a future of sustainable cities and smart buildings. It’s put me in urban policy seminars and allowed me to apply my hand as an architect to address institutional racism and poverty that plague our built environment,” he said.

“But what really polishes the lens is learning across disciplines,” he said, listing a number of Lehigh learning experiences that broadened his ability to think critically. He encouraged his fellow students to "be curious."

“As we step out into the world, we shoulder responsibility,” he said. “By both good fortune and hard work, we have inherited the privilege to exist among the seven percent of college-educated human beings. So this world has the right to expect great things from us. It is relying on us to lead, to be exemplary and to right wrongs. So continue to polish your lenses, and remember; look up.”

College of Business and Economics Dean Georgette Phillips introduced Brandon Bok ’16, a Presidential Scholar in the Integrated Business and Engineering (IBE) program, who is pursing degrees in mechanical engineering and economics.

Bok reminded his fellow students that focusing only on goals can diminish the path that led them to those goals. He shared a series of defining moments: conversations with professors and advisors that helped him refine his career goals and direction, an IBE capstone project that allowed his team to work with the Boeing and American Helicopter Museum to design a flight simulator, a trip to Portugal as a Martindale Student Associate to explore a new culture and economy, and a role as a managing fellow for the TRAC writing program.

These experiences, he said, “would not have been possible anywhere else,” and have been a “truly fun and humbling ride.”

But, he added, “it’s impossible to think about what we’ve achieved so far at Lehigh without the tenacious support all around us. So let’s take a moment to thank everyone that’s been an integral part in motivating us to be our best: parents, families, friends, professors, advisers, coaches, and everyone else. Thank you—for believing in us when we faced failure, for giving us guidance to face our multiple mid-life crises as college students, and for being hard on us when we weren’t living up to our potential. We wouldn’t have made it this far without you.”

John Coulter, interim dean of the P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science, introduced chemical engineering major and varsity women’s soccer player Paige Elliott ’16, who admitted that she was uneasy about speaking at the convocation.

I’m an engineer,” she said, “so the idea of writing and performing a speech was daunting at best.”

Elliot spoke to the power of a positive outlook, which she said she recognized at a fairly young age, due in part to a series of family moves.

“But my parents handled our moves in the best possible way,” she said.  “They framed each move as a new adventure—a new place to explore and make our own.  They told me to be myself, and that I would find another great set of friends.  And they were right. I have loved every place I’ve lived, made lasting friends, and consider each place as home.  And now Lehigh has become another one of those homes.”

Despite the difficulty of juggling a demanding academic and athletic schedule, Elliot said she learned to focus on the positives of teamwork, inspiring professors and coaches, and challenging assignments.

“We have a community here where people are willing to help each other, and we’ve had plenty of practice because Lehigh challenges us every day. Collaboration with the right people builds positive energy and maximizes the potential of everyone involved- it truly is a recipe for success,” said Elliot, who has accepted a job with
ExxonMobil after graduation.

Mary Ellen Alu contributed to this article.
Photos by Christa Neu

Prizes and Awards 2015-16

Alpha Pi Mu Prize
David M. Morency

American Chemical Society Award
Kaylynn Johnson
Alexis Watanabe

American Chemical Society Inorganic Chemistry Award
Shane Klumpp

American Chemical Society Organic Chemistry Award
Tyler Sloan

American Institute of Chemists Award
Anthony Iacoviello
Judson Smull

American Society of Civil Engineers Prize
Kawsar H. Hooda

Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) Award
Kyle Koenig

David A. Begelman Endowed Prize in the Dept. of Management
Jacob Rosenblatt

Robert W. Blake Memorial Award
Tuan Pham

Bethlehem Fabricators Award
Zachary Diekel

Nelson Leighton Bond Memorial Prize
Rachel Spielholz
Morgan Lowe
Nathan Keim
Roger Blumin
Danielle Mustin
Rongkai Sha
Morgan Unger

John B. Carson Prize
Jordan A. Greer

The William H. Chandler Chemistry Prize
Lena Barrett
Yiyuan Zhang
Hannah Plaza
Jasmine Singh
Gabrielle Dardis
Kaitlyn Dyson

John C. Chen Chemical Engineering Endowed Prize
Leah Tranovich
Wesley Michaels

Class of 1904 Scholarship Award
Paul Asadourian
Gladys Castellon
Rachel Davidson
Amanda Donohue
Evan Eckersley
Katherine Jennison
William Kuehne
Victoria Lattanzio
Alexis Martins
Kelly Mayid
Aakash Phulwani
Kaitlyn Ruffing
Deanna Shepherd
Cody Triolo
Philip Vendola
Eden Weinflash
Madeleine Wescott
Justin Worley

Alpha A. Diefenderfer Award
Julia Nelson

Aurie N. Dunlap
Lucy Taben

Dreyfus Portfolio Award
Brandon J. Barton

Eta Kappa Nu Prize
Hannah C. Leskow

Joseph C. Gabuzda, Jr. Memorial Award
Eric T. Reid
Genevieve G. Shafer
Kyle J. Leonard

Malcolm J. Gordon, Jr. Physics Prize
Krittanon Sirorattanakul

Samuel L. Gulden Memorial Award
Tamara G. Hess
Adam Kafka

Handwerk Prize
J. Zachary Lentz

Bill Hardy Memorial Prize
Brandyn W. Bok

Harmer Prize
Hannah A. Maret

George D. Harmon Memorial Prize
Lailei M. Forouragli

Joseph C. Hendrzak Memorial Award
Rajvir Singh

Donnel Foster Hewett Award
Ryan Herbert

Robert C. Hicks Prize
Brian Scheidle
Michelle Mazzeo

Theodore U. Horger ’61 Visual and Performing Arts
Domenica Massamby
Melinda Fruithandler
Chengyixiu (Claire) Bian

Harold J. Horn Prize
Hyo Won Park
Andrew Shapiro

C.C. Hsiung Award
Sean T. Byrne
Trevor D. Davis

Institute of Internal Auditors Senior Award
Emma Hillman

Institute of Management Accountants Senior Award
Evan Mulbry

Richard H. Johnson Economics Prize
Brandyn W. Bok

Kahn Memorial Award
Austin W. Keller
Hannah A. Maret

Lt. General Fred Kornet, Jr. Award
Abigail Ubbelohde

Le-wu Lu Memorial Prize
Cheng Chen
Dylan M. Friedgen-Veitch

Libraries Student Research Prize
Shaan Gurnani
Rachel Sternberg

Marketing Achievement Award
Jessica Marriott

Marketing Commendation Awards for Class Project/Paper
Lauren Maida
Mallory Joseph
Lacey Quinn
Eric Yuen
Leah Liu
Megan Chang

Marketing Lambda Mu Sigma Award
Xiaowen Amber Tang
Elise Fredericks
Esther Pak
Lauren Maida
Hanna Charron
Vanessa Ruggiero
Alexa Mitzner
Samantha Brooks
Alison Cohen
John Larsen
Carol Fornaciari
Brianna Riggs

Mathematics Faculty Award
William A. Black
Shaolun Zhang

Martindale Student Associates
Donnyell Bourgeois
Alec L. Entress
Alexander Glasshardenbergh
Lisa E. Heinzelman
Robert J. Hetterich
Logan A. Hodges
Michelle C. Juarez
Min Jun Kim
Elena K. Martin
Christina Pak
Catherine Y. Preysner
Carlie N. Skellington
Taylor C. Carroll
Laura G. Chan
Hilbert Chen
David Danko
Korey D. Finn
Kyle R. Fischer
Zakaria Hsain
Matthew F. Kleinhenz
Karen R. Konkoly
Morgan C. Lowe
Jadon T. Sargeant
Ellen C. Schaaf

Merck Index Award
Jordy Salcedo

Robert H. Mills Outstanding Accounting Major Award
Katherine Koomar

J. Robert Munford Award
Yang Gao

Elizabeth Major Nevius Award
Riley-Elizabeth Barry
Natalie E. Bates
Casey K. Caruso
Abigail M. Farrell
Dana N. Gallant
Stormont R. Mahoney
Sarah Minardi
Christopher G. Parsons
Madeleine J. Smith
Kimberly N. Weyand
Shannon N. Wright

Cyril John Osborn Award
Sarah P. Gregori
Brett E. Ley

Patti T. Ota Women’s Study Award
Priya Chokshi
Alexandra Donnelly

Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants Outstanding Senior Award (PICPA)
Elizabeth Pines

Phi Sigma Kappa Scholarship Cup
Alpha Chi Omega

Philadelphia Philanthropic Society for Information Management Foundation Scholarship
Ansah Kamara

Pi Tau Sigma Prize
Conrad R. Mason

Allen S. Quier Prize
Baiyu Xiang

Richard Reed
Justine Gaetano
Elias Hess

Col. Edward W. Rosenbaum Award
Holden Chung

Senior SCM Scholar Award
Cassandra Obzud

Oles M. Smolansky
Kelsey Leck

The Society of Information Management (SIM) Future Leader Award
Clara Howley

SCM Professor Award
Clara Howley

John S. Steckbeck Memorial Award
Timothy Wheeler

Bradley Stoughton Student Award
Brendan R. Eckardt
J. Zachary Lentz

Tau Beta  Pi Prize
Rachel Yael Okun
Hannah Danielle Plaza
Evan J. Pretti

CBE Tauck Scholar
Sebastian Rodriquez
Drew Berger
Roger Blumin
Alexandra Fotinopoulos
Brianna Riggs
Vanessa Ruggiero
Megan Rich
John Larson

Thornburg Mathematics Prize
Denis Tilipman

Trustee Scholarship Cup
Alpha Chi Omega

Harry M. Ullmann Chemistry Prize
Paige Elliott
Nicholas Watanabe

Geraldo Vasconcellos Thompson International Award
Shaan Gurnani
Royce J. Kok

John R. Wagner Award
Conrad R. Mason

H.R. & Y.B. Wei Prize
Tyler Stangle

William Whigham, Jr. Memorial Prize
Rachel Yael Okun
Hannah Danielle Plaza
Evan J. Pretti

Elisha P. Wilber Scholarship Prize
Anne B. Birkenmaier
James V. Clements
Michael E. Embick
Malavika Jain
Conrad R. Mason
Audra E. McComb
Elizabeth R. McGarrigle
Brian P. Scheidle
Soraya M. Todd
Cody G. Triolo

Theodore B. Wood Prize
John W. Bodkin


Share this story: 
Brandyn Bok

 Brandon Bok ’16 reminded his fellow students that focusing only on goals can diminish the path that led them there.

Paige H. Elliott

Paige Elliott ’16 spoke to the power of a positive outlook. 

Elias (Eli) B. Hess

 Elias (Eli) B. Hess challenged his fellow students to "be curious." 

Honors Convocation

Nearly 500 students and their families gathered in Baker Hall for the 37th Honors Convocation, which recognizes juniors and seniors who earned a cumulative grade point average of 3.6 or higher.

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