36th Honors Convocation celebrates academic excellence

Lehigh’s top administrators joined with more than 500 students and their families to honor academic achievement. The mid-April event, which is held each year in Baker Hall, featured one extraordinary young scholar from each of Lehigh’s three undergraduate colleges. The juniors and seniors at the 36th annual convocation had earned a cumulative grade point average of 3.6 or higher, and many also were selected for major academic awards or honor societies.

Following an invocation by University Chaplain Lloyd Steffen, the attendees were welcomed by Interim President Kevin L. Clayton ’84, ‘13P, who noted that despite three decades of significant involvement with Lehigh, this was the first honors convocation he attended.

“It’s not that I didn’t want to attend – I just never got invited,” he said to laughter from the audience.

In his role as interim president this past year, Clayton said the best part of his experience has been the palpable sense of excellence of the students and faculty  – “You get to be with the best and the brightest” – and said he was struck by the high level of accomplishment of the students both in and outside the classroom.

“I’ve worked in the private sector for over 30 years,” Clayton said. “I worked with a lot of committed, highly intelligent, hardworking and successful people. They were all very impressive. From my perspective, in terms of concentration of great minds and great people, there is no better place than Lehigh. Not another college. Not a company. Not one place.”

To the juniors honored, Clayton encouraged them to continue to maximize their Lehigh experience. To the graduating seniors, he said: “You are not only smart; you have the intangibles needed for success and happiness. You have heart, guts and soul. You are ready to compete. You are ready to excel. You are Lehigh-ready.”

Lehigh Provost Patrick V. Farrell noted the generosity of many benefactors, whose stalwart support of scholarship helps make the event possible.  He also noted the unique characteristics of the exceptionally high-achieving Lehigh students. “They challenge themselves, their peers and their professors on a daily basis,” he said. “These young men and women didn’t come to Lehigh to blend in; they came to Lehigh to stand out.”

The pursuit of happiness

Each of the students selected to speak were introduced by the dean of their undergraduate college, beginning with Donald Hall, the Herbert J. and Ann L. Seigel  Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, who introduced scholar, athlete and musician Kaitlyn Ruffing ’15.

In his introduction, Hall underscored the value of a liberal arts education at Lehigh, which “taught you to anticipate and lead change, to view challenges as opportunities, to turn knowledge into action, and to make a difference in the world.”

Drawing inspiration from a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt, who said that happiness is not a goal in itself, but a by-product, Ruffing said that Lehigh “has shown me that I don’t have to sacrifice anything to pursue everything that I love to do, and that makes me happy on a daily basis.”

Ruffing said she chose Lehigh specifically for the flexibility to pursue “all of my passions: swimming, track, pre-medicine and music, and that’s exactly what I received here. I’ve found that my coaches, professors and family greatly support all my endeavors and I never stand alone.”

The skills to compete with the best

Paul Brockman, senior associate dean for faculty and academic affairs in the College of Business and Economics, introduced finance and supply chain management major and scholar athlete Natalie Bates ’15.

Brockman reflected on his six-year Lehigh experience, and on his growing appreciation of the university, its accomplished faculty, bright and motivated students and passionately loyal alumni.

After teaching for 20 years at universities across the globe, Brockman said, “I can honestly say that you are by far the best students I have interacted with. You have the technical skills and people skills to compete with students from the top universities in the world.”

Bates shared her growth from a first-year, struggling athlete who remained focused on personal success and on continuing to challenge herself. Upon completion of her first undergraduate degree, Bates will stay on at Lehigh as a Presidential Scholar and earn a second Bachelor of Arts degree in earth and environmental science. She will also row for the crew team in a departure from her previous athletic endeavors.

Her advice to fellow students: “Stay humbled, stay grounded, and remember those who have gotten you to where you are.”

Beyond “pocket protector” engineers

Dan Lopresti, interim dean of the P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science, reviewed stellar accomplishments of Lehigh alums, students and faculty to illustrate that Lehigh “is not a place that produces ‘pocket protector’ engineers…..not that there’s anything wrong with that.”

It is a place “where leaders are cultivated through hands-on learning and the integration of thinking styles, and through plain and simple hard work, day in and day out.”

Lopresti introduced Anne Theurkauf ‘15, a dual-degree student in the five-year Arts-Engineering program, who is already performing research of national importance involving the investigation of the stability of a cold atomic clock.

After thanking her parents for their support, Theurkauf told of being inspired to pursue physics and engineering after watching Apollo 13. Confident that her early inclinations led to the right academic choices, she decided to wander out of her comfort zone this past academic year with classes in art and English.

“While the diversity of what I have studied this semester may not help me in my ability to solve differential equations, it has helped me in other aspects of life,” she said. “It’s all about appreciating new perspectives.”


Prizes and Awards, 2014 - 2015

Alpha Pi Mu Prize
Elizabeth R. McGarrigle

American Chemical Society Award
Morgan Birabaharan
Robert B. Dunleavy

American Chemical Society Inorganic Chemistry Award
Yu Wang

American Chemical Society Organic Chemistry Award
Lydia M. Hunt

American Institute of Chemists Award
Molly J. O’Neill
Carolyn S. Sivco

American Society of Civil Engineers Prize
Juan C. Tzoc

Association of Certified Fraud Examiners Award [ACFE]
Evan L. Boyle

David A. Begelman Endowed Prize in the Department of Management
Emily R. Drabik-Stevens

Robert W. Blake Memorial Award
Juan M. Palacio Moreno

Bethlehem Fabricators Award
Gregory D. Pegher

Nelson Leighton Bond Memorial Prize
Sarah H. Oxholm

Elizabeth Pines
Isabella P. Rago
Jessica G. Robinson
Ryan J. Spirko
Siddhant Suri

John B. Carson Prize
Timothy J. Uveges

The William H. Chandler Chemistry Prize
Nicolette R. Drescher
Kaylynn E. Johnson
Alexander S. Kaplitz
Brian P. Scheidle
Jasmine K. Singh
Mengzhao (Lucy) Xue

John C. Chen Chemical Engineering Endowed Prize
Jennifer L. Brown
Cayla M. Miller

Class of 1904 Scholarship Award
Morgan M. Decker
Jonathan S. Densa
Anna M. D'Ginto
Danielle J. DiStefano
Guylendy Dormevil
Kendall L. Garden
Michael A. Garzillo
Paul T. Lyons
Amy E. Matula
Courtney R. Patterson
Elizabeth Pines
Elizabeth S. Sharlow
Rachel O. Sholder
Carlie N. Skellington
Xu (Sarah) Wei
Elizabeth B. Weiler

Alpha A. Diefenderfer Award
Jin Nam Ahn

Dreyfus Portfolio Award
Brian M. Rowland

Aurie N. Dunlap Prize in International Relations- Academic
Elizabeth A. Gross

Aurie N. Dunlap Prize in International Relations- Leadership
William S. Dawley

Eta Kappa Nu Prize
Kyle J. Leonard
Genevieve G. Shafer

Joseph C. Gabuzda, Jr. Memorial Award
Ricardo A. Alvarez
Steven Bochnowicz
Weihe Chen
Mahdi M. Hossain
Suzanne C. Scheckenback
Kan Wu

Malcolm J. Gordon, Jr. Physics Prize
Andrew Shapiro

Samuel L. Gulden Memorial Award
Matthew A. Kilgore

Handwerk Prize
Allyson N. McCarter
Richard A. Michi

Bill Hardy Memorial Prize
Carly J. Deskins

Harmer Prize
Austin W. Keller
William K. Podrazky

George D. Harmon Memorial Award
John D. Behre

Joseph C. Hendrzak Memorial Award
Steven N. Lee

Donnel Foster Hewett Award
Laura G. Dobroski
Robert A. Mason

Robert C. Hicks Prize
Paige H. Elliot
Wesley P. Michaels

Theodore U. Horger '61 Visual and Performing Arts Scholarship
Lindsay B. Alexander
Melinda B. Fruithandler
Emma C. Gifford
Evan M. Orf
Elizabeth A. Phillips
Jaclyn C. Sands

Harold J. Horn Prize
Mark J. Dipsey
Alexander R. Tessitore

C.C. Hsiung Award
Andres N. Saleeda
Alexandra M. Yeager

Institute of Internal Auditors Senior Award
Tracey A. McAuley

Institute of Management Accountants Senior Award
Whitney L. Challenger

Richard H. Johnson Economics Prize
Edwin Y. Chan

Junior SCM Scholar Award

Cassandra P. Obzud

Kahn Memorial Award
Allison P. Fletcher

Lt. General Fred Kornet, Jr. Award
David D. Hume

Libraries Student Research Prize
Madeleine J. Smith

Marketing Achievement Award
Lacey A. Quinn

Marketing Commendation Awards for Class Project/Paper - DaVinci Science Center:
Walk-In Traffic Analysis
Jacqueline G. Aresco
David J. Konstanzer
Catheryn Llibre
Serena R. Rizzo
Jessica A. Scott

Marketing Lambda Mu Sigma Award
Emily R. Drabik-Stevens
Samantha L. Elgort 
Olivia A. Hodina
Alexandra Y. Kaminetsky
Brishty Khossein
Samantha L. Krutal
Irene Lau
Jessica R. Marriott
Sarah Minardi
Sarah H. Oxholm
Melissa H. Pasternak
Lacey A. Quinn
Amy E. Roland
Stephanie C. Rothstein
Zara Reshad Rustomji
Elana B. Snyder 

Emily E. Votze
Victoria S. Yu

Mathematics Faculty Award
Denis Tilipman
Yuxi Zhai

Merck Index Award
Tanner Perry McCleerey

J. Robert Munford Award
Katherine T. Cummins

Elizabeth Major Nevius Award
David W. Dobrowski
Briana E. Gardell
Jonathan T. Glick
Sarah A. Glickstein
Scott L. Grossnickle
Taylor N. Hampshire
Sean M. Joy
Jon M. Merwine
Leah C. Paulson
Edward J. Puzycki
Adam M. Schaub
Jillian K. Sloand
Catherine E. Withers

John Cyril Osborn Award
Sean H. Lynch
Kelly A. Moylan

Patti T. Ota Women’s Study Award
Elizabeth Pines
Madison D. McGahan

Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants Outstanding Senior Award [PICPA]
Christopher G. Parsons

Phi Sigma Kappa Scholarship Cup
Alpha Chi Omega

Philadelphia Philanthropic Society for Information Management Foundation
My Ngoc T. "Jennifer" Nguyen

Pi Tau Sigma Prize
Tyler K. Stangle

Leonard P. Pool Memorial Prize
Elif N. Anda
Samantha M. Brooks
Benjamin G. Glickenhaus
Sathya H. Ram
Matthew A. Sheffield
Michelle E. Vollmuller

Allen S. Quier Prize
William K. Podrazky

The Richard Redd Award
Hannah Han

Col. Edward W. Rosenbaum Award
Daniel D. Shin

Senior SCM Scholar Award
Natalie E. Bates

The Society of Information Management (SIM) Future Leader Award
Peiyan Zhao

The Oles M. Smolansky Award for Academic Excellence in International Relations
Kimberly Boylan

SCM Professor Award
Victoria L. Drici

John S. Steckbeck Memorial Award
Daniel A. Butensky

Bradley Stoughton Student Award
Richard A. Michi

Cliff Tanzler Memorial Prize for Civil and Environmental Engineering
Tara A. Hofferth
Jade Van Streepen

Tau Beta Pi Prize
Jackson H. Cochran-Carney
Kevin J. Fein
Korey D. Finn
John Z. Lentz
Brian P. Scheidle
Yiyuan Zhang

CBE Tauck Scholar
Domenic M. DeNiro
Ariel N. Frazier
Emma K. Hillman
Alexander H. Kalmus
Ryan J. Spirko
Vincent Tung

Thornburg Mathematics Prize
Matthew A. Kilgore

Trustees Scholarship Cup
Alpha Chi Omega

Harry M. Ullmann Chemistry Prize
Anastasia M. Barros
Justin M. Carter

Geraldo Vasconcellos Thompson International Award
Brianna M. Buysse
Mitchell F. Petersen

John R. Wagner Award
Tyler K. Stangle

William Whigham, Jr. Memorial Prize
Jackson H. Cochran-Carney
Kevin J. Fein
Korey D. Finn
John Z. Lentz
Brian P. Scheidle
Yiyuan Zhang

Elisha P. Wilbur Mathematics Prize
Justin M. Gottlieb
Grace E. Heidelberger
Monica E. Shapiro
Yuxin (Cedric) Wu

Elisha P. Wilbur Scholarship Prize
Ziv A. Arzt
Olivia D. Conover
Lauren J. Fried
Christopher J. Garman
Tamara G. Hass
Ryan P. Herbert
Lauren M. Kiesel
Brittany A. Klimek
Matthew M. Pasch
Elizabeth Pines
Jasmine K. Singh
Rachel A. Sternberg
Tyler K. Stangle

Theodore B. Wood Prize
Ryan D. James

Photos by Christa Neu