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The University of Iowa honored outstanding students, faculty, staff, and alumni on Tuesday, April 10 at the 95th anniversary Finkbine Dinner, one of the university’s most prestigious award ceremonies.
Tom Rocklin, vice president for student life, emceed the dinner, which was held at the Iowa Memorial Union. Elliot Higgins, president of University of Iowa Student Government (UISG), and Kelli Todd, president of the Executive Council of Graduate and Professional Students, provided remarks reflecting on the 95th anniversary of this Iowa tradition. UI President Sally Mason presented the medallions and student leader certificates. UITV will broadcast the dinner; check listings for day and time.
The following awards were presented at the dinner (see photos of the recipients here):
Hancher-Finkbine Awards recognize outstanding leadership, learning, and loyalty.
Undergraduate Hancher-Finkbine Medallions were awarded to Brittany Caplin and Elliot Higgins. Caplin is a senior journalism and mass communication and political science major from Burnsville, Minn. She is president of the Public Relations Student Society of America, vice president of UISG, and a public relations intern for University Communication and Marketing. Higgins is a senior political science and anthropology major from Ottumwa, Iowa. He is president of UISG, a former Student Liaison to the Iowa City City Council, and an active volunteer.
Graduate/Professional Hancher-Finkbine Medallions were awarded to Manish Aggarwal and Amy Beier. Aggarwal, from Marion, Iowa, is a fourth-year medical student in the teaching distinction track who is involved in educational development. Beier, a third-year law student from Columbia, Md., is co-president of the Iowa Student Bar Association and executive editor of the Iowa Law Review.
The Faculty Hancher-Finkbine Medallion was awarded to Nicholas Colangelo, director and co-founder of the Connie Belin & Jacqueline N. Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development in the College of Education. The Staff Hancher-Finkbine Medallion was awarded to Dinette Myers, who has served as support staff in the Center for Student Involvement & Leadership (CSIL) for more than 25 years.
The Alumni Hancher-Finkbine Medallion was awarded to Joseph N. Crowley, an Oelwein, Iowa native who received his undergraduate degree from the UI in 1959. He pursued a career in higher education, and served as president of the University of Nevada-Reno from 1978 to 2001.
Distinguished Student Leadership Certificates recognize students who have exhibited meritorious qualities in leadership, learning, and loyalty. They were awarded to William F. Davies II, Kelly Michael Huston, Ryan Kenneth Melcher, Simone Renault, and stef m. shuster.
Davies, a senior from Highland Park, Ill., is an anthropology major with minors in economics and geography and a certificate in sustainability. He organized the inaugural UI Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event, raising funds and educating participants on preventing violence against women.
Huston, from Independence, Iowa is a fourth-year dental student and recipient of the American Dental Education Association Gies Teaching Fellowship. In November he organized “Movember” programming in the college to raise awareness of testicular cancer.
Melcher, a third-year law student from Iowa City, organized events supporting local service organizations as president of Phi Alpha Delta. He has also volunteered with the Innocence Project, a national litigation and public policy organization dedicated to exonerating wrongfully convicted people.
Renault, a senior from Hubbard, Iowa is biology and international studies major with a minor in philosophy. She held an internship with the World Food Prize, founded the Global Alliance for Vaccinations and Immunizations campus campaign, served as director of community service for Saturdays in Service, and is an active volunteer.
shuster is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Sociology whose work has been recognized as cutting across disciplines and contributing to social scientific knowledge of transgender and lesbian, gay and bisexual communities.
Other awards announced at the dinner were:
The Philip G. Hubbard Human Rights Award recognizing students who work to advance human rights, was presented to Kyra Adrenia Lanae Seay, a sophomore prebusiness and Asian languages and literature major from Keokuk, Iowa; and Janet Schlapkohl of Iowa City, an M.F.A. student in the Iowa Playwrights Workshop. Seay founded Students Abolishing Slavery, a student organization that raised money for anti-trafficking programs. In addition to writing plays that explore human rights issues, Schlapkohl founded a theater company that fosters collaborations between students with disabilities and their peers.
The Robert F. Ray Faculty Representative Awards recognizing student-athletes who demonstrate academic and athletic excellence, as well as leadership, were presented to Erik Sowinski and Rebecca Spengler. Sowinski, a senior integrative physiology major from Waukesha, Wis., is a member of the track and field team. Spengler, a senior psychology major from Lititz, Penn., is captain of the field hockey team.
The M.L. Huit Faculty Award, recognizing a faculty member who demonstrates dedication to, concern for, and interaction with students, was presented to Angela Onwuachi-Willig, a professor in the College of Law.
The James N. Murray Faculty Award, recognizing a non-tenured faculty member who demonstrates outstanding rapport with students and creates an exemplary classroom atmosphere, was presented to Omar Valerio-Jiménez., assistant professor in the Department of History.