During an evening of celebration and reflection, 35 incoming Medallion Scholars of the Class of 2027 were welcomed into the program, while graduating seniors of the Class of 2023 were honored for their scholarship and service to others.
In an annual rite of passage, the Arizona State University Alumni Association held the 2023 Medallion Scholarship dinner on Monday, April 24, to celebrate recipients of the scholarship that develops a tradition of leadership and service throughout the span of the students’ academic careers.
“The Alumni Association welcomes the Medallion Scholarship Program Class of 2027,” said Christine K. Wilkinson, president and CEO of the association. “You are arriving at an exciting time of continuing innovation, multiple teaching strategies and many opportunities to develop your leadership skills further. At the same time, we congratulate the seniors for their service, pursuit of excellence and future roles as they graduate in just a couple of weeks.”
Chris Hill, ‘86 BS, past chair of the ASU Alumni Association Board of Directors and Trustee of ASU, acknowledged the competitive nature of the application process that narrowed the pool.
“Congratulations to all of the Medallion Scholars,” Hill said. “I am in awe of all you have accomplished in not only the academic arena but also your focus on giving back to the community through service and volunteer projects. Remember to enjoy the journey and that your connections to your Medallion Scholarship Program cohort, and the ASU Alumni Association, will be there to keep you connected and support you wherever your journey takes you.”
Medallion Scholars are chosen from incoming Arizona high-school students who have received the New American University Dean’s Award, which recognizes academic achievement, and who apply for the Medallion Scholarship program. More than 200 students apply to the program each year, and final recipients receive a four-year, renewable financial award of $4,000.
To renew the award, the scholar must actively participate in regular meetings, activities and community service, and must maintain a 3.0 cumulative grade point average and successfully complete a minimum of 30 ASU credit hours for the academic year.
Financial support comes from individual donations and from a portion of the fees paid for the ASU collegiate license plate. The plates cost $25, and $17 from each Sparky and Pitchfork plate sold goes directly to the Medallion Scholarship fund.
“Today, the Medallion Scholarship program is one of the top scholarship programs at the university,” said James Randall, ‘09 BA, ‘11 MEd, ASU Alumni Association director of student engagement and Medallion Scholarship advisor.
“The Medallion Scholarship is more than just an award,” said Randall, who was the master of ceremonies at the dinner in the Student Pavilion on the Tempe campus. “It is a comprehensive program designed to connect you to campus and community resources, cultivate your personal and professional development, and immerse you in the Sun Devil experience.”
To the enthusiastic clapping of the nearly 200 scholars, family members and friends in attendance, each incoming first-year Medallion Scholar was called to the stage and a medallion was placed around their neck. Each also took a photo with Wilkinson, Hill and Sparky to commemorate the beginning of their academic journey.
“Please, wear this medal with pride,” Randall said. “The Medallion Scholarship has a rich, 55-year history, and over 2,000 Sun Devils before you have been given this honor.”
Individual excellence awards were presented to four of the 127 Medallion Scholars currently enrolled at ASU.
The Scholarship Award, given to the student who has demonstrated excellence in the classroom and applied what they have learned to their future, was presented to Brooke Zanon. She will graduate summa cum laude, earning a Bachelor of Arts in both global studies and political science as well as a minor in French. She is attending Georgetown University Law Center in the fall after a congressional internship this summer with the LGBTQ+ Victory Institute in Washington, D.C.
The Service Excellence Award was awarded to two scholars. The first was Felicity Hacker, who volunteered more than 100 hours on more than 30 separate occasions. The second was Chase Mathias, who went above and beyond to host two families, each with a parent recovering from a brain tumor, as guests at the UCLA football game.
As is tradition, Medallion Scholars voted to elect the recipient of the Leadership Excellence Award. This year, they selected Ahlias Jones. Jones holds a number of leadership positions, including his role at the Literacy Lab’s Leading Men Fellowship, where he is one of the few men of color between the ages of 18–24 who work in local preschools to improve the literacy skills of children in the community.
Sierra Lockett, Medallion Scholarship leadership council president and graduating senior, presented an address to her peers, lauding them for their inspirational accomplishments and exemplary leadership.
“This is what it means to be a Medallion Scholar: You work hard, lead by example and express the change you want to see in the world,” Lockett said. “It is not the easiest to complete these four years and to maintain this scholarship. I applaud your perseverance, your strength and know that you will do amazing things after this chapter of our life closes.”
Each graduating Medallion Scholar was then called to the stage to have the Medallion stole placed around their necks and to shake hands with Wilkinson, Hill and Sparky.
Incoming Medallion Scholars:
Anne Marie Bolling.
John Anthony Caballero.
Kylie Michelle Cavanagh.
Roya Wynn Columbe.
Kevin Michael Cruz.
Kendra Jazlynn Elizalde.
Dariana Iveth Garcia.
Hailey Marie Garcia.
Shelby Goodman, Jr.
Santiago Griffin Todd.
Gabriel Jesus Ibarra.
Nicole Azaiah Irwin.
Aghogho Divine Madagwa.
Emily Marie Mccullouch.
Taylor Mae Mclane.
Lainey Rose Minero.
Alexis Marie Miranda.
Alexandra Maria Sepe.
Fatima Batool Vardak.
Miguel Guadalupe Velazquez III.
Maxwell Jakab Weidinger.
Krista Faith Wiechmann.
Graduating Medallion Scholars:
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