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Four Graduates Awarded UC’s Highest Honor

The recipients of the Presidential Leadership Medal of Excellence will be recognized at the spring All-University Commencement ceremonies.

Date: 5/10/2011 12:00:00 AM
By: Dawn Fuller
Phone: (513) 556-1823
Photos By: Dottie Stover

UC ingot   It’s the University of Cincinnati’s most prestigious honor for undergraduates. The 2011 recipients of UC’s Presidential Leadership Medal of Excellence are Taiwo Adeoye, Ravi Grandhi, Andrew Smith and Shali Zhu. The symbol of this honor – a bronze medal featuring the university’s crest on the front and the recipient’s name on the back – will be presented to each of the recipients at the annual University Recognition Ceremony at 4 p.m., Sunday, May 15, in the Great Hall of Tangeman University Center.

A UC tradition since 2002, the recipients of the Presidential Leadership Medal of Excellence are selected for their academic excellence, their commitment to co-curricular activities, their citizenship in support of the university’s goals and values, their dedication to diversity and their potential for future success and achievement. They’ll receive special recognition at UC’s All-University Commencement ceremonies on Saturday, June 11, in Fifth Third Arena.

The 2011 honorees were selected from 29 applications of graduating seniors and 12 finalists. They are:

Taiwo Adeoye

Taiwo Adeoye – Born in Toledo, Ohio and raised in Nigeria, Adeoye, a Darwin T. Turner Scholarship recipient, is a graduate of Our Lady of Apostles Secondary School in Lagos state, Nigeria. She is earning bachelor’s degrees in international affairs and political science from the McMicken College of Arts and Sciences (A&S), along with a certificate in international human rights. Adeoye plans to dedicate her career to protecting the rights of women and children in developing countries – more specifically, she wants to serve as an advocate to protect women against the practice of female genital mutilation and other archaic cultural traditions. She was among 20 young women selected nationwide to take part in the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women conference in 2010, after representing UC’s Model United Nations team as part of the award-winning delegation. Adeoye also represented UC as she became one of 110 Fellows around the world selected for the StartingBloc Los Angeles Institute for Social Innovation, where she worked with a group of students to implement a campaign aimed at battling climate change and investing in “green” initiatives. This summer, she will also be a participant in the summer Women's International League for Peace and Freedom's triennial congress in Costa Rica where she and other young female leaders will explore how to integrate their initiatives within the organization’s larger framework. “Taiwo is one of our best leaders cultivated at the African American Cultural and Resource Center (AACRC) and has impacted the University of Cincinnati in a major way,” says Ewaniki Moore-Hawkins, assistant director, AACRC. “She has mastered the art of empowering others and using their special talents and treasures.” Adeoye’s many other student leadership positions and honors include serving as executive vice president for UC’s ADVANCE, a student leadership organization that supports underrepresented students as they prepare to enter the job market. She is fluent in English, Pidgin and Yoruba. She spent three months on a study abroad trip to Costa Rica and also visited Bocas del Toro in Panama, where she became proficient in advanced Spanish. She is a member of the Sigma Phi Women’s Honorary; Lambda Society Women’s Honorary; Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society; Pi Sigma Alpha Political Science Honor Society and National Society of Collegiate Scholars. Adeoye was recently named to Who’s Who in American Universities and Colleges.

Ravi Grandhi

Ravi Grandhi – The Dayton, Ohio resident and graduate of Miami Valley High School will pursue a career as a medical doctor this fall as he enters the UC College of Medicine. The Darwin T. Turner scholarship recipient (and student ambassador for the program) entered UC through the Connections dual admissions program, which allows qualified high school students to reserve a place in UC’s College of Medicine once they earn their baccalaureate degree at UC. Grandhi graduated magna cum laude from the McMicken College of Arts and Sciences (A&S) last December with a bachelor’s in biology and is also completing his master’s in business administration (September 2011) from the UC College of Business. His dedication to service included spending hundreds of hours volunteering at Miami Valley Hospital. His service with the Wizards of Wright in Dayton included explaining the principles of rockets and airplanes to disadvantaged children. During his freshman year at UC, he was awarded the national Presidential Volunteer Service Bronze Medal Award. His service to his university included serving as president of the ROAR Student Tour Guides in the Office of Admissions, as well as raising nearly $10,000 for the university while working for the UC Foundation Telefund program. He also served as campaign chair for the UC Foundation’s Proudly Pennies student campaign. Grandhi was a supplemental instructor in cell biology and genetics and also served as a tutor for UC’s student athletes. He is a founding member of the UC Student Development Council and the A&S Ambassadors, and was active in the UC student Asian American Association. His study abroad experiences led him to India, Italy and France. He was a student in the University Honors Program for academically talented students. “Ravi is a person who leads by example. He is a positive role model for other students and is a pleasure for a professor to have in class,” says Mary Fox, UC professor of biological sciences. He is a member of a number of honoraries including Mortar Board; Golden Key International Honour Society; Alpha Lambda Delta and National Society of Collegiate Scholars.

Dew Smith

Andrew Smith – The third-generation Bearcat from Columbus, Ohio – a graduate of Gahanna Lincoln High School – will graduate with a bachelor’s in operations management and international business from the UC College of Business. His scholarship through the Carl H. Lindner Honors-PLUS Program in the College of Business recognizes students who demonstrate excellence in academics and leadership. The 2010-11 Student Body President was also in the University Honors Program for academically talented students.  He is the 2011 recipient of the Wayne S. Colvin Fraternal Values Award from the Association of Fraternal Leadership and Values (AFLV). The national award recognizes an undergraduate whose leadership exemplifies the core values and priorities of fraternity and sorority life. He is a member and past president of UC’s Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity. His service includes regular participation in the student-organized Relay For Life at UC to benefit the American Cancer Society – the largest student organized community service event on campus. “My grandfather, both grandmothers, stepmother and closest childhood friend have all battled cancer, so I participate in these events to raise money and awareness,” he says. “It’s not enough to just raise money, but to also participate, as this is the only way that people can learn about cancer research.” He was active in a Student Government initiative to benefit children on the hematology/oncology floor of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. His six-term co-op experiences with General Electric secured a job for him in GE’s elite two-year operations management leadership program (OMLP) after he graduates in June. Smith says he also gained valuable experience from the Lindner Honors-PLUS study abroad program, which took students to London, Finland, Brussels, Geneva and Munich in the summer of 2009. Smith belongs to numerous honoraries including Men of Metro, Sigma Sigma, Cincinnatus Service Society and Order of Omega.

Shali Zhu

Shali Zhu – Born in China, Zhu moved to Louisville, Ky. She was the valedictorian of Ballard High School and was awarded a full Cincinnatus Scholarship to UC in 2007. She will graduate with a bachelor’s in mathematics and a BBA in finance. She will represent the College of Business as a student marshal at Commencement. The graduate of the University Honors Program and Kolodzik Business Scholar will enter graduate study this fall at Oxford University, after offers of graduate school admission from, among others,  Stanford University, Columbia University, Yale University, Cornell University and the London School of Economics. She has published in Princeton University Business Today Magazine on economic reform in Europe and the U.S. After acceptance of the article, she was invited to become a regular writer for the publication. She has also presented her research at an international business conference in New York. Her student leadership activities include president of the UC Residence Hall Association, student ambassador for the College of Business and treasurer of the UC Honors Association. Her dedication to service includes tutoring students at Hughes Center, and participating in UC’s Into the Streets beautification program and Clifton Community Cleanup. She has also been a member of UC CareCats, a UC student organization that strives to make blood donation more acceptable and accessible. Her professional experiences have included working as portfolio manager for Johnson Investments Fund. She has also served two years in her year-round internship as an investment manager report analyst with the UC Office of the Chief Investment Officer, which manages the university’s endowment assets. Her many honors include the Jeanne Gulden Endowed Math Scholarship, 2011 Outstanding Undergraduate Student in Finance, and memberships in Golden Key International Honour Society and Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Society.