Presidential Leadership Medal of Excellence

Established in 2002, the Presidential Leadership Medal of Excellence (PLME) is a prestigious honor awarded by the University President to exceptional graduating students who best exemplify scholarship, leadership, character, service and the ideals of the University of Cincinnati.

Our 2024 Winners

Headshot of Lance Entsuah

Lance Entsuah

Carl H. Lindner College of Business

Headshot of Mia Morales

Mia Morales

College of Arts and Sciences

Headshot of Maya Goertemoeller

Maya Goertemoeller

College of Medicine

Headshot of Rebekah Littlepage

Rebekah Littlepage

College of Education, Criminal Justice and Human Services

Selection Criteria

Strong candidates will be able to demonstrate significant experience in one or more of these criteria. Any candidate with significant contribution in even one of these criteria is encouraged to apply. Check back for application information in Fall 2024.

Eligibility for graduation from a baccalaureate degree program in August of the previous academic year, or December or April of the current academic year.

The nominee has a cumulative University grade point average of 3.2 or better.  S/he also exhibits evidence of high academic excellence (e.g., participation in research and/or the creative arts) and achievement. Examples of high academic achievement may include acceptance to prestigious graduate programs, presentations at professional association annual meetings, featured publications in publications that have a regional and/or inter/national circulation, or applications to inter/nationally competitive fellowships and scholarships such as the Goldwater.

In their leadership activities, the nominee exhibits an innovation mindset, as demonstrated through creative problem solving, the ability to take initiative, a positive peer/community impact, and contributions to a group’s sustainability and growth. Examples include, but are not limited to: Founding or designing new programs, initiatives or organizations. Redesigning existing programs, initiatives or organizations. Participating in or winning UC IQ E-Pitch Competition or another prestigious innovation competition. Significant innovation through leadership in UC co-curricular activities (e.g., advocacy, governance, honorary, service, social or athletic organizations). Any recognition for innovative leadership at the regional, state, and/or inter/national organizational level should be noted.

The nominee currently participates and gives back to the University and the community. Examples include significant participation in community activities, contribution to the community through the creation and/or enhancement of an organization/agency, or application to Teach For America, Americorps, the Truman Scholarship program, etc.

The nominee supports and furthers inclusion and is recognized for their contributions at the regional, state, national or international level. 

The Nominee supports and participates in global engagement and has had a significant study abroad. Examples could include an application to the Peace Corps, the Foreign Service, the Kiva Fellows Program, a Gilman International Scholarship, or the Fulbright Fellowship Program.

The nominee’s current success is externally validated through local, state, regional, and/or inter/national recognition.

Examples may include application to the Rhodes, Marshall, Gates-Cambridge, and/or Mitchell Scholarships.

The following step are required for an application to be complete:

  1. Applicants must complete the online application. Check back for application information in Fall 2024.

  2. Applicants must upload a current resume as part of the online application

  3. Applicants must upload a personal statement as part of the online application of no more than four typed, double-spaced pages with one inch margins and size 12 font, explaining, in terms of the criteria, why you think you should be named a recipient of this award and reflecting on your involvement illustrating innovation, initiative, independence, a positive peer impact, and contributions to a group for sustainability and growth. 

  4. Applicants must upload a completed FERPA form

    EditSign to give permission to the Selection Committee to obtain information including, but not limited to, any disciplinary records in the applicant's name and the transcript of the applicants academic record at the University of Cincinnati. This information will be used for the sole purpose of verifying the applicant's personal attributes and suitability for this nomination. Please be advised that students who have any violation on their student record will be ineligible for the PLME Award and their application will not be reviewed.

  5. A completed online recommendation form and corresponding letter of recommendation from a current faculty member of the University of Cincinnati to be submitted by the faculty member. Faculty may complete the form and upload recommendations here.

  6. An additional online recommendation form and corresponding letter of recommendation from a  current staff or administrative member of the University of Cincinnati to be submitted by the staff or administrative member. Staff or administrative members may complete the form and upload recommendations here.


Please contact Tricia Yee for clarification on the faculty, staff and administrative designations.   Beyond the required recommendations from a faculty member and a staff or administrative member, one additional recommendation form and letter may be submitted on behalf of the student. Any recommendations submitted beyond the third submission will not be considered as part of the review process.

Recommendation forms and letters are to be submitted by the faculty, staff, or administrative member completing the recommendation. All recommendations are to be submitted by the application deadline.

Applicants must submit a completed application by the published deadline.

All applicants must also be available for an interview with the selection committee in January or February. However, interviews will only be granted to award finalists. Dates for interviews will be given to finalists as soon as possible in January. 

Clarifying questions or concerns about the online application and online recommendations may be directed to Tricia Yee, PLME Coordinator, at or 513-556-6236.