Presidential Leadership Medal of Excellence

Honors Leaders in Action

About the Award

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.

Selection Criteria

To be considered for this year's honor, students must meet the following criteria:

  1. Graduation.   Eligibility for graduation from a baccalaureate degree program in August of the previous academic year, or December or April of the current academic year.
  2. Academic Learning & Discovery.  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.
  3. Significant Leadership Contribution.  The nominee illustrates innovation, initiative, independence, a positive peer impact, and contributions to a group for sustainability and growth within their organizational involvement.
    Examples include significant leadership in UC co-curricular activities (e.g., advocacy, governance, honorary, service, social or athletic organizations) and is recognized for their organizational contributions at the regional, state, and/or inter/national organizational level.
  4. Community Participation.   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.
  5. Diversity.  The nominee supports and furthers diversity and is recognized for their contributions at the regional, state, and/or inter/national level.   Examples include engagement in programs such as the Racial Awareness Program (RAAP) , Accelerating Racial Justice (ARJ), Brother and Sisters Excelling (BASE, Activists Coming Together (ACT), Reclaim Peer Advocate Program, Women in Leadership and Learning (WILL) application to Teach For America or The Peace Corps.
  6. Global Engagement. 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.
  7. Potential for future success and achievement.   The nominee’s current success is externally validated through local, state, regional, and/or inter/national recognition. 
    This also includes application to the Rhodes, Marshall, Gates-Cambridge, and/or Mitchell Scholarships.

The Application Packet

A complete nominee application packet includes the following:

  1. Applicant’s basic information page (available in the application packet)
  2. A current resume
  3. An essay of no more than four typed, double-spaced pages, 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. A completed nomination form and corresponding letter of recommendation from a faculty, staff or administrative member of the University of Cincinnati
  5. An additional nomination form and corresponding letter of recommendation from a faculty, staff or administrative member of the University of Cincinnati.  (If the first nomination is by a faculty member, the second letter should be from a member of the UC staff or administration and vice-versa.)

Beyond the required letters of recommendation from faculty and staff, you may submit one additional letter of support. Any letters submitted beyond the third letter will not be considered as part of the review process.

Applicants must submit a completed application by email by
12:00 PM on Wednesday, November 30, 2016

All applicants must also be available for an interview with the selection committee in January 2017.  However, interviews will only be granted to award finalists.


Clarifying questions or concerns about the application process may be directed to Tricia Yee at or 513-556-6236.

Presidential Leadership Medal

Previous Recipients


  • Priya Chawla
  • Andrew Griggs
  • Jeff Maler
  • Hannah Randolph
  • Caitlin Taylor
  • Zach Tucker


  • Sally Amkoa
  • Brian Barney
  • Caroline Hensley
  • Elliana R. Kirsh 
  • Bhavik Modi
  • Cory Murphy


  • Amara Agomuo
  • Kyle Quinn
  • Brad Theilman
  • Mahima Venkatesh
  • Katie Wesler


  • Lane Hart
  • Megan McDonald
  • William McIlwain IV
  • Nick Shah
  • Mark Schutte


  • Kaitlin Dauner
  • Naomi Fitter
  • Tom Meyer
  • David Watkins


  • Taiwo Adeoye
  • Ravi Grandhi
  • Andrew Smith
  • Shali Zhu


  • Anndrea Moore
  • Paul Kruchoski
  • Alexzandra Spatholt
  • Li Tan


  • Sonya Mueller
  • Ryan Rosensweig
  • Ashley Verhoff


  • Monique Jindal
  • Jerry Tsai
  • Ryan Vose


  • Dominic Berardi
  • Joyce Kasee
  • Jessica King


  • Marcus Bethay
  • Andrew Burke
  • Benjamin Hines
  • Jessica Kinnemeyer
  • Denise Leone


  • Rachel Jarvis
  • Justin Shafer
  • Steven Trepkowski


  • Cindy Chiang
  • Dominic Iacobucci
  • Payal Modi
  • Rob Reinerman
  • Smitri Srivastava


  • Jay Hummel
  • Jeanette McClellan
  • Manasseh Robinson

2002 (Inaugural Year)

  • Georgina Ginn
  • Yogini Kanthi
  • Jaime McCauley
  • Robert Richardson