Leadership Honors and Awards

The Gates Center honors individual student leaders and student organizations at the Student Leadership Awards Ceremony each spring. Honorees are nominated by the campus community and selected by committees made up of faculty, staff and students.

Individual Awards

The Alpha Sigma Kappa Class of 1938 Memorial Prize

The Alpha Sigma Kappa Class of 1938 Memorial Prize was established in 1993 by members of the Class of 1938 who were members of the Alpha Sigma Kappa fraternity. The prize is given to a senior student who has participated in at least two co-curricular activities on campus, and has exhibited a strong commitment to community service while a student at Lake Forest College for at least the last two years.

Recent recipients include:

Evie Deitrich, 2023
Carolynn Boatfield, 2022
Zaria N. Sydnor, 2020
Katherine Nolte, 2019
Alexandra Widmer, 2018
Rachel Tenuta and Jeremy Berg, 2017
Lisa Ledvora, 2016
Alexandra Beer, 2015
Jonathan Ramirez, 2014


Peter C. Clute Award for Outstanding Character

Peter C. Clute Award for Outstanding Character was established to honor the memory of Peter C. Clute, class of 1973, whose “boundless energy and infectious and unceasing enthusiasm brought great happiness to all who knew him.” The fund was established through the generosity of Peter’s friends and classmates. The recipient of the award, selected by Lake Forest College Student Affairs staff in consultation with students, “… shall be that Lake Forest College student whose uniquely positive attitude and whose joy in living inspires and enhances the lives of those around him or her.”

Recent recipients include:

Ashlyn Pope, 2023
Enrique Salonga, 2022
Tebatso T. Duba, 2021
Rodney S. Bethea, 2020
Elza Demiri, 2019
Arun Pookote, 2018
Urooj Akmad, 2017
Sophie Faylor, 2016
Rapheal Mathis, 2015
Joao Cassamano, 2014

The Edward H. Oppenheimer Memorial Prizes

The Edward H. Oppenheimer Memorial Prize are given each year to two senior students who are judged to have contributed the most to the College community. The prize, given by James K. Oppenheimer, Class of 1965, honors his father. It is awarded and announced at the Senior Honors Convocation.

Recent recipients include:


Juliàn Cano
Jovana Jovanovska


Isabella Nuño
Reneé Gordon

Zachary D. Jenkins
Blessing Uche Okeke

Claire M. Grebner
Deja J. McClellan

Alexis Nogulich
Ayesha Quraishi

Lauren Bell
Jakobi McClellan

Brendan McLane
Andrea Lorch

Pulkit Diwan
Sierra Clark

Samuel Herrmann
Lauren Sanford

Vasiliki Gerentes
Chris Way

Please watch for an email from the Dean of Students Office for more information about the timeline and how to nominate/apply for this award.

The Tamara Lee Wefler Award

The Tamara Lee Wefler Award  This award was established by the class of 1977 in memory of their classmate Tamara Lee Wefler (1955–1975). The prize is awarded annually to that senior whose independent spirit has encouraged the acceptance of a diversity of values and beliefs within the student body; whose inspiration and enthusiasm have promoted the highest standards of character and integrity in others; and whose actions have consistently demonstrated a sensitivity for and an interest in the welfare of others.

Recent recipients include:

Coral Contreras, 2023
Zahra Nadeem, 2022
Kgotia "Kotch" Mmopi, 2020
KeAnthony Thompson, 2019
Ashley Lamarre, 2018
Evelyn Bello, 2017
Jyothis James, 2016
JerDrema Flynt, 2015
Lucy-George Cooper, 2014

The Make A Difference Award

The Make A Difference Award is presented to individuals who have demonstrated a strong commitment to helping others and to community service. Students nominated for this award should be able to illustrate how they have made a difference on campus and in the community through outreach, education, and service.

Recent recipients include:

Blythe Avery May, 2022
October K. Heffner, 2021
Sana Z. Shariff, 2020
Claire Grebner, 2019
Maham Mansoor, 2018
Jennifer McTague, 2017
Lauren Bell, 2016
Kaitlyn Kast, 2015
Jana Hengstler, 2014

The Commitment to Campus Well Being Award

The Commitment to Campus Well Being Award recognizes the student who has made the most outstanding contributions to promoting the health and wellness of Lake Forest College students and our campus community. Students who work to increase understanding of the importance of mind, body, and spirit in personal development, educate about and promote healthy lifestyle decisions, raise awareness of or decrease stigma around physical and mental health concerns, provide opportunities to engage in activities that enhance mental and physical well-being, and otherwise contribute to the development of the college as a healthy learning community were nominated for this award.

Recent recipients include:

Maja Gavrilovic, 2023
Maggie Kersting, 2022
Belle R. Tseitlin, 2021
Diayan V. Rajamohan, 2020
Aleksey Ilyukh, 2019
Michael Roy, 2018
Mara Negru, 2017
Beatriz Estay, 2016
Ashton Hartman, 2015
Galina Lipkin, 2014

The Community Builder Award

The Community Builder Award is awarded to an individual who has made outstanding contributions towards building a strong campus community. This student will have been a positive, motivating role model on campus for other students. They will have worked to link fellow Lake Forest College students more closely with the campus fostering a continuous positive environment of the campus community. 

Recent recipients include:

Chelsea Davis, 2023
Jamari Tansmore, 2022
Kobee J. Marion, 2021
Jordan F. Briggs, 2020
Jordan Moran, 2019
Alexander Sheppard, 2018
Brendan McLane, 2017
Virgil Thomas, 2016
Rapheal Mathis, 2015
Pulkit Diwan, 2014

The Rising Star Award

The Rising Star Award is awarded to the first year student leader who has shown tremendous growth over the past academic year, and is an emerging leader in the Lake Forest College community. The nominee should be an active member of at least one registered student organization, be respected by their peers, and should demonstrate leadership potential at the College. 

Recent recipients include:

Chris Meza, 2023
Hawi Odhiambo, 2022
Wiktoria M. Pedryc, 2021
Ashlyn B. Pope, 2020
Dega Demiri, 2019
Taylor Moore, 2018
Kotch Mmopi, 2017
Lindsay Cohen, 2016
Lily Collins, 2015
Matthew McPherson, 2014

The Student Leader of the Year Award

The Student Leader of the Year Award is presented to a person who through their leadership skills and initiative, has made a significant impact on the Lake Forest College community throughout the past academic year. The recipient must have demonstrated examples of outstanding service to others and within the community. Award recipients will be selected based on breadth and depth of involvement and leadership in co-curricular activities, including: membership and leadership of College-sponsored student organizations, service in the community, involvement in professional, academic, and leadership development experiences, and the overall impact on campus life and learning for students. 

Recent recipients include:

Brandon Christopher, 2023
Nada Reffat, 2022
Grace M. Verb, 2021
Deja J. McClellan, 2020
Katherine Nolte, 2019
Altin Kukaj, 2018
Mara Negru, 2017
Kimiko Fujioka Guillermo, 2016
Katherine Bentley, 2015
Anali Vargas, 2014

The Commitment to Student Development Award

The Commitment to Student Development Award will be presented to an outstanding faculty or staff member who has fostered an environment of student development throughout the academic year. The recipient will have challenged students to step outside their comfort zone and learn about themselves and the Lake Forest College community through knowledge and understanding. The recipient will have set clear and ambitious standards for students to aspire towards.

Recent recipients include:

Christine Walker, 2023
Linda Horwitz, 2022
Pauline Binder Finnema, 2021
Anna Trumbore Jones, 2020
Stacy Oliver-Sikorski, 2019
Elizabeth Snider, 2018
Patrick Doggett, 2017
Stewart Foley, 2016
Dawn Abt-Perkins, 2015
William Dlugokienski, 2014

The Student Organization President of the Year

The Student Organization President of the Year recognizes a student organization president that has had a significant impact on their student organization throughout the past academic year. Nominees will have influenced the development and mentoring of organization members and officers. Award recipients will be selected based on visible examples of ethical leadership, a commitment to the growth of the organization and development of its members and a dedication to helping the organization embody the College’s mission.

Student organization awards include:

Gabe Blindauer, 2023
Kobee Marion, 2022
Arleigh G. Kraker, 2021
Blessing U. Okeke, 2020
Rodrigo Sanchez, 2019
Guadalupe Ornelas, 2019
Morgan Malte, 2018
Devin Tyler, 2017
Virgil Thomas, 2016
Periana Wilson, 2015
Anna Bryan, 2014

The Advisor of the Year Award

The Advisor of the Year Award is presented to the faculty or staff member who has served as an official advisor to a registered college student organization and has gone above-and-beyond their duties to ensure the organization’s success. The successful candidate will have contributed significant time, energy, and resources. This recipient should actively mentor the students within the organization, and be someone to whom the students look for support and direction. Through their work with the organization, this nominee should cultivate the leadership of the members.

Recent recipients include:

Courtney Joseph, 2023
Muris Hadzic (MSA), 2020
Courtney Joseph, 2019
Raymundo Juarez, 2019
Carolyn Tuttle, 2019
Heather Noll, 2019
William Dlugokienski, 2019
Kellie Doyle, 2019

The Jacob Wardwell Edwards Prize

The Jacob Wardwell Edwards Prize was established by friends and relatives in memory of Mr. Edwards, former Director of Admissions. The prize is given annually to the rising sophomore who is judged to have demonstrated the most outstanding qualities of leadership during his or her first year at the College.

Recent recipients include:

Megan Tanquilut, 2023
Ari Collins, 2022
Vitoria Andrade Carnier, 2020
Isabella Nuno, 2019
Uche Okeke, 2018
Adelaide Grubbe, 2017
Lillian Shehadi, 2016
Jose Reyes Facio, 2015
Samukelisiwe Ngwenya, 2014

If you would like to nominate a peer or yourself for this award, please click here. 

Student Organization Awards

The Outstanding Program of the Year Award

The Outstanding Program of the Year Award is presented to an organization who has facilitated an exemplary on-campus program.

Recent recipients include:

LEAP's Earth Celebration, 2023
First Aid Club De-Stress with Therapy Dogs, 2022
MSA More Than a Scarf Event, 2021
UBA's The N Word Panel, 2020
Diversity of Thought Week, 2019
TedX, 2018
PRIDE Annual Drag Show and Gala, 2017
UBA Blackout Fashion Show, 2016
Black Lives Matter Sit-in and Discussion, 2015
Heroes Day, 2014

The Student Organization of the Year Award

The Student Organization of the Year Award recognizes outstanding contributions to the Lake Forest College community by a registered student organization. Student organizations will be reviewed on membership, recruitment, programming and service. Organizations who have collaborated with other organizations, academic departments, or offices are prime candidates for this award. Organizations nominated must be registered with the Gates Center for Leadership and Personal Growth. To be eligible they must have an advisor, a roster and procedural guidelines registered with the Gates Center for Leadership and Personal Growth.

Recent recipients include:

United Black Association, 2023
It's on US, 2022
UMOJA, 2021
PRIDE, 2020
Muslim Students Association, 2019 
South Asian Students Association, 2018
United Black Association, 2017
United Black Association, 2016
United Black Association, 2015
Synapse, 2014

The Collaborative Effort of the Year Award
The Collaborative Effort of the Year Award will recognize an outstanding event or program in which two or more registered student organizations have collaborated. 
Recent recipients include:

South Asian Student Association & Latinos Unidos - Friendsgiving, 2023
JCC/UA - Create Your Own Sushi Event, 2022
JCC/UA/SASA - Asian, Asian American, Pacific Islander Heritage Month in May, 2021
MSA, Hillel & Intervarsity's Interfaith Dinner & Summit, 2020
Nu Rho Psi Art Series, 2019
Latin American Coffee & World Tea Tasting, 2018
Fall Fest - Student Programming Board - Dance Team, Garrick Players, Alpha Phi Omega, 2017

The Social Justice Program of the Year Award

The Social Justice Program of the Year Award is presented to a student group that has demonstrated their commitment to build upon and advance human relations concerning race, religion, cultural diversity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic background, nationality, gender or any other area related to social justice through a campus-wide program. This innovative program is one that provided an environment to explore topics and practical knowledge that attendees could use to expand their knowledge and foster a more inclusive and engaged global community.

It's on US - Supporting Survivors, 2023
SASA - Chai with SASA, 2022

Additional Honor

Lincoln Laureate

In 1975, the Lincoln Academy began its Student Laureate Award Program. Each year an outstanding senior from each of the four-year, degree-granting institutions of higher learning in Illinois is awarded a Medallion of Lincoln, a Certificate of Merit, and a small stipend and thereby becomes a Student Laureate.