Monday, November 18, 2019

Susan Koch: Lincoln Academy Student Laureates lead into the future

The following is an excerpt from a column by University of Illinois Springfield Chancellor Susan Koch. This column appeared in The State Journal-Register on November 16, 2019. 

Many Illinois residents are familiar with the Lincoln Academy of Illinois, a nonprofit organization created more than 50 years ago to honor distinguished Illinoisans. Since its founding, the Academy has recognized over 300 sons and daughters of Illinois, including a number of Springfield citizens, with the prestigious “Order of Lincoln.”

An equally important recognition bestowed by the Academy is the Abraham Lincoln Civic Engagement award - presented each year to one outstanding graduating senior from each four-year college, university and community college in the state.

According to Julie Kellner, Executive Director of the Lincoln Academy and a UIS graduate, the Student Laureate award is “a way for the State of Illinois to recognize outstanding student achievement, civic engagement and leadership.”

As Chancellor of UIS and an Academic Trustee of the Lincoln Academy, it is my honor each year to select one UIS student for this prestigious recognition. I’m delighted to announce that, just yesterday in a ceremony at the Old State Capitol in Springfield, UIS senior Melissa Van received the 2019 Student Laureate award, which includes presentation of the Lincoln Medal, a Certificate of Merit and a monetary award.

A member of the Capital Scholars Honors program at UIS, Van is from Lincoln and will be graduating this year with a major in business and minor in management.

“I am a first generation Vietnamese-American,” says Van. “My parents emigrated from Vietnam and have always been role models for me. They started from the bottom and worked hard to make a better life for me and my younger sisters.

Read the entire column online.