Division of Student Affairs recognizes outstanding student leaders

Author: Kate Morgan

2019 Student Award Winners
2019 Student Award Winners

The University of Notre Dame’s Division of Student Affairs recognized seven students at the 33rd annual Student Leadership Awards Banquet on April 9. These annual awards honor current students who have made exceptional contributions to the Notre Dame community.

The Rev. A. Leonard Collins, C.S.C., Award, honoring a graduating senior who has made substantial personal efforts to advance the interests of students at Notre Dame, was given to Bethany Boggess of South Bend, Indiana.

As a marketing major, Boggess has served as the executive director of the Student Union Board, welcomed visitors to campus as a tour guide and served in leadership roles for Welcome Weekend. Since her sophomore year, Boggess has served on the Orientation Steering Committee to help plan an inclusive Welcome Weekend and ensure a positive transition to life at Notre Dame for all students. She also served as a student facilitator for a focus group on political views as a part of the Inclusive Campus Student Survey.

The Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, C.S.C., Award annually honors a graduating senior whose leadership has significantly advanced the climate of welcome and inclusion within or beyond the University community. This year’s recipient is Deborah Bineza from La Vergne, Tennessee.

A political science major and international development studies minor, Bineza has committed significant time and energy to improving the climate of welcome and inclusion on campus. She has served the Gender Relations Center since her sophomore year and held leadership roles in Shades of Ebony and Voices of Faith. She also led a focus group for the Inclusive Campus Student Survey.

The John W. Gardner Student Leadership Award, given to a graduating senior who exemplifies the ideals of the University through outstanding community service beyond the University community, was awarded to Annelise Gill-Wiehl from Naples, Florida.

An environmental engineering major and international development studies minor, Gill-Wiehl is a Kellogg International Scholar who has used her innate compassion and the skills learned while at Notre Dame to effect change in rural Tanzania. She piloted a successful program to replace household stoves that emit hazardous pollution and are a leading cause of lung cancer in East Africa. She also learned Swahili, gained the trust of families and worked to lead a village toward cultural change.

The Blessed Basil Moreau, C.S.C., Leadership Award was awarded to Joe Crowley from Lansing, Michigan. This award is given to a graduating senior who embodies Blessed Father Moreau’s vision of educating heart and mind as well as someone who has demonstrated significant effort in advancing the Catholic character of the University.

An English and political science double major, Crowley has been extensively involved in advancing the Catholic character on campus, particularly through his leadership in music ministry and Campus Ministry. He serves the Zahm Hall community as director of choir for Sunday Mass, trains fellow music ministers in residence halls across campus and has been essential in some of the largest hall liturgies of the year. Crowley is a senior anchor intern for Liturgy with Campus Ministry, is a member of the Notre Dame Folk Choir and Glee Club, and was a student facilitator for the Inclusive Campus Student Survey focus groups.

Shannon Hendricks from Granger, Indiana, was awarded the Ray Siegfried Award for Leadership Excellence, presented to a graduating senior who exemplifies the qualities for which former Notre Dame Trustee Ray Siegfried was known, including leadership, generosity, devotion to the Catholic faith and affinity for athletics. A business analytics major and Catholic social tradition minor, Hendricks is a starter on the varsity women’s soccer team and has won several awards for positively impacting the soccer team environment on and off the field. Her zeal and passion have also propelled her to be an advocate and ally for adults with disabilities. She established a collaboration between Notre Dame women’s soccer and the Special Olympics soccer teams and, through research grants, has analyzed international organizations to determine the best way to care for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Alyssa Ngo from Marion, Indiana, was awarded the Mike Russo Spirit Award, honoring an outstanding undergraduate student who exemplifies the qualities for which Mike Russo was known, including service, personal character and striving to bring the best out of themselves and others.

A program of liberal studies and English major, and education, schooling and society minor, Ngo serves as executive chair of the Diversity Council and previously served as president of the Vietnamese Student Association. She was an undergraduate panelist in the 2019 Walk the Walk Week luncheon and is a valued member of the Advisory Committee for Student Climate Related to Race and Ethnicity. She has also served in various settings as a thoughtful, vocal representative for marginalized student populations, and worked as a student facilitator for the Inclusive Campus Student Survey focus groups.

The Denny Moore Award for Excellence in Journalism was presented to Juan Jose Rodriguez, originally from Nashville, Tennessee. This award is given to a graduating senior who exemplifies the qualities of Moore, a former Notre Dame associate vice president who was known for his integrity, character, commitment to Notre Dame and writing ability.

Rodriguez, a business analytics and film, television and theater major with a minor in journalism, served as editor-in-chief of Scholastic in 2018-19, directing in-depth coverage of topics of major interest to the Notre Dame community, including career opportunities, the pros and cons of living on campus and the #MeToo movement. He was also one of the driving forces in developing a new era of cooperation between the various student media groups that now, for the first time, occupy the same space in Duncan Student Center.