Each year, three seniors are chosen to receive the prestigious President’s Award in recognition of their outstanding contributions during their time at the University. Students are selected by a committee of their peers, as well as faculty and administrators. Specifically, the committee looks for individuals who exemplify academic performance, extra-curricular achievement and service to the University, as well as demonstrating outstanding leadership abilities and a commitment to their fellow students that rises above the norm.
Three seniors win the award, one from Westminster Choir College and a male and female from the Lawrenceville campus. President Mordechai Rozanski hands out the awards at ceremonies in April and May.
The award itself is made possible through a generous gift from the Class of 1974. Every student who wins receives an inscribed gift, along with the honor of having his or her name added on a permanent plaque displayed in the Student Center.
This year, the Presidential Award recipient from Westminster College of the Arts was voice performance major Justin F. Su'esu'e. Su'esu'e studied at the Westminster Choir College, earning a 3.76 GPA and Dean’s list on four occasions. He was listed in Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges and has received numerous awards, including the Student Government Association’s Scholarship Award, the Garabedian Scholarship and the Phillip Campanella Memorial Scholarship.
Su'esu'e has illustrated great leadership during his time at Rider, serving as this year’s President of the Student Government Association and last year’s Diversity Chair. He has also been active in community service. Each summer, he returns to his home town of Modesto, Calif., to work with the Youth Entertainment Stage Company, an outreach program for grades 7 through 12, where he mentors students and serves as an assistant choreographer and musical director. Locally, Su'esu'e sings with Phi Mu Alpha at the Princeton Care Center. And, just this month, he served as Westminster SGA’s Relay for Life Team captain.
The Lawrenceville students receiving the Presidential Award were seniors Sadé C. Calin and Eric T. Cottrell.
Even with a double major in journalism and global studies and a minor in political science, Calin maintained a 3.9 cumulative grade point average and, like Su'esu'e, was named to Who’s Who Among Students as well as being recognized by the Communication Honor Society, Lambda Pi Eta and Phi Beta Delta. Since 2013, Calin has been a member of Rider's Model UN Team and was elected team leader this year. Recently, her team won the Outstanding Delegation at the National Model UN 2014 Conference, which marked the University’s sixth straight win in the competition.
Among her other activities, she is a member of The Rider University Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders and a copy editor for The Rider News. Calin is also very involved in campus and community services, volunteering for the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen and mentoring at-risk high school students one day each weekend.
Cottrell, a double major in elementary education and integrated science and mathematics with a minor in special education, has also been named to Who’s Who Among Students and the International Education Honor Society, Kappa Delta Pi. Cottrell has been a leader among his peers from the very beginning, first as the freshman class vice president and later as an orientation leader for new students.
He also served as a senior resident advisor, organizing programs and community building activities and tracking resident’s engagement in these activities and was recently elected president of the Student Government Association. As this year’s Special Events co-chair for the Student Entertainment Council, he also helped to plan the Kelly Rowland concert. Most recently, he served as co-chair of The American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life campaign, raising close to $50,000, bringing Rider’s total raised over the last six years to some $350,000.
All three outstanding students were recognized at the Presidential Award Ceremony this past Saturday, May 3, in the Cavalla Room on the Lawrenceville campus. View the full list of previous award winners dating back to 1985.