Top Undergraduates From All Schools and Majors Honored

April 19, 2010

Top UndergraduatesUndergraduates who have become passionate about their academic majors spoke in depth last week about topics ranging from contemporary literature to accounting rules, to the best practices for monitoring elderly patients as they are sent home after hospital stays. 

Thursday, April 15, was Academic Excellence Day, the annual forum where undergraduates are given the chance to present to others a research project or artistic work or project they’ve undertaken at the university. That’s why the offerings are so diverse, even including musical performances and readings of literary compositions. Seventy-five presentations were scheduled, some including teams of student presenters. Some projects reflect students’ career aspirations, or likely areas of study in graduate school.

Two of the presentations are bound for broad exposure almost immediately, at the 2010 Scholarly Conference on College Sport, being held at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill from April 21–23. Julian Macmillan will discuss the possible adoption of the “Rooney Rule” among Division I schools and colleges. The rule comes from professional football, where it was instituted as a civil rights measure to foster more hiring opportunities in coaching for people of color. But Macmillan, after studying the situation, has proposed a numerical scoring system that could be applied to applications of those seeking interviews. Macmillan suggests his system would be more effective in advancing fair and effective hiring practices. His faculty advisor for the presentation is Eric Schwarz, associate professor of sport business. Schwarz is also advising two students who surveyed athletic directors at colleges and universities of varying sizes on their use of social media in recruiting athletes. Alan LaFleur and Adam Miller found that schools with the smallest budgets for travel and recruiting were using social media to find future athletes, as were schools with the biggest recruiting and travel budget, and large staffs.

The day concluded with a ceremony for special academic awards for almost all the subject majors, as well as recognition awards for even broader academic achievement. Each of the three schools that comprise the university honored its “Most Outstanding Student:”

  • Katherine Vecchi, from the School of Arts and Sciences, who majored dually in environmental science and biology, with a minor in psychology. She plans further study at the graduate level.
  • David Mulcahy, from the School of Business, who majored in international hospitality and tourism management to prepare for a career in the field. 
  • Sarah Shirina, from the School of Education and Social Services, who is about to receive the Bachelor of Social Work degree.

The university also awarded the Clara McDonald Olson Scholarship Award to accounting major Kimberley Ann Steele for achieving the highest overall grade point average for four years of study at Saint Leo.

The group honored for attaining the highest overall grade point average was Pi Sigma Alpha, the Political Honor Society. Members also had a particularly active year, including a trip to observe the Florida Legislature, planned by Society President Nicolette Iannaconne. She will enroll in the University of Florida’s Levin College of Law, a top-tier school.

Sarah Shirina, David Mulcahy, and Katherine Vecchi (from left to right), were named the top graduating seniors at each of Saint Leo University’s three schools.