April 28, 2020

Top students to be recognized during 2020 commencement

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue University announces the recipients of some of its highest awards for the academic year.

The university’s top female student is Emily R. Sagstetter from the College of Health and Human Sciences, and the top male student is Stephen A. Schwartz from the College of Agriculture and Honors College.

emily-sagstetter Emily R. Sagstetter (Photo provided) Download image

Sagstetter, of Fort Wayne, Indiana, who majored in athletic training, has received the 2020 Flora Roberts Award. This award is presented annually to an outstanding senior woman for her scholarship, leadership, character and service to the university community. The award is made possible through a bequest from Flora Roberts, a member of the Purdue class of 1887. The recipient receives a $2,000 award, medallion and her name inscribed on the award marker on Purdue Mall.

Schwartz, of Noblesville, Indiana, who majored in agronomy with a concentration in crop and soil management, is the 2020 recipient of the G.A. Ross Award. This award is presented annually to an outstanding senior man who has demonstrated high standards of academic achievement, outstanding leadership, strength of character and has made a contribution to Purdue. The award is made possible through a gift from G.A. Ross, a 1916 Purdue graduate. The recipient receives a $2,000 award, medallion and his name inscribed on the award marker on Purdue Mall.
stephen-schwartz Stephen A. Schwartz (Tom Campbell/Purdue University) Download image

Sagstetter and Schwartz, along with the following student award recipients, will be recognized during the May 2020 on-demand commencement ceremonies.

The France A. Córdova Award for Leadership in Action was awarded to Dane V. Chapman of Brookston, Indiana, who majored in agribusinesses in the College of Agriculture; and Tori J.K. Rosa of West Lafayette, Indiana, who majored in elementary education in the College of Education and Honors College. This award honors graduating students who have demonstrated exceptional leadership during their time at Purdue. The students must have held successful leadership roles, working in partnership with staff and faculty to move the university forward, while maintaining a minimum 3.0 grade point average. The award winners receive a certificate, a cash award and their name inscribed on a plaque.

The Martin C. Jischke Outstanding International Student of the Year Award was awarded to Thomas E. Giordano of Sao Paulo, Brazil, who majored in industrial engineering in the College of Engineering. Established by President Emeritus Martin C. Jischke, this award honors an international Purdue student who has attained a minimum 3.0 grade point average, demonstrated leadership qualities, achieved academic accomplishments through further research, publications or presentations and participated in service projects. The recipient receives a cash award along with their name inscribed on a plaque in Schleman Hall.

The Louis Sudler Prize in the Arts was awarded to Alec S. Brooks of Westfield, Indiana, who majored in multidisciplinary engineering with a concentration in acoustical engineering in the College of Engineering; Natalie C. Murdock of Fishers, Indiana, who majored in public health in the College of Health and Human Sciences; Maggie L. Ogle of Russiaville, Indiana, who majored in health science in the College of Health and Human Sciences; and Peter K. Schulz of Chicago, who majored in mechanical engineering in the College of Engineering. The prize is awarded to outstanding seniors who have demonstrated excellence and the highest standards of proficiency in the visual or performing arts. This award is endowed by the late Louis Sudler, a Chicago businessman and supporter of the arts. The recipients receive $1,000 and a certificate.

The six students who received the Charles O. McGaughey Leadership Awards are:

  • Laura R. Duke of Evansville, Indiana, who majored in social studies education and completed a concentration in economics/government in the College of Education.
  • Daphne R. Fauber of West Lafayette, Indiana, who majored in K-12 integrated STEM education in the Purdue Polytechnic Institute and Honors College.
  • Assata M. Gilmore of Chicago, who majored in finance in the Krannert School of Management.
  • Zeba R. Kokan of Carmel, Indiana, who majored in brain and behavioral science in the College of Health and Human Sciences and Honors College.
  • Jacqueline R. Malayter of McCordsville, Indiana, who majored in electrical engineering in the College of Engineering and Honors College.
  • Angel N. Upshaw of Fort Wayne, Indiana, who majored in mass communication in the College of Liberal Arts and Honors College.

McGaughey, a 1939 Purdue graduate, established the awards to honor students for leadership potential. To be eligible for these awards, students must have completed a minimum of two years of full-time study at Purdue and achieved at least a 3.0 graduation index. Recipients are selected on the basis of their contributions to Purdue and the community. Each honoree receives $3,345 as an acknowledgement of their superior leadership abilities, scholarship and appreciation of basic American values.

The three students who received the Amelia Earhart Scholarship are Marina Mehling of Phoenix, who majored in cell and biomolecular engineering in biological engineering in the College of Engineering; Natalie Katherine Zamiechowski of Park Ridge, Illinois, who majored in chemical engineering in the College of Engineering; and Sarah Margaret Thomas of Brownsburg, Indiana, who majored in speech, language and hearing sciences in the College of Health and Human Sciences. This scholarship was reinstituted in 1999 after Doreen Buranich Simmons, a 1971 Purdue graduate, committed to see the scholarship return to Purdue after learning of its demise in the 1970s. Her gift became a catalyst for Joan Russell Dudding to honor the university and Amelia Earhart by funding the scholarship on an ongoing basis. The Amelia Earhart Scholarship is awarded to a junior or senior with a minimum 3.2 grade point average who demonstrates leadership, determination, ability and the potential in academic and/or community activities.         

About Purdue University

Purdue University is a top public research institution developing practical solutions to today’s toughest challenges. Ranked the No. 6 Most Innovative University in the United States by U.S. News & World Report, Purdue delivers world-changing research and out-of-this-world discovery. Committed to hands-on and online, real-world learning, Purdue offers a transformative education to all. Committed to affordability and accessibility, Purdue has frozen tuition and most fees at 2012-13 levels, enabling more students than ever to graduate debt-free. See how Purdue never stops in the persistent pursuit of the next giant leap at purdue.edu.

Related links:

Pharmacy students to graduate early in preparation for future COVID-19 impact (April 9, 2020)

Purdue to pioneer on-demand commencement for Class of 2020 (March 26, 2020)

Purdue announces virtual commencement with future in-person option (March 17, 2020)

Purdue University Global commencement to include first-of-its kind virtual reality component (February 24, 2020)

Writer: Matthew Oates, 765-586-7496 (cell), oatesw@purdue.edu, @mo_oates

Source: Christine DeHahan Pass, senior assistant registrar, dehahn@purdue.edu


Note to journalists: Photos of the commencement boxes are available on Google Drive. Chris Pass is available for phone or web-based video interviews.

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