Carl H. Lindner College of BusinessCarl H. Lindner College of BusinessUniversity of Cincinnati

Carl H. Lindner College of Business

Three Lindner Students Earn UC's Highest Award

Monday, December 19, 2016 6:28 PM
Recipients of the Presidential Leadership Medal of Excellence will be honored at the Undergraduate Commencement Ceremonies on May 2.
UC Presidential Leadership Medal of Excellence Winners

UC Presidential Leadership Medal of Excellence winners pose with President Santa J. Ono, from left, Cory Murphy, Sally Amkoa, Brian Barney, Ono, Bhavik Modi and Elliana Kirsh. (Not pictured: Caroline Hensley)

For the first time, UC has selected six students —three from Lindner— as recipients of the university’s most prestigious honor for undergraduates, the Presidential Leadership Medal of Excellence. The previous high for awardees was five, which happened in 2014, 2013, 2006 and 2004.
Among the six, Lindner students Sally Amkoa, Bhavik Modi and Cory Murphy, along with their co-winners Brian Barney, Caroline Hensley and Elliana Kirsh, will have their high achievement acknowledged at the All-University Commencement Ceremonies on May 2 in Fifth Third Arena.

Established in 2002, the medal is awarded by the university president to exceptional graduating students who best exemplify scholarship, leadership, character, service and the ideals of the University of Cincinnati.

The 2015 honorees were selected from applications of 29 graduating seniors from across the university. A UC committee represented by faculty, staff and student leaders reviewed the 13 finalists.

Sally Amkoa is from Kisumu, a small lakeside city in Kenya. Amkoa is in the University Honors Program and is graduating this spring with a master’s degree in business analytics from UC’s Carl H. Lindner College of Business. Before coming to UC, Amkoa earned a prestigious scholarship from the Zawadi Africa Education Fund to study in top universities in the U.S. As a UC freshman, Amkoa immediately displayed her active leadership skills as vice president of the Stratford Heights Association, leading hall government meetings and approving disbursement of student life funds for social programs. Amkoa also participated in Activists Coming Together (ACT) where she created a proposal for the improvement of the reception and integration of international students at UC, and later became director of international affairs in Student Government. Amkoa’s off-campus leadership efforts include participating in the Accelerating Racial Justice leadership retreat facilitated by Racial Awareness Program, and the Miracle Corners of the World International Youth Leadership Retreat in Vermont. Amkoa is a passionate advocate of UN Women’s HeForShe campaign, and her ultimate vision is to see a world where gender equality is not viewed as a men-versus-women issue, but as a humanity issue. Amkoa has demonstrated strong global engagement through her study abroad experiences in Costa Rica, Panama, South Africa, Belgium and France. Amkoa’s excellent academic record earned her a nomination by the Economics Department to present at the annual Global Studies Conference at the University of Nebraska, Omaha, and a two-week graduate program in Natural Resource Management and Policy at the Norwegian School of Economics in Bergen, Norway. And in 2013, Amkoa was awarded the Carl H. Lindner Outstanding Junior Award. After graduation, Amkoa plans to return to Kenya to pursue a career in commercial real estate investment.

Bhavik Modi is from Mumbai, India, and graduated from William Mason High School. Modi is in the University Honors Program and is graduating this spring as an Honors-PLUS Scholar with a Bachelor of Arts in Finance from the Carl H. Lindner College of Business. As a freshman at UC, Modi began displaying his exceptional leadership skills by turning UC’s Business Tribunal into the dynamic Student Action Team, which has since given birth to many student organizations – including the Bearcat LaunchPad New Venture Accelerator. Early on, Omnicron Delta Kappa chose Bhavik as UC’s Sophomore Leader of the Year and later the Lindner College of Business chose him as Student Leader of the Year. He is an international vice president for the Supreme Council of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity and has been tapped into Phi Rho Chi, Omnicron Delta Kappa, Order of Omega and Sigma Sigma. He exemplified service to the university as the undergraduate director of UC’s Bicentennial Commission, working to build an interdisciplinary student organization to plan the 2019 Celebration in conjunction with faculty, alumni and various constituents. In addition to speaking three languages fluently, he is embracing cultural diversity through his many study abroad experiences to over 20 foreign countries. Among Modi’s most prestigious national awards for environmental and community initiatives, he served on the Southwest Ohio Council for Higher Education as featured speaker, as well as the PowerShift Conference in Washington, D.C., as a student delegate. Modi has served on the Provost’s Student Advisory Board and on the search committee for the dean of libraries at UC, as well as the Decanal Review Committee for the Lindner College of Business. As an undergraduate student, Modi worked for private equity firms in Cincinnati and San Francisco, ultimately being offered a place in Fifth Third Bank’s Commercial Leadership Program where he will start full time in Chicago after graduation.

Cory Murphy is from Pennsylvania and graduated magna cum laude from UC in December of 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration – double majoring in operations management and international business – from the Carl H. Lindner College of Business. As a first-generation college student, Murphy entered UC’s Lindner College of Business and the University Honors Program. Murphy quickly joined six student organizations and earned nine scholarships, including the Benjamin A. Gilman scholarship from the U.S. State Department, which allowed him to spend more than a year in Istanbul, Turkey, as a foreign exchange student at Bogazici University. His global mindset resulted in his tenure as president of the UC International Business Club. As president, he piloted the Early Exposure Program, which introduces high school students to UC’s study abroad opportunities. As a result of the great impact from his Early Exposure Program, several other universities around the country are now creating similar programs. Murphy also served as president of the Professional Development Committee for GE Aviation where he displayed a strong inclusive leadership style organizing meetings and career sessions for more than 130 student employees. As a student in the International Co-op Program, Murphy completed an intensive German language program and interned for eight months with GE Aviation at its plant in Regensburg, Germany. After graduation, Murphy accepted a position with GE Aviation’s Operations Management Leadership Program, which will allow him to hold various leadership roles within the organization for the next two years. He later intends to attend graduate school in Europe or the U.S.  

Tom Robinette, Zack Hatfield, Amona Refaei and Melanie Schefft contributed to this report.

For more information and the full story about all six winners, please refer to the UC News website.