Students win Leadership Awards

Congratulations to all the 2017 Student Leader Award Recipients!  Two Divinity School students were among those recognized for their leadership this May by the Center for Leadership and Involvement


Photos by Eddie Quinones

Will Kunert, an MDiv student, was awarded the Campus Life and Leadership Award. Will is a Buddhist Adviser for other University of Chicago community members. As part of the Spiritual Life staff, Will organized interfaith programs, and supported programs and student groups of diverse faiths. His nominator recognized his skillful leadership style while engaging in interfaith dialogue, and encouraged him to become more involved with Spiritual Life, taking on facilitation roles and modelling productive dialogue for younger students. As the Buddhist advisor, he's also built the groundwork for the Buddhist organizations to work together and remain in communication. As Will’s nominator observed, “his ability to be present in the moment, to be authentic and an ally, along with his many other gifts, will be sorely missed.” 

The Campus Life and Leadership Award recognizes degree candidates who have demonstrated leadership in a single cocurricular endeavor and subsequently improved the quality of life on campus. The award recipients will have created a positive campus environment, enhanced the quality of student life, and worked to maintain a continuity of leadership.

Also pictured is Assistant Vice-President for Student Life Mike Hayes.


Nora Zaki, an MDiv student, received a Humanitarian Award. Nora is a committed member of the Spiritual Life Council and the Muslim Student Association. Moved by the violence and tension in the surrounding University community, Nora helped organize an event entitled “Prayer for The Oppressed,” which was a collaborative effort between faith communities in Hyde Park, Woodlawn, and Kenwood. Students, community activists, and religious leaders gathered at First Unitarian Church to share stories and resources that support the work they are doing to curb community tensions that often lead to the violent death of young people of color. Those involved were able to engage one another through a shared sense of faith, combined with social justice efforts and community activism. As one of her nominators notes, “[Nora] is seen by her peers as a woman who leads with her heart, full of compassion and concern for others.” 

The Humanitarian Award is presented to students who have lived a life of honesty, integrity, and responsibility, with a demonstrated commitment to the welfare of the greater community.

Also pictured is Matthew Barber, the recipient of the other Humanitarian Award and a PhD candidate in NELC.