ROCK ISLAND, Ill. — Augustana College senior William "Nishal" Weems of Carpentersville, Ill., was named a student laureate of The Lincoln Academy of Illinois on Friday.
Lincoln Academy awards the Abraham Lincoln Civic Engagement Award annually to a senior from each of the state's four-year colleges and universities and one student from the community colleges in Illinois.
Students are awarded the honor for their "leadership and service in the pursuit of the betterment of humanity and for overall excellence in curricular and extracurricular activities."
Augustana College President Andrea Talentino selected Weems, a history major, for this honor after a nomination from Dr. Monica M. Smith, the college’s vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion.
Weems was nominated for the award by Dr. Monica M. Smith, Augustana's vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion. President Andrea Talentino selected Weems as the winner.
Talentino said Weems' work in developing a peer mentor program for his fellow black classmates and his passion for supporting and affirming his peers made him stand out as the award's recipient.
“He is driven in this work by the guidance and direction he has received in pursuing his own higher education, which has also helped him push the boundaries of what he believes he can achieve,” President Talentino said. “He sees it as his purpose to share what he's gained with others, and that sense of conviction and mission makes him an effective leader."
Weems received a certificate of merit signed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker, a challenge coin, a $500 check from The Lincoln Academy and a Lincoln medallion.
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