Walsh Honors Top Students with Outstanding Student and Tower of Excellence Awards


School News

Walsh University students Mary Modena and Andrew Chwalik were honored on Sunday, April 3, with the top awards the University bestows its graduates -- the Outstanding Student Award and Tower of Excellence Award.

The Outstanding Student Award, Walsh's most prestigious academic honor, is awarded to a graduating senior with a high cumulative grade point average. This year's honoree is Mary Modena.

During her educational career at Walsh, Mary has earned a cumulative GPA of 4.0 while pursuing her degree in Early Childhood Education as an Intervention Specialist, with Minors in Art and Music. Her hard work has consistently placed her on the Walsh Dean’s List every semester.

Mary has served the Walsh campus community in a number of ways. She is a resident assistant, the president of the Art Club, Education Club, a member of the Student Government Sustainability Commission, a lead musician for the Student Liturgical Group, and a singer with Walsh’s Chorale and Chamber Singers - with whom she performed Beethoven’s Symphony N. 9 with the Canton Orchestra. 

Mary had the opportunity to study internationally during her sophomore year through Walsh’s Global Learning Program in Rome. A highlight from her Rome experience included an internationally publicized encounter with Pope Francis, when he accepted a heart-shaped card made by Mary and her fellow Walsh students on the same day he was named Time magazine’s 2013 Person of the Year. She personally explored Athens, Greece, and Paris, France, during her free weekends.  In addition, Mary traveled with the Walsh University Chamber Singers to Italy in 2015, performing throughout Tuscany, Assisi, and Rome. 

In fall 2015, Mary led the efforts to implement a new recycling program in the residence halls. She spearheaded and secured grant funding from the Stark-Tuscarawas-Wayne Joint Solid Waste Management District to start a campus-wide recycling initiative. During her Columbus Day Break in 2015, she also co-organized a group of Walsh volunteers to serve those in need in New York City. The trip included volunteer activities with the Catholic Worker in downtown Manhattan, the Lenox Hill Women's Shelter and New York Cares. 

Mary is also the Liturgical Pianist at Christ the Servant Parish in Canton.  In addition, Mary is a painter and her artwork has been displayed throughout the Walsh campus, including pieces for Campus Ministry, the Education Club’s Girls Rising Event, Carpe Diem Retreat, Discover Freshman Retreat and the Dance Marathon benefiting the Akron Children’s Hospital.  Mary is a long-time member of the Art Club, and served as club President in the fall of 2015.  Mary is also the recipient of the Latavo Art Scholarship.

Other examples of Mary’s outstanding service to the Walsh community include serving as a Resident Assistant in 2015, a member of the yearbook staff in 2014, and her role as an Orientation Leader during the summers of 2013 and 2014.  Further, Mary served on the Core Leadership Team for the Discover Freshman Retreat in 2014 and 2016, and was the Carpe Diem Retreat Group Leader in 2014.

She has volunteered on Walsh’s Habitat for Humanity House in 2013 and at the Akron-Canton Regional Food Bank in 2014.  Mary was also a Sunday school teacher for a Pre-K class at St. Paul’s Church in North Canton during 2014 and 2015.  

Academic excellence earned Mary induction into Kappa Delta Pi, the National Education Honorary Society.  Mary was presented with the 2015 Distinguished Servant Leader in Art Club Award, received the Silver Servant Leader Award in 2015 and the Gold Servant Leader Award in 2014 and 2016. 

Mary fully embodies Walsh’s commitment to academic excellence and exemplifies Walsh’s mission to be a leader in service to others.

The Tower of Excellence Award is Walsh University's most prestigious and longstanding honor that a Walsh student can attain for work and service beyond the classroom. This year's recipient, Andrew Chwalik, has consistently shown the leadership and service characteristics of a Tower of Excellence recipient during his educational career at Walsh University.

Andrew will graduate this May with a degree in Marketing and Minors in History, Entrepreneurship, and Government & Foreign Affairs.  Andrew currently holds a 3.87 GPA and has earned Dean’s List honors each semester at Walsh. 

Andrew is a member of the inaugural class of Br. Francis Blouin Global Scholars and spent the last three years studying food insecurity and sustainability issues on a global level. The program has also made an impact locally in Stark County with the launch of the Walsh Campus Kitchens Project in spring 2015. He traveled to Tanzania in 2013 to study food and water sustainability and to Rome, Italy, to intern with Caritas International in 2015.  Further demonstrating a passion for global learning, he traveled throughout Bolivia speaking to high schools about leadership and higher education.

During his senior year, Andrew spent the first eight weeks of the fall semester interning in Washington, DC, with the Alliance to End Hunger before studying in Rome, Italy, with Walsh's Global Learning program for the remainder of the semester.

Andrew clearly values service, as demonstrated by his involvement as an Ohio Teen Institute Volunteer since 2011, where he was instrumental in planning an Annual Conference for more than 200 Ohio teens to address alcohol and drug prevention.  Andrew also traveled to Alfred, Maine, to be of service to the Brothers of Christian Instruction in 2013, 2014 and 2015.  This summer, he will return as a student leader for the group.  Andrew also volunteered for the MLK Jr. Day of Service in 2015 and 2016, Junior Achievement Day in 2016, income tax assistance in 2016, and is currently working with a team to create and administer a local food guide for Stark County.

Andrew has been actively involved on campus during his time at Walsh, serving as member of the men’s soccer team from August 2012 through September 2013, and a member of the men’s cross country team in the fall of 2013.  Andrew has also served as an intramural captain for soccer, basketball, bowling, softball, kickball and dodge ball - with his team earning the 2014 intramural soccer championship.  Andrew was appointed Walsh University Student Government Freshman Senator, Executive Justice, and President this past academic year. 

He is also one of four founding members of "The Garage," Walsh’s innovation center to promote entrepreneurship.  He was also the founding member of the Walsh Runners Club. He served as Vice President of the Dead Philosophers' Society, an alumni ambassador, a performer in two Walsh Genesius Players productions, a managing member of the Northeast Ohio Student Venture Fund, Vice President of the Walsh chapter of the American Marketing Association, a Cantor and Eucharistic minister, and is currently on the Collegiate Leadership Competition team.

Academic excellence earned Andrew induction into Alpha Nu Sigma, the History Honor Society; Phi Alpha Theta, the Government and Foreign Affairs Honor Society; Sigma Beta Delta, the Business Honor Society; and Alpha Mu Alpha Marketing Honors Society. He was also the 2015 recipient of the Sigma Beta Delta Fellowship. Andrew was honored as a 2014 homecoming prince and he received the 2014 Silver Servant Leader award.  Andrew received the Gold Servant Leader award in 2015 and 2016.

Andrew’s service to Walsh also includes the DeVille School of Business Dean’s Student Advisory Board, the Student Allocation Commission, Walsh’s Dining Services Committee, Information Technology Commission, and currently he is on the Schedule Redesign Task Force.  Andrew is also a former Walsh University Student Blogger, and has served as a Campus Ambassador.