Walsh University Class of 2023 Student Honors Announced

Walsh University has selected two members of the Class of 2023 to receive the most prestigious honors, the Tower of Excellence Award and the Outstanding Student Award.


The Tower of Excellence Award is Walsh University’s most prestigious and long-standing honor that a Walsh student can attain for contributions and service outside the classroom. It is presented to the senior who has during his/her Walsh University years displayed outstanding leadership qualities, exemplary interest in co-curricular and extracurricular work, and social and moral behavior that fulfills the mission of Walsh University. Carefully screened according to these strict criteria, the Tower of Excellence laureate reflects our values of service, excellence and integrity of the highest levels.


A member of the Walsh University Cavalier football team and team captain for three years, Jaden Baxter will graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Government and Foreign Affairs & International Relations.

Jaden is a scholar athlete who exemplifies leadership on the field and in the classroom and has been an active member of the Black Student Union serving as both a senator and president of the student club. In addition, he has served as a Cavs Cor Cordium Leader, a Leader in Social Justice, and he has volunteered extensively with Cavs Bash, Akron Hope, Walsh Mosaic and the YWCA.

As a Resident Assistant for Residence Life for the past two years, Jaden made the most of the opportunity to build community, provide resources and create a welcoming, inclusive environment for residential students, something that has been important to him throughout his academic career at Walsh. The relationships made on campus with his internship with the Summit County Prosecutor’s Office have opened his mind to new perspectives and offered a deeper appreciation for justice and unity.

The only child of Kenneth and Rhonda Baxter from Akron, Ohio, Jaden plans to pursue a law degree. He will begin his career as a Public Service Fellow with the Cleveland Foundation. This selective fellowship has positioned Jaden to work with policy in Cleveland city Hall with the Mayor’s Office.

“I choose to live by the code of love. My love and passion that I have implemented here at Walsh have been geared toward the Walsh community and making sure that everyone feels included and cared for.”



The Outstanding Student Award is Walsh University’s most prestigious student academic honor.  Awarded to a graduating senior, the recipient must have earned a cumulative grade point average greater than 3.9 and demonstrated interdisciplinary excellence, a high level of intellectual curiosity and a consistent commitment to academic rigor and depth. The Outstanding Student Award recipient also reflects alignment with the core values of the Catholic Intellectual Tradition and intellectual mastery demonstrated through consistent academic excellence and achievement.


Elena Gioiello, of Girard, Ohio, is graduating Summa Cum Laude with a bachelor’s degree in Biology with a Pre-Dental concentration and a minor in business. She was recently accepted into Case Western Reserve University’s School of Dental Medicine.

Throughout her educational career at Walsh, Elena could be found studying on the treadmill in the morning, doing homework in the sun in the afternoon, and working in the lab in the evening. She considers herself a lifelong learner. Her dedication toward academics earned her Dean’s List honors every semester, acceptance into Sigma Zeta Math and Science Honors and the Sigma Beta Delta Business Honors Society.  As an Honors Student, she has participated in biology and chemistry research since her sophomore year.  She recently presented her Honors Thesis titled, "The Determination of Altered SOX7 Variant A379V C-Terminal Protein-Protein Interactions," and she presented research at the 2023 Ohio Academy of Science Conference.

While Elena has focused a great deal on her academics, she also enjoyed helping others as an honors mentor and an academic tutor for biology, anatomy & physiology, general chemistry, organic chemistry and physics).  According to Elena, her favorite part about tutoring is “the confidence she sees in other students when they begin to understand the material and they exhibit an ambition to learn more.”

“A quote I try to live by and that I share with students I have tutored is, ‘never let success get to your head, and never let failure get to your heart’,” said Elena.

In addition to academics, Elena has participated in several extracurricular activities, including Science Club Vice President, Pre-Dental Club Vice President, Pre-Healthcare Club, Art Club and Nursing Club. She also took on the role of the Walsh University mascot, Sir Walter, for the 2022-2023 school year.

Throughout her time at Walsh University, Elena has shadowed a number of dental offices, including Joseph Baytosh, DDS and Walsh alumna Chelsea Colburn, DDS.  She completed an internship at Niles Family Dentistry under Scott Santucci, DDS, where she experienced many different procedures and learned about dental office operations.