2023 Tower of Excellence Award Finalists Announced

Walsh University is delighted to announce the TOWER of Excellence Award finalists. The TOWER of Excellence is the most prestigious non-academic award given each year. Presented annually at the President’s Dinner, the award recognizes seniors or recent graduates who embody each of these characteristics:

Talented Leadership
Outstanding Service to the Campus and Community
Walsh Commitment
Ethical, Personal and Spiritual Integrity
Responsible Extra-curricular Distinction

Congratulations to our 2023 TOWER Finalists:

Jaden Baxter
Michael Cornathan
Mattison Davis
Melissa Dulik
Austin Fantin

Photo of Jaden Baxter

Jaden Baxter 

A member of the Walsh University Cavalier football team and team captain for three years, Jaden Baxter will graduate with a bachelor’s degree at the Spring 2023 Commencement with a double major in Government and Foreign Affairs & International Relations. 

A scholar athlete who exemplifies leadership on the field and in the classroom, Jaden has also 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 numerous hours 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 he’s made on campus and the internship he held with the Summit County Prosecutor’s Office have opened his mind to new perspectives and gave him 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 placed 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.”

Photo of Michael Cornathan

Michael Cornathan

A member of Walsh University’s Cavalier men’s Track & Field, Michael Cornathan will receive a bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science at the Spring 2023 Commencement.

Michael was named GMAC Academic All-Conference, Fall 2021 – 2023, and NCAA Division II All American in Track & Field.  Scholar athletes shoulder a lot of responsibility. Not only has Michael excelled at athletics, he has been named to the Dean’s List since 2021 and embraced Walsh’s mission of becoming a leader in service to others. Michael was a member of Walsh University’s Student Government, most recently serving as Vice President. Michael has also been a Cavs Cor Cordium Leader since 2022, a peer mentor fostering multicultural opportunities for MOSIAC Leadership Academy, and a Maroon & Gold Mentor team member, welcoming new students to the Walsh community.

The oldest of two, to Lesley and Michael Cornathan Sr. from Hilliard, Ohio, Michael will be attending Ball State University to pursue a Masters in Sports Administration with a goal of later becoming an Athletic Director.

“Compassion, communication and honesty are all qualities of leadership I have learned by being involved with the Walsh community.”

Photo of Mattison Davis

Mattison Davis

A natural leader who has a heart for service, Mattison Davis will graduate at the Walsh University Spring 2023 Commencement with a bachelor’s degree in Business Management and a minor in Marketing. 

During her freshman year, Mattison co-founded the Cavs Closet, which provides students with interview attire, clothing necessities and warm coats, and the Cavs Cave food pantry to help eliminate food insecurity on campus.  In addition, she served as a member of MOSAIC from 2020-2023, a Cavs Cor Cordium Leader, a member of the Black Student Union, including her most recent role as 2nd Vice President, and a leader with Cultural Humility and Leadership.

Mattison founded W.O.W., Women of the World in 2021 and currently serves as its President.  Her volunteerism includes the MLK Day of Service and YWCA Women’s Ministry. She has been awarded the Thea Bowman Scholarship, Servant Leadership Award, and she was a Walsh Women of Distinction nominee.

The only child to Gerald and LaMonica Davis, of Akron, Ohio, Mattison plans to attend graduate school at Walsh University while continuing to pursue her love of fashion working as an Assistant Trend Forecaster for Macy’s at the corporate headquarters and by continuing to grow her business, JS by Jordyn Sophia, a Christian clothing line.

“I aspire to leave a legacy for many young women, both black and white, to be a pillar of light and a change agent, and I pray that my work ethic will create a pathway of hope and love for the students who come after me.”

Photo of Melissa Dulik

Melissa Dulik

Melissa Dulik, who completed her studies in December 2022, will receive bachelor’s degrees in Education – Integrated Language Arts and Theology from Walsh University at the Spring 2023 Commencement.

Since arriving on campus, Melissa served as a personal tutor for the Walsh Academic Support Center, as Chapel Sacristan for Our Lady of Perpetual Help and as a Resident Assistant for four years. Melissa was often found helping her fellow Cavaliers and being a role model to countless peers across campus.

A native of Brunswick, Ohio, Melissa was awarded the Educational Program of the Year, Outstanding First Year Resident Assistant and Director’s Commendation Award from the Walsh Residence Life Staff. She also qualified for the Dean’s List from Fall 2019-Spring 2022.

The youngest child of Brian and Mary Beth Dulik, Melissa is currently teaching Religion and Theology for 10th, 11th and 12th grades at Cardinal Mooney High School in Youngstown, Ohio, where she continues to serve others through God’s love.

Volunteerism is important, but taking care of yourself and your fellow volunteer workers is important too. It is a crucial balance to make sure you are always giving of yourself, but never pouring from an empty cup.”

Photo of Austin Fantin

Austin Fantin

Austin Fantin, an Honors student fascinated by numbers, completed his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration in Finance in December and will receive his diploma at the Spring 2023 Commencement.

Austin was named to the 2022 President’s List, a recognition that honors an exceptional commitment to both personal growth and contributions to others, the 2022 Servant Leadership List and Dean’s List from 2019-2022. In addition to his academic studies, Austin is involved in Campus Ministry, he founded the Cavalry men’s faith group, he was a member of Cavs Crew and a Maroon & Gold Mentor.  Additionally, Austin is a member of the Nolan Family Center for Innovation (The Garage), serving as President from 2021-2022, and he participated in the Student Managed Investment Portfolio (SMIP) as the Sector Manager.

Last fall, Austin presented his Honors Thesis titled: Tap to Pay: Examining the Relationship between Peer-to-Peer Mobile Payment Apps and College Student Spending Habits. His research examined whether different payment methods influenced how much college students were willing to pay for items.

The oldest child of Tom and Lori Fantin from New Philadelphia, Ohio, Austin is interested in a career in investment banking, specifically mergers and acquisitions. Austin began connecting his university experience to his career as early as his first-year. He sought out connections and experiences across campus that would help him reach his goals.   He is currently employed at Cleveland-based investment bank, MarshBerry, as an Analyst.

“In my time at Walsh University, I have had the opportunity to participate in experiences that allowed me to share and feel the love of God through service and mentorship. Being connected to a Catholic university brings a certain responsibility to live my life in a positive light so that others may see the joy of faith.”