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Exceptional Students to be Honored at Commencement
Two outstanding members of the Class of 2012 will be honored during the undergraduate Commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 20 – and one of them will make University history.
Kevin Sliwoski, an outstanding student and gifted jazz trombone player, will be the first graduate in University history to receive both the Belle K. Ribicoff Prize and the John G. Martin Scholarship. The Belle K. Ribicoff Prize is awarded for academic excellence, and the John G. Martin Scholarship provides recipients with the extraordinary opportunity to study for two years at the University of Oxford’s Hertford College in England.
Brittany Wallace, who is graduating with a double major in politics and government and English, will be presented with the John G. Lee Medal. The medal is given annually to a graduating senior from Greater Hartford who has excelled academically and demonstrated a deep commitment to the community.
Sliwoski attended The Hartt School as a music major with a concentration in jazz trombone, and he also was a history subject area major with a concentration in American history in the College of Arts and Sciences.
The John G. Martin Scholarship will allow him to pursue both of his passions at Oxford, where he will study music history for the next two years. His current research project, a University Honors thesis titled “Before the Great American Songbook: Herbert, Cohan, and Harney, 1890–1920,” is giving him another opportunity to combine his interests.
Sliwoski has maintained a 3.99 grade point average, earning himself a spot on the Dean’s List and the President’s List every semester. He is a member of several national honor societies and numerous music ensembles on campus. Sliwoski is also one of just 15 students from across the country to receive this year’s Gilder Lehrman History Scholar Award from the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. The award recognizes outstanding graduating college seniors who have demonstrated academic and extracurricular excellence in American history or American studies.
Wallace constantly challenges herself in the classroom and in the community. When she was close to completing the requirements for her major in politics and government (A&S), she chose to pursue a second major in English. Her final two semesters, at the maximum 18 credits each, have been filled with demanding upper-level English courses. Wallace has received countless academic honors during her four years at the University, including President’s List or Dean’s List standing every semester but one.
Outside the classroom, Wallace has an impressive history of volunteerism and community service. She is active in her hometown of Windsor, Conn., volunteering with the town health department to assist at events like the annual flu clinic and family day. She has spent numerous hours volunteering for FoodShare, interning with Merrick Alpert’s U.S. Senate campaign, tutoring the younger children in her family, and assisting her elderly neighbors. A love for protecting society has led Wallace to intern at the Metropolitan District, where she has worked for two summers as a public safety officer.
Wallace represented the University of Hartford at a West Point conference, working with other delegates to write a policy paper on the use of cyberspace. She is a member of Alpha Chi and Sigma Tau Delta honor societies. The John G. Lee Medal is the second major honor to be presented to Wallace this spring. She also was honored by the Connecticut General Assembly during its annual College Academic Day on April 18.