• University News
  • Community Impact
  • Undergraduate students
Features & Articles

Hear from the graduates who earned this year’s top University honors

Nguyen and Leslie

Before they crossed the Petersen Events Center stage at commencement, two soon-to-be University of Pittsburgh graduates were recognized for making a lasting impact on Pitt and the community at Friday night’s Senior Distinguished Awards Convocation. Read about all the outstanding finalists.

ODK Senior of the Year

Since the 1920s, Pitt’s chapter of the national leadership honor society Omicron Delta Kappa has recognized one senior who exemplifies leadership of exceptional quality and versatility.

This year’s recipient is Joshua Nguyen, who is graduating with a BS in microbiology and a BA in history of art and architecture. While leading multiple cultural organizations like the Asian Students Alliance, Nguyen received numerous awards for incorporating Southeast Asian art into the history of art and architecture curriculum and for his scientific research at the School of Medicine.

Nguyen’s name will be engraved on a stone in the ODK Leadership Walk between the Cathedral of Learning and Heinz Memorial Chapel.

A text card that reads ODK Senior of the Year

Emma W. Locke Memorial Award

Charles A. Locke established this University honor in 1946 in memory of his mother, Emma W. Locke. Nominees are selected by the deans of the undergraduate schools. The award recognizes high scholarship, character, leadership and devotion to the ideals of the University of Pittsburgh.

Benjamin Leslie is the 2024 Emma W. Locke Memorial Award winner. Graduating with a BS in bioengineering and a minor in chemistry, he has received several David C. Frederick Honors College fellowships and scholarships to support his research, which he has presented at conferences nationwide.

Leslie was named the American Society for Engineering Education National Co-op Student of the Year for his role at ZOLL Medical and will attend Pitt’s School of Medicine next fall. He is co-founder and CEO of a medical device startup, for which he has received several grants to fund its development. Leslie has also served as a captain and vice president for Pitt’s men’s ice hockey team.

A text card reads Announcing the recipient of the Emma W. Locke memorial award