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Blake Durtsche (left), recipient of the Leadership and Social Responsibility Award, stands with nominators Allana Jackson ’09, Supriya Srinidhi ’09 and Lauren Passero ’10.

Four Pillars Award Winner

Four Pillars Awards announced

The prestigious honor recognizes four Kellogg students who embody the values at the heart of the Kellogg mission

By Rachel Farrell

6/9/2009 - The Four Pillars have long defined the framework of a Kellogg education. Now, they also define the school’s most exceptional students.

On June 5, for the first time in school history, four students were recognized with the Four Pillars Awards in Experiential Learning, Intellectual Depth, Global Perspective, and Leadership and Social Responsibility.

Created through the collaborative efforts of the Kellogg Student Association (KSA), Business Leadership Club and Kellogg administration, the Four Pillars Awards aim “to acknowledge those Kellogg students who best embody each of the Four Pillars,” said Lloyd Sommers ’09, outgoing president of the KSA. “They are viewed by the school as among the most prestigious awards an individual student can win.”

More than 130 nominations were received this year on behalf of 70-plus students, who were from both the classes of 2009 and 2010. Winners were determined by a selection committee that included David Besanko, senior associate dean and Alvin J. Huss Professor of Management & Strategy; Michelle Buck, director of Leadership Initiatives and clinical professor of Management & Organizations; Steven Rogers, the Gordon and Llura Gund Family Professor of Entrepreneurship; Brian Harris ’96, former president of the KSA; and student leaders from the Kellogg Student Association and Business Leadership Club.

Sommers announced the award recipients at the June 5 ceremony, which was held in conjunction with the presentation of the L.G. Lavengood Outstanding Professor of the Year Award to Gad Allon, assistant professor of Managerial Economics & Decision Sciences. “Reading through the nomination packages was a perfect way for me to wrap up my time at Kellogg,” Sommers said. “It was as uplifting and inspirational as anything I’ve seen during my time here.”

Intellectual Depth

The Intellectual Depth Award recognizes students who exemplify thought leadership through superior critical thinking. They demonstrate the ability to impose an analytical structure on complex, ambiguous business problems.

During his two years at Kellogg, Evan Meagher ’09 has written seven different cases for Kellogg professors. After one quarter at Kellogg, he was asked to serve as a teaching assistant. He also served as co-chair of the Distressed Management Club and was a member of the team that won third place at the Wharton Case Competition in February 2008.

“Through extraordinary success and diligence both inside and outside of the classroom, clear focus on a specific industry (with a multidisciplinary approach), and unusual leadership in a variety of extracurricular efforts, Evan Meagher has brought honor to our school,” wrote Leigh Rovzar ’09 in her nomination letter. “I cannot think of a student who better deserves this award.”

Leadership and Social Responsibility

The Leadership and Social Responsibility Award recognizes students who best inspire, build trust and help teams develop and grow while maintaining strong values of social stewardship.These students serve in leadership capacities within the Kellogg School and beyond.

Blake Durtsche ’09 served as president of the Kellogg School’s Net Impact Chapter, co-founder of the Environmental Sustainability Business Club and co-chair of the Kellogg Greening Initiative. Last year, he spent his spring break participating in the GIM Global Health Initiative in Tanzania. He also interned over the summer at Blu Skye Sustainability Consulting, a San Francisco-based firm where he will serve as senior consultant post-graduation.

“Blake is a role model for students when it comes to social responsibility and leadership,” said Supriya Srinidhi ’09 and Lauren Passero ’10 in their nomination letter. “Both in his Kellogg activities and his everyday life, Blake stays true to his values.”

Experiential Learning

The Experiential Learning Award recognizes students who excel in Kellogg’s experiential learning opportunities (classes or non-curricular leadership positions) by routinely putting into practice academic insights to deal with practical strategic, operational or organizational challenges.

The only first-year student to win an award, Mike Vondriska ’10 is a JD-MBA candidate and a member of the team that won the Ford Center GIM Paper Prize and second place at the Kellogg Strategy Challenge. He also serves as a Kellogg Board fellow for the Chicago House, a nonprofit for homeless Chicagoans living with HIV. He was nominated by Neetin Gulati ’10.

“[Mike’s] experiences were impactful and demonstrated direct applications of classroom learning,” said Sommers. “Through his experiences, he served as a great ambassador for Kellogg to various and diverse communities.”

Global Perspective

The Global Perspective Award recognizes students who employ a well-rounded, comprehensive perspective when considering international business issues and the global economic and social impact of his/her actions. These students possess a special ability to work in transnational collaborative contexts.

As part of an independent study, Supina Mapon ’09 developed GYAN, a social entrepreneurship venture devoted to improving the education level of rural Indian youth. The business plan placed second in the New Venture Challenge and received the MOOT Corporation National Entrepreneurship Competition award for “Best Written Business Plan.” Mapon also served as co-president of the Emerging Markets Club, where she initiated new alumni mentorship programs and networking events. She was a member of a four-person team that traveled to Gambia in West Africa for two weeks to complete a project working with Gambia’s only microfinance institution, Reliance Financials.

“Mapon has made great contributions not only to the global perspective front, but also in terms of socially responsible leadership as is demonstrated by her GHI work and her GYAN work,” said Tim Feddersen, the Wendell Hobbs Professor of Managerial Economics & Decision Sciences, who wrote a letter supporting her nomination.

Mapon was nominated by Jamie Jones ’09, Alejandro Solis Yamuni ’09, Tiffany Urrechaga ’09, and Ramya Singh ’09.