2019 Pace Setters

Achievement, excellence and demonstrated leadership by Fisher students and faculty were recently recognized at the college’s 2019 Pace Setters Awards event.

The annual awards, which were first bestowed at the college in 1961, recognize the top 1 percent of undergraduate students at Fisher, based on academic performance, leadership and service. Faculty with teaching appointments throughout the college are recognized for their contributions to Fisher’s faculty mission of teaching, research and service.

“The students and faculty we honor join an elite group of high-achieving students, demonstrated and principled leaders and humble servants,” said Anil K. Makhija, dean and John W. Berry, Sr. Chair in Business. “The Pace Setters Awards are the college’s top honor. For more than half a century, we have recognized our Pace Setters recipients — wherever they go and whatever careers they choose — as being among the very best ambassadors for our college, and for all that we do.”

Laith Khalaf (BSBA ’98) was selected to receive the Pace Setters Executive Award. Khalaf is managing director of the Medsker Khalaf Group of Wells Fargo Advisors. He was born in Kuwait to a Jordanian father and an American mother. His family evacuated during the first Gulf War when he was 13 years old and relocated to Ashland, Ohio, to live with family. Living in the United States, he and his brother strengthened their English skills by watching just 30 minutes of television news — the only TV their mother allowed — each day. Stock market updates sparked Khalaf's interest in finance, while technology news led to his brother’s passion for engineering — and an eventual career at Google.

2019 Pace Setters Laith Khalaf
Dean Anil Makhija (left) and Laith Kahlaf (BSBA '98), the 2019 Pace Setters Executive Award winner.

Khalaf earned an undergraduate business degree from Fisher in three years and remains an enthusiastic supporter of a number of programs and initiatives at the college and at The Ohio State University. He volunteers with the Office of Student Life’s Career Closet, a twice-a-year pop-up boutique that provides students with free professional clothing. He is also a mentor to members of Fisher’s Honors Cohort.

2019 Pace Setters Awards

More than 60 students earned Pace Setters honors, with five receiving special honors. Four faculty members were also recognized with awards.

Special Student Awards

The Jack W. Stephenson Award
Lara Tarvit
Nominating statement: “When you think about a good diver, you think about control and precision. In my honors organizational behavior and HR class, Lara is the epitome of both of these qualities. Lara will not 'out talk' you, but she will 'out think' you.”

Walter M. Rudin Junior Award
Jaret Waters
Nominating statement: “Jaret embodies the spirit of leadership through action at Fisher. He came to this university with a couple of goals in mind and has relentlessly pursued them. He has achieved great heights by building a coalition of people around him. As a student, Jaret challenges the default and consistently questions whether there is a better alternative than the status quo.”

Katherine Porter Allen Award
Margaret Meyo
Nominating statement: “Margaret is an exceptionally motivated and talented individual. She possesses a rare combination of drive, intelligence and interpersonal skills. I expect that she will excel in her career and in her life. She is strongly committed to Ohio State and exhibits a level of integrity that should make all Buckeyes proud.”

S. Maurice Bostic and Birch S.M. Bostic Memorial Award
Brett Bakies
Nominating statement: “Brett has also been an incredible mentor to younger students at Fisher interested in investment banking, taking the time to meet with them and talk about his experience and to coach them.”

Robert E. Georges Senior Award
Abby Cummings
Nominating statement: “Abby is an extremely creative, bright and committed student with a lot of intellectual curiosity. She was very careful and intuitive in every task she was assigned. She is a wonderful hire for JPMorgan Chase, and I am sure they will work hard to keep her there. But I really hope that she considers coming back to academia to get her PhD in finance one day, as she would be excellent in research as well!”

2019 Student Pace Setters
Student Pace Setters winners, from left, Abby Cummings, Brett Bakies, Margaret Meyo, Dean Anil Makhija, Lara Tarvit and Jaret Waters.

Faculty Awards

Bostic-Georges Faculty Service Award
Tzachi Zach, Accounting and MIS
Nominating statement: “Tzachi’s work exemplifies service as a top priority he believes in the land-grant mission of the university and takes seriously his role in shaping future business leaders. His service to students and the university provide an example we would all benefit from following.”

Faculty Research Award
Sean Wan, Marketing and Logistics
Nominating statement: “Sean represents the spirit of Fisher’s Pace Setters Award and is most deserving of the recognition.”

Westerbeck Undergraduate Teaching Award
Steven Salopek, Finance
Nominating statement: “He encouraged class involvement and questions and was continually open to working with us on anything that we struggled with. I have never seen a professor with a bigger drive to see his students succeed than he does.”

Westerbeck Graduate Teaching Award
Mark Sullivan, Management and HR
Nominating statement: "Underscoring the positive impact that Mark has had across the entire Fisher campus, there is simply not enough of Mark to go around.”

2019 Faculty Pace Setters
Faculty Pace Setters winners, from left, Steven Salopek, Mark Sullivan, Dean Anil Makhija, Sean Wan and Tzachi Zach.​​​​​​