Pace Setters logo

The format and delivery may have changed, but the 2021 Pace Setters Awards continued Fisher College of Business’ longstanding commitment to celebrating the very best in academic achievement, service, teaching and leadership.

Delivered virtually for the first time in the event’s 60-year history, the annual tradition recognized nearly 100 undergraduate students for exemplary achievements inside and outside the classroom, four faculty members for their commitment to academic leadership and research, and one alumna — Elicia Azali (BSBA ’05) — for her professional business success and commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI).

“There is no doubt that this past year has been disruptive; but with disruption has come new opportunities and challenges to meet,” Dean Anil K. Makhija told participants on the livestream. “It has been heartbreaking, but stories of resilience, resolve and of triumphs large and small, have been the inspiration that keeps us moving forward.”

Elicia Azali
Elicia Azali (BSBA '05)

“And while we’ve no doubt felt isolated or detached at times, I’ve been heartened by the countless new ways in which we’ve managed to connect, stay connected and build community. And that’s what unites us today — a celebration of excellence within our community of Fisher scholars, servants and leaders.

“That’s what being Pace Setters is all about.”

Azali, the recipient of the Pace Setters Executive Award, was honored for her leadership as chief revenue officer at The General, as well as her commitment to DEI within the organization and beyond.

At Fisher, she was part of the Black MBA Association’s Living Legends Lecture Series this year, spending time virtually and sharing her story and insights with Fisher students, faculty, staff and alumni.

In previous years, she engaged directly with students through initiatives led by Fisher’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion Student Services and Corporate and Community Outreach, as well as through Fisher FIRST, a head-start program for underrepresented and first-generation students admitted to Fisher and Ohio State University.

“Here at Fisher, we’ve been incredibly fortunate to count Elicia as an engaged and enthusiastic supporter of our own diversity, equity and inclusion efforts,” Makhija said. “When we speak of Pace Setters finding a passion, working and paying forward in support of that passion, Elicia’s example is a great place to start!”

Other individual awards included five special student awards and four that celebrated members of Fisher’s faculty.

Special Student Awards (with nominating testimonial)

The Jack W. Stephenson AwardJosh Hoeflich

Josh Hoeflich

“Josh is simply the finest example of a student leader that the Athletic Bands have seen in many years. He one of the most dedicated band members I've ever taught, and his enthusiasm for making the band a memorable musical and social experience has truly shaped the direction of the program in recent years.”



The Katherine Porter Allen PrizeFaith Nimely

Faith Nimely

“Faith is a driven, fearless young leader who has a spirit of excellence that is only exceeded by her compassion for others. Her enduring positivity uplifts those around her, and her desire to make a difference is inspirational. It has been a delight to witness Faith grow as a young woman and scholar over the last four years. Faith Nimely is destined for greatness and the world will soon come to know her name.”


The Walter M. Rudin Junior AwardJoshua Badzik

Joshua Badzik

“He is a leader in the classroom, always first to share his thoughts during discussions and supportive and encouraging towards his classmates. He asks thoughtful, engaging questions and is committed to civic impact, as evidenced by his extensive volunteer and intern experience in politics.”



The S. Maurice Bostic and Birch S.M. Bostic Memorial AwardCharles Downing

Charles Downing

“Charles is smart, dedicated, hard-working and pleasant to be around and work with. I expect him to be enrolled in one of the world’s leading PhD programs in accounting next year, and look forward to his continuing development.”



The Robert E. Georges Senior AwardAlexa Fillingim

Alexa Fillingim

“Do not let Alexa’s quiet demeanor fool you. She is constantly thinking, challenges the status quo, and is tenacious, and resilient. She also has distinguished herself as a thought-provoking and exceptional writer.”



Faculty Awards (with nominating testimonial)

The Bostic-Georges Faculty Service AwardJohn Draper

John Draper, Assistant Professor, Management Sciences

“Under John’s continued leadership, these (teaching-focused Zoom) calls have provided faculty with an incredible opportunity for raising concerns, sharing ideas and potential best practice, advancing comfort levels with the latest technology and understanding the general atmosphere among students and faculty and staff.”



Faculty Research AwardYe Li

Ye Li, Assistant Professor, Finance

“I cannot mention all of Professor Li’s papers, but it is noteworthy that he is a leader in research on FinTech developments involving the use of tokens and blockchains. He is extremely productive, his work is recognized globally, he is invited all over the place, and is a credit to Fisher College of Business.”



Daniel Westerbeck Teaching Excellence Awards (Graduate)Lori Kendall

Lori Kendall, Senior Lecturer, Management and Human Resources

“Lori has handled several challenges surrounding the course during the pandemic. Lori was able to organize and run 16 separate projects, network and coordinate with external advisors, and seamlessly move the newly designed course to a virtual format.”



Daniel Westerbeck Teaching Excellence Award (Undergraduate)Stephanie Wapner

Stephanie Wapner, Senior Lecturer, Management and Human Resources

“Dr. Wapner is one of the special faculty that students see as caring deeply about them and their growth. She is an exemplary citizen who does what she can to aid our students at all levels.”