Student Pace Setters award honorees with Dean Anil Makhija

It seemed fitting that Austin Smith would celebrate one of his biggest personal accomplishments using poetry. He was, after all, an Ohio Arts Council Ohio Poetry Out Loud State Champion.

Accepting the Walter M. Rudin Junior Award, one of five individual student awards at Fisher’s 2023 Pace Setters Awards ceremony, Smith launched into a poem that traced his journey throughout Fisher. The recitation was a highlight of an evening that celebrated the very best of Fisher’s students, faculty and alumni.

Austin Smith at Pace Setters Awards
Austin Smith

In all, 85 undergraduate students, four faculty members and one alumna received Pace Setters Awards.

“This was a wonderful celebration of achievement we call Pace Setters,” said Anil Makhija, dean and John W. Berry, Sr. Chair in Business. “Since 1961 our college has continued to recognize an elite group of high-achieving students, demonstrated and principled leaders and humble servants. Pace Setters awards are the college’s top honor where we recognize our recipients as being among the very best ambassadors for our college and for all that we do.”

Smith was recognized as the top member of the junior class for his leadership as president of the National Association of Black Accountants at Ohio State, as well as his efforts to spark social change. A peaceful protest he helped organize in Columbus in June 2020 following the death of George Floyd drew more than 1,000 people to the Ohio Statehouse.

Smith’s poem, entitled Time Well Missed, So Let’s Reminisce, concluded by congratulating all the Pace Setter Award winners, including four other individual student award recipients: Jillian Bourdage, Derek Moore, Syndey Speer and Lucas Tai.

  • Open/Close Read "Time Well Missed, So Let's Reminisce"

    Time Well Missed, So Let's Reminisce
    by Austin Smith, third-year finance and Spanish major

    My overwhelming joy, unfettered.
    Mom and Dad!! I’m a motherloving Pace Setter!

    Yet, I must remember that this award does not belong to me.
    Instead, it belongs to my friends, fam, and the Fisher faculty –
    For all the goals, the numerous milestones achieved –
    They were only reached because, in me, you believed.

    Another news story, this time something about a virus, I was such a cynic.
    Then our Freshman year: government mask mandates, social distancing, and a pandemic.
    In-person courses forbidden, an onslaught of mini GrubHub food robots – these all lead to hopes diminished.
    But BOY was I glad Computer Science 21-11 was online, otherwise, I would have been FINISHED!
    First-year shenanigans: the Scott unlimited plan, endless videogames, and cold showers.
    Oh, how I miss you, Taylor Tower.

    Alas, Sophomore year: a crisis case, statistics group projects, and accounting classes made us strong.
    With awkwardness fading away, speaking more in class – we began to feel as though we belonged.
    To all of our professors, we are indubitably indebted.
    But, professors, know that I’m still waiting on my Black History Month extra credit. (Dean Makhija, you gotta do something about that, haha.)
    While in-person classes brought so much joy, there was one thing that I had been missing.
    Hearing Professor Bonnie Schroeder say my favorite phrase: “No Popeyes, No Chicken!”

    As our Junior year comes to a close causing feelings of uncertainty and fear to arise.
    I hope that you reminisce on the memories that you’ve made throughout your college career and wipe those tears from your eyes.
    I have enjoyed navigating this journey together.
    And now, it makes me happy to attest that there is nothing better.
    Than being a THE Ohio State University Pace Setter.

Individual Student Pace Setters Awards

  • Open/Close The Jack W. Stephenson Award - Jillian Bourdage

    In recognition of a student with outstanding scholastic leadership and co-curricular accomplishments

    Jillian BourdageJillian Bourdage

    • Third-year student specializing in aviation management
    • Member, The Ohio State University Varsity Women’s Golf team
    • Earned a Private Pilot’s Certificate as a senior in high school
    • Earned an Instrument Rating and Commercial Pilot’s Certificate at The Ohio State University’s flight school (2021, 2022)
    • Member, Women in Flight and student outreach and engagement director of the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE), Ohio State Student Chapter
    • Member, Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA)
    • Member, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA)
    • Volunteer, The Ninety-Nines, Inc. International Organization of Women Pilots Florida, Gold Coast Chapter
    • Currently working toward FAA Flight Instructor Certification (CFI)
  • Open/Close Katherine Porter Allen Prize - Sydney Speer

    In recognition of an outstanding female business student at Fisher

    Sydney SpeerSydney Speer

    • Fourth-year student specializing in accounting
    • Project manager, Students Consulting for Nonprofit Organizations
    • Treasurer and small group coordinator, Changing Health, Attitudes and Actions to Recreate Girls
    • Member, Fisher Accounting Association
    • Resident Advisor, the Office of Student Life, The Ohio State University
    • Recipient, the Ohio State Maximus Scholarship
    • Leadership training committee member, Mount Society Leadership Scholars
    • Ohio State football recruitment host
  • Open/Close Walter M. Rudin Junior Award - Austin Smith

    In recognition of academic and leadership excellence by a third-year Fisher student

    Austin SmithAustin Smith

    • Third-year student specializing in finance and Spanish
    • Member, Honors Cohort
    • President, National Association of Black Accountants
    • Recipient, Morrill Scholarship with Distinction
    • Second-place finisher, KeyBank Leadership and Creativity Undergraduate Minority Student Symposium case competition
    • 2020 Ohio Poetry Out Loud State Champion
    • Co-founder, executive board member, Bexley Anti-Racism Project
    • Eagle Scout, Junior Assistant Scoutmaster, senior patrol leader, Boy Scouts of America Eagle Scout
    • Participant, Second-year Transformational Experience Program (STEP)
  • Open/Close S. Maurice Bostic and Birch S.M. Bostic Memorial Award - Lucas Tai

    In recognition of academic excellence and outstanding leadership

    Lucas TaiLucas Tai

    • Fourth-year student specializing in economics and public policy analysis, with honors
    • Member, Honors Cohort
    • Fellow, John Glenn College of Public Affairs
    • Rhodes Scholarship Nomination Finalist
    • Made in America intern, Office of Management and Budget, The White House
    • Communications intern, Office of Mayor Justin M. Bibb, City of Cleveland
    • Director of Business Development, ServUS Volunteering
    • Founder and CEO, The American Exchange
    • Project manager, Students Consulting for Non-profit Organizations (SCNO) (2020-2021)
  • Open/Close Robert E. Georges Senior Award - Derek Moore

    In recognition of academic excellence and outstanding leadership by a graduating fourth-year student at Fisher

    Derek MooreDerek Moore

    • Fourth-year student specializing in computer and information sciences
    • Member, Honors Cohort
    • Summer associate, EY Parthenon’s Private Equity – Value Creation
    • Project coordinator, standalone spinoff, EY Parthenon, Global Consumer Brands Project
    • Summer analyst, JPMorgan Chase’s Global Finance & Business Management division
    • Student Body Vice President, Ohio State Undergraduate Student Government
    • Consultant, Buckeye Undergraduate Consulting Club
    • Co-founder, Fisher College of Business Earth Day
    • First place, Serta Simmons Case Competition
    • First place, Movida Case Competition, São Palo, Brazil

Pace Setters Executive Award

Each year, the college also honors a professional who has excelled in their career, made a meaningful difference in the world of business and the community and has demonstrated a commitment to seeing their alma mater flourish.

This year’s recipient was Kellie Uhrig (MBA ’16, BSBA ’97), associate vice president and chief of staff of the Office of Student Life at Ohio State.

  • Open/Close Pace Setters Executive Award - Kellie Uhrig

    In recognition of a professional who has excelled in their career, made a meaningful difference in the world of business and the community and has demonstrated a commitment to seeing their alma mater flourish

    Kellie UhrigKellie Uhrig
    Associate Vice President and
    Chief of Staff,
    Office of Student Life at Ohio State

    Kellie Uhrig (MBA ’16, BSBA ’97), associate vice president and chief of staff of the Office of Student Life at Ohio State, was recognized for her continuing commitment to creating extraordinary experiences for every Buckeye. Through her strategic communications, internal and external partnerships, executive operations, and consultation to Student Life, Uhrig helps lead more than 6,500 employees who oversee residence life, food service, health and wellness and outdoor recreation. As an alumna, she has helped to assure the academic and career success, feelings of belonging and inclusion, health and well-being, positive residential experience and engagement and support of all Ohio State students.

2023 Alumni Awards

Pace Setters Faculty Awards

Four outstanding faculty members were recognized for their service to the college and university community, notable research contributions in their field of study and teaching excellence, as determined by undergraduate and graduate students.

  • Open/Close The Bostic-Georges Faculty Service Award - Waleed Muhanna

    In recognition of exemplary service to the college and university community

    Waleed MuhannaWaleed Muhanna
    Professor, Accounting and Management Information Systems

    • Chair of the Department of Accounting and Management Information Systems (2012-2015)
    • Director of PhD program in Accounting and MIS (2006-2008)
    • Served as University MIS Minor Coordinator for the MBA program
    • Served as chair for the committee on MIS programs
    • Served as a member of Chairperson Advisory Committee, the Accounting Curriculum Committee and the Students Appeals Committee
    • Helped create, launch and lead the Specialized Master in Business Analytics program (2017)
    • Nominating statement: “Waleed is universally respected for the unassuming and efficient manner in which he completes service assignments. When coupled with his value system, it is clear that the college is fortunate to have Waleed on the faculty.”
  • Open/Close Faculty Research Award - Hun Lee

    In recognition of a faculty member who has made notable research contributions in their field of study

    Hun LeeHun Lee
    Assistant Professor, Management and Human Resources

    • Research examines leadership effectiveness and diversity management and prosocial behavior
    • Recognized as an expert in ethics and leadership
    • One of eight faculty members selected to the first cohort of the Provost’s Early Career Scholars (2022)
    • Published in Journal of Applied Psychology, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Personnel Psychology, Journal of Management, and Human Resource Management
    • Cited in media including I/O at Work, Harvard Business Review, The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times
    • Editorial board member of the Organizational and Human Decision Processes and Korean Journal of Organization and Management
    • Nominating statement: “Professor Lee has attained a remarkable record and research visibility not ordinarily seen in a relative newcomer to our field. He is an exemplary candidate for this award, especially as an aspiring junior scholar who strives for excellence.”
  • Open/Close Daniel Westerbeck Teaching Excellence Awards (Graduate) - Tracy Dumas

    In recognition of teaching excellence as determined by graduate student input

    Tracy DumasTracy Dumas
    Associate Professor, Management and Human Resources

    • Long distinguished as an impactful educator among Fisher graduate students
    • Courses are deemed “must-takes” by graduate students
    • Consistent positive feedback from graduate students for her personality, knowledge and experience
    • Recognized areas of expertise include negotiations, managing groups/teams, personal/professional life interface, status differences in organization and diversity
    • Research addresses the interface between employees’ personal and professional lives with a focus on understanding how management practices can help employees to excel at work while engaging meaningfully in their communities
    • Prolific researcher, having received the Pace Setters Faculty Research Award (2017)
    • Nominating statement: “These last two years of near-perfect teaching ratings are symbolic of her typical teaching ratings. The student comments regularly highlight that Tracy’s negotiations elective course is the favorite course students have ever taken and argue it is a must-take for our MBA, MHRM and WPMBA students.”
  • Open/Close Daniel Westerbeck Teaching Excellence Award (Undergraduate) - Chad Zipfel

    In recognition of teaching excellence as determined by undergraduate student input

    Chad ZipfelChad Zipfel (BSBA ’07)
    Senior Lecturer, Finance

    • Uses his decades worth of finance experience at companies including Oneida, L Brands and P&G to provide a 360-degree perspective on business
    • Helped create and now leads Project THRIVE Finance, connecting diverse students with opportunities to explore finance as a career path
    • Helped create the startup of the Honors Finance program, its mentoring program and two semester-long seminar courses
    • Max M. Fisher Faculty Eminence Award (2019)
    • Alpha Kappa Psi Faculty Member of the Year (2019)
    • EMBA Excellence in Teaching Recipient (2022)
    • Pace Setters Award student recipient (2007)
    • Faculty mentor, Fisher College of Business STEP
    • Nominating statement: “In the classroom, he is always connecting his corporate experience with what we are learning, and he is exceptional at bringing the content to life. Outside of the classroom, Chad has been an amazing mentor and instrumental in my development as a student heading into the world of business.”