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.

Individual Student Pace Setters Awards

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.

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.