The inaugural Owlie Awards demonstrate that it takes all sorts of people to ensure success at the Naveen Jindal School of Management. More than 160 students, faculty and alumni were nominated for 14 awards in the first competition, held in April and named in honor of Wise the Owl, a statue by Dallas artist Brad Oldham. The mirrored stainless steel owl, just over three feet tall, was installed in JSOM’s courtyard last fall.
“The Dean’s Council focused on establishing traditions as its goal for this academic year,” said JSOM Associate Dean Monica Powell. “The council had always wanted an owl as its mascot, and when the owl showed up last year, the Dean’s Council immediately claimed it as the Jindal mascot because it symbolized the core values of the school.” The council’s 106 members, who are undergraduate and graduate students, meet monthly to serve as a link between school leadership and students. For the Owlie Awards, council members sifted through nominations, determined finalists and selected the winners.
A surprise award was given by the council to JSOM Dean Hasan Pirkul, who is entering his 20th year as dean of the school as JSOM celebrates its 40th anniversary. Powell said Dean’s Council students wanted to recognize Pirkul’s work in growing JSOM both in size and quality since beginning his tenure here in 1996.
Some categories attracted tough competition. The JSOM Face of the Year Award, for instance, garnered 25 nominees. Powell said the overarching take-away from the inaugural competition is the many tangible ways students, faculty and others have bettered Jindal School and the community. “These are meaningful contributions that will serve students as they go on in their careers,” she said. And yes, the Owlie Awards will be back in 2016.
Michelle Abuda (MS/Business Analytics). This award honors an individual who boosts the JSOM brand outside the school by being a spokesperson and representative for the school in the community and corporate world.
Matt Hinson (MS/IE and MBA alumnus). This is awarded to an individual who demonstrates the capacity to lead others and who has displayed commitment to his/her own individual growth and the growth of others.
Assistant Dean Shawn Alborz. The award recognizes an individual who has demonstrated excellence in mentoring, supporting, encouraging and promoting the educational, professional and personal development of JSOM students.
Omita Sujanani, career development specialist in the Career Management Center. The award honors a JSOM staff member who has displayed an exemplary level of commitment and dedication to supporting students, faculty and the school.
Prateek Diwan (MS/IIE) and Alejandro Jacobo (MBA). This award was given to two students this year, celebrating their entrepreneurial spirit and their demonstrated skill at innovation and developing ideas with potential.
James McGraw (Junior, BSBA). The award recognizes a student who holds military veteran status, maintains good academic standards and who has demonstrated involvement in campus life.
Anu Kumar (MS/Marketing). This award recognizes volunteer efforts and community impact of individuals from JSOM.
Zach Evans (Senior/Finance). This award acknowledges a well-rounded JSOM student who has balanced academic excellence with substantial accomplishments in extra-curricular activities.
Associate Dean Matt Polze for undergraduates and Mary Beth Goodrich, senior lecturer in accounting, for graduate students. This award honors faculty for excellence in teaching and advising, and whose efforts have contributed to enhancing the learning experience for students at JSOM.
Jim Friedberg, community volunteer. This award recognizes an individual connected with JSOM who has won hearts through his/her selfless acts of service.
Vicky Wu (MS/ITM). Wu, president of Management Toastmasters Society, was honored for her high level of leadership ability through character, work ethic and involvement.
Career Management Center Leadership Council. This award recognizes the student organization that has made a significant contribution to the school and student body through service, programming and activities.
Paul Nichols (BA ’95, MBA ’98) and Mayur Mehta (MS ’10, MBA ’14). This award was shared by Nichols and Mehta, for their excellence in supporting JSOM students and achievements.
ASCEND app. This award recognizes outstanding or innovative projects that individuals in JSOM have produced.