Prepare for a life of COURAGEOUS LEADERSHIP
Michael Smith joined Pi Lambda Phi fraternity because of a desire for networking, brotherhood, unity, and responsibility. Sitting in a room surrounded by 45 of his new brothers, who knew very little about him, he took a stance. He told them everything they stood for was standing in the way of their goals. He told them he wanted to banish the status quo, build better gentlemen, and get back to the ideals on which the fraternity was founded.
Smith said, "They often joked about starting a philanthropy or establishing a risk management intervention. I actually stood up and said 'why not?'" From that day on he has been on a rewarding quest to turn a group of men who had been cited for hazing, known for their drinking habits, and shunned for their disrespect, into a group of well-rounded gentlemen.
Over the past three years Smith has accomplished two major milestones. First, working with the Campus Alcohol Abuse Prevention Center, he developed an alcohol awareness program for his fraternity. This class is taught to all incoming pledges and includes e-blasts that go out to every brother, giving them the knowledge and tools they need to be safe around alcohol. Second, he developed the Well-Developed Man program, a process of setting specific goals focusing on academics, philanthropy, health, social interactions, and awareness. Smith said, "The experience gave me the opportunity to break down that status quo associated with Greek life, and show them that just because you are Greek doesn't mean you necessarily make the 'Animal House' decisions with alcohol."
His nominator wrote, "While he is passionate about everything he does, he is a quiet leader, who models appropriate behaviors for his peers, shows empathy for those around him, and steps in when he sees others need assistance."
Smith said, "Initially people mistake my method of stepping back and letting others take the lead as being a poor leader, but what they don't understand is I am just looking at their strengths. Let people take the lead and see where they could use their leadership skills. Once they think they are the leader, step in and help them be a better leader. Now you have a team of leaders who all feel important and who all complement each other. If you help people become their best it motivates you to be your best."
He practices that philosophy as an IMPACT Peer Educator with the Campus Alcohol Abuse Prevention Center, taking the lead on multiple projects and making many significant contributions.
Smith completed his education at Virginia Tech in three years. A dean's list student and a senior majoring in hospitality and tourism management, Smith is weighing two full-time job offers, one with a fortune 500 company. He would like to eventually obtain an MBA in finance.
Smith likes to quote Bill Gates: "Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can't lose." Smith says all his successes have been the result of failures – failures that motivated him to do better, learn more, and be more.
For his tenacious spirit; for inspiring others to take the lead; and for his keen grasp on what it truly means to be a leader, the Aspire! Award for courageous leadership is presented to Michael Smith.
2017-2018 Aspirations Breakfasts*
December 1, 2017
Owens Banquet Room, 8-10 a.m.
*Registration is required to attend the Breakfast.
April 21, 2017 Recipients
Bobby Hollingsworth - Curiosity
Annemarie Bresson - Self-Understanding and Integrity
Christopher Bardo - Civility
Nala Chehade - Courageous Leadership
Elizabeth Galbreath - Ut Prosim
Hillary Kovacs – Ut Prosim
Robert and Kara Julius – Ut Prosim
Jerry Colyer [posthumous award] – Ut Prosim
March 17, 2017 Recipients
Lt. Tony Haga – Courageous Leadership
February 17, 2017 Recipients
Danielle Jeffers - Curiosity
Colleen McGovern - Self-Understanding and Integrity
Min Kyung “Julie” Sim - Civility
Lamont “Gucci” Livingston - Courageous Leadership
Jacob Long - Ut Prosim
Alece Alderson – Civility
November 4, 2016 Recipients
Rhiannon Hasenauer - Ut Prosim
Zack Sever - Civility
David Gardner - Courageous Leadership
Zachary Hoopes - Curiosity
Bridger Johnson - Self-Understanding and Integrity
Jon Fritsch – Self-Understanding and Integrity
October 7, 2016 Recipients
Zachariah Ewen - Ut Prosim
Jordan Evans - Civility
Megan Lee Myklegard - Courageous Leadership
Alex Hamilton - Curiosity
Bryan Faulkner - Self-Understanding and Integrity
Catherine Cotrupi – Curiosity
April 22, 2016 Recipients
Samantha Hall - Ut Prosim
Charelle Berry - Civility
Audrey Semel - Courageous
Jess King - Curiosity
Mike Schoka - Self-Understanding
Frances Keene – Ut Prosim
John Graham – Ut Prosim
Susan Anderson – Courageous
February 19, 2016 Recipients
Javier González-Rocha – Self-Understanding and Integrity
Obaid Rehman – Civility
Claire Kelling – Courageous
Meghan McLoughlin – Ut Prosim
Erica Nagotko – Curiosity
Anthony Purcell – Civility
Gladys Sartin– Self-Understanding
October 2, 2015 Recipients
Walter Gonsiewski – Self-Understanding
Seyi Olusina – Civility
Skyler Mueller – Courageous
Anastasia Matusiewicz – Ut Prosim
Natasha Laramie – Curiosity
Vera Kidd – Curiosity
Residence Life Resource Officer John Tarter – Ut Prosim
Robby Moser – Ut Prosim
March, 2015 Recipients
Juan de la Rosa Diaz – Courageous
Jamaica Sykes – Curiosity
Luke Birch –
Self-Understanding and Integrity
Jake Voorhees – Ut Prosim
Turki Saad Al-Zahrani – Civility
Captain Jim Snyder – Courageous Leadership
February, 2015 Recipients
Catherine Goggins – Courageous
Allison Laclede – Curiosity
Samuel Aguilar Chavez –
Self-Understanding and Integrity
Larissa Perara – Ut Prosim
Lauren Cashman – Civility
Jay Read – Civility
Scott Busiel – Self–understanding and Integrity
Robin Boucher – Curiosity
Tricia Smith – Ut Prosim