Michael Smith

Prepare for a life of COURAGEOUS LEADERSHIP

Michael SmithMichael 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.

Aspire! Awards History

Past Recipients

October 27, 2017 Recipients

Jordan Kuhn - Curiosity
Joseph Walker - Self-Understanding and Integrity
Harley Curran - Civility
Fahad Ashraf - Courageous Leadership
Julia Monroe - Ut Prosim

Laurie Fritsch – Curiosity

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 KovacsUt Prosim

Robert and Kara JuliusUt Prosim
Jerry Colyer [posthumous award] – Ut Prosim

March 17, 2017 Recipients

Mitch Clements - Curiosity
Samantha Nichole DiBiaso - Self-Understanding and Integrity
Maria Jernigan - Civility
Manjot Kaur - Courageous Leadership
Stephen Pistoia, Jr. - Ut Prosim

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
and Integrity

Frances KeeneUt Prosim

John GrahamUt Prosim

March 18, 2016 Recipients
Joe Frazier – Civility
Nina Miller – Self-Understanding
and Integrity
Jacob Rosenthal – Curiosity
Haley BurgessUt Prosim
Tanushri Shankar – Courageous

Susan Anderson – Courageous

February 19, 2016 Recipients
Javier González-Rocha – Self-Understanding and Integrity
Obaid Rehman – Civility
Claire Kelling – Courageous
Meghan McLoughlinUt Prosim
Erica Nagotko – Curiosity

Anthony Purcell – Civility

November 13, 2015 Recipients
Kelsi Faley – Self-Understanding
and Integrity
Nivedha Balan – Civility
Rachel Cotton – Courageous
Ryan HopkinsUt Prosim
Caroline Amodeo – Curiosity

Gladys Sartin– Self-Understanding
and Integrity

October 2, 2015 Recipients
Walter Gonsiewski – Self-Understanding
and Integrity
Seyi Olusina – Civility
Skyler Mueller – Courageous
Anastasia MatusiewiczUt Prosim
Natasha Laramie – Curiosity

Vera Kidd – Curiosity

April, 2015 Recipients
Ankit Saigal – Curiosity
Baker Martin – Courageous
Nicole Selz
Self-Understanding and Integrity
Brett MontagueUt Prosim
Conor Cosgrove – Civility

Residence Life Resource Officer John TarterUt Prosim

Robby MoserUt Prosim

March, 2015 Recipients
Juan de la Rosa Diaz – Courageous
Jamaica Sykes – Curiosity
Luke Birch
Self-Understanding and Integrity
Jake VoorheesUt 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 PeraraUt Prosim
Lauren Cashman – Civility

Jay Read – Civility

November 14, 2014 Recipients
Andrew George – – Courageous
Esther Moon – Curiosity
Kaleigh Leal – Self-Understanding
and Integrity
Stephen Bennett Ut Prosim
Philip Norman – Civility

Scott Busiel – Self–understanding and Integrity

October 3, 2014 Recipients
Patrick AckerUt Prosim
Ethan Poole – Civility
Danielle Smalls – Courageous
Emily Neer – Curiosity
Austin Dickey – Self-Understanding
and Integrity

Robin Boucher – Curiosity

April 25, 2014 Recipients
Brent AshleyUt Prosim
Anna Isserow – Civility
Daniel Evans – Courageous
Jacalyn Polis – Curiosity
Neal Moriconi – Self-Understanding
and Integrity

Tricia SmithUt Prosim

March 21, 2014 Recipients
Meredith Cahill
Natasha Chadha
Wes Williams
Emma Cohen
Emily Blair

Belinda Pauley

February 21, 2014 Recipients
Meghan Gilliam
Steven Gethard
Kylie Gilbert
Ashley Taylor
Emily Brown

Kelley Woods-Johnson

November 8, 2013 Recipients
Jordan Disney
Kelly Berry
Daniel Pierce-Parra
Anusha Rizvi
Camryn Sorg

Lyndsy Manz

October 11, 2013 Recipients
Rob Grimm
John Turbyfill
Brendan Craig
Thomas Friss
Chris Atkins

Meredith Hampton