Students, Clubs and Orgs Honored at Merrimack College’s L.E.A.D. Awards

The annual ceremony, held in the Rogers Center for the Arts on April 27, recognizes students and groups that have made impactful contributions to the campus community over the past year.

Merrimack College’s annual L.E.A.D. Awards celebration of students, clubs and organizations that make the campus a community was held on April 27 in the Rogers Center for the Arts. More than 300 people attended the event, the first time it was held in-person since the beginning of the pandemic.

Antonio Willis-Berry, director of residential life, served as the master of ceremonies, and the event featured a prayer from the Rev. Raymond Dlugos, O.S.A., vice president for missions and ministry, and remarks from Allison Gill, vice president for student affairs and dean of students.

Over the past year, 15 new student organizations were added at Merrimack, including the Asian Student Involvement Alliance, the BlockChain-Crypto Club, the International Student Organization and Women in STEM. Additionally, student leaders and the Office of Student Affairs hosted more than 600 events over the past year.

Read more about Merrimack Athletics’ L.E.A.D. Award winners

SWAG Award

The SWAG Award is presented to students or student organizations that create a positive impact on the Merrimack community and are examples of what it means to be a Merrimack Warrior.


  • Wherever the vibe is needed, WMCK is there at the forefront to bring the Merrimack community together through its multitude of playlists and venue appearances on campus. Its ability to bring people together through music leaves a lasting memory for all Merrimack students.

Alex Conte

  • The lead singer of the Merrimack band, a SGA member and an admissions ambassador, Alex is rarely seen on campus without wearing some form of Merrimack attire. He is the loudest voice at all of the sporting events and truly cares about each and every person who has the pleasure of knowing him.

Cultural Program of the Year

This award is given to the program that educated and fostered open conversations about diversity and inclusion on the Merrimack campus.

Taste the World: Lunar New Year

  • The Asian Student Involvement Alliance and the Unity House collaborated to host a record number of Merrimack students at a Taste the World, a Lunar New Year event. It marked an opportunity for A.S.I.A and the Unity House to celebrate the Lunar New Year, which is centered around food, family and welcoming good luck and prosperity for the new year.

Cultural Organization of the Year

This award recognizes a student organization that has cultivated awareness of diversity and inclusion on campus through programing, lectures and informational events.


  • This newly created student organization promotes awareness and celebrates a wide variety of Asian culture to the Merrimack community.

Outstanding Student Leader Awards

These awards are presented to students who stand out among their peers as those who exemplify enthusiasm in Merrimack College through their attitude, behavior and involvement. They maintain high standards of learning, are involved in a variety of facets of campus life and serve as role models to other students.

  • Nicholas C. Barber, Class of 2023
  • Kevin Carroll, Class of 2023
  • Gracie L. O’Leary, Class of 2024
  • Maxwell E. Beland, Class of 2024
  • Brianna M. Leccese, Class of 2025
  • John Tom Geraci, Class of 2025

Donna Swartwout Unsung Hero Award

This award is given to a student leader on campus who is actively involved in student organizations and various offices on campus. They support campus events and encourage others to support and participate in campus events and initiatives.

Abigail White

  • Abby has shown her leadership potential in SGA this year. She was recognized by current members as an individual with strong potential, a positive attitude and necessary leadership skills to have a successful future. She is also an admissions ambassador and always attends campus events.

Cintia Khouzami

  • Cintia is an outstanding representation of what it means to be a Warrior. As president of the Athletic Diversity Committee, coordinator at the Unity House and member of the track team, she has shown admirable leadership skills through it all.

Father Jim Wenzel Mission Award

This award is given to the students or organizations that best exemplify the Augustinian Catholic values of Merrimack College.

Lily Williams

  • Lily is dedicated to serving the Merrimack community. As a resident assistant, working in the library or doing service through Austin Scholars, she has played an important role in any community she is in.

Arts Organization of the Year

This award is presented to a student-run arts organization that has contributed significantly to the cultural climate and fine arts atmosphere of the College and the surrounding community.


  • Mackapella has had an amazing year after previous challenges due to the pandemic. Among other performances, Mackapella performed the national anthem at major sporting events including Merrimack’s homecoming football game, a Boston Celtics game and Merrimack’s first home playoff hockey game since 2011.

Merrimack College Marching Band

  • The Merrimack College Marching Band sets the tone in creating a more vibrant and fun atmosphere during sporting events on campus. The band has had a great year filled with many performances and new opportunities.

Joseph P. Daley Award

This award is presented in recognition of outstanding character and unheralded service to the Merrimack College community.

Gillian L. O’Brien

  • Gillian is an outstanding student leader in many campus-wide groups. From Orientation, to Relay for Life, to being a resident assistant, participating in career fairs and co-ops, she has done it all. She inspires many to care for the community and push themselves academically.

Micheal D. Senoff

  • Michael completely transformed his peers’ time at Merrimack College by leading by example academically, spiritually and socially. He has an amazing presence on campus and has inspired many by leading during Austin Scholar retreats, doing service with others and being there for his community. As a resident assistant Michael was, and still is, devoted to his residents’ success.

Campus Wide Program of the Year

This award is presented to the student-run program that most successfully developed, promoted, executed and had an obviously positive impact on the Merrimack community.

Merrimack Royalty

  • Formerly known as Mr. Merrimack, Merrimack Royalty is a beauty pageant where students showcase their best vacation-wear, talent and formalwear. Planned almost entirely by students, this year’s event was attended by more than 300 students and portrayed immense Warrior pride and spirit.

Academic Organization of the Year

This award is given to the academic affiliated student organization that demonstrates a commitment to academics and a dedication to developing skills through co-curricular activities.

Food Recovery Network

  • The Food Recovery Network Club has been involved in a multitude of initiatives throughout the year. The group hosted numerous events including a food drive, movie screenings, weigh-the-waste events and now the paper bag project to celebrate Food Waste Awareness Week. The members constantly help with food recovery at Merrimack Dining Services and help distribute food at the YMCA in Lawrence.

Allen J. Ash Outstanding Service Award

This award is given to the senior or seniors who have made an outstanding contribution to the senior class.

Madelyn J. Smith

  • Madelyn showcases her Merrimack pride through her constant dedication to leadership on campus. She is an Austin Scholar, event coordinator, admissions ambassador and intern in the Office of Student Involvement. This year, she made it a point to make sure the senior class was able to participate in traditional programs that were put on hold the past few years, such as 50 days to graduation and senior week activities.

Tiffany T. Vo

  • Tiffany is the perfect picture of what a Merrimack College student is. During her four years she has been involved in various clubs and activities including Theta Phi Alpha, Orientation and A.S.I.A. She is an admissions ambassador and participates in many Admitted Students Days and Open Houses. As the outgoing SGA president, she has shown many skills in communication, leadership, diversity and inclusion.

Student Org of the Year

This award is given to the student organization that strives to improve in the areas of programming, recruitment, retention, administrative tasks and co-sponsorship with other organizations and offices on campus throughout the year. This organization sets the bar for all other student organizations.

Association of Latinos Moving Ahead

  • ALMA is truly the spirit of what it means to be an organization that strives for excellence. Its ability to host several events such as Day of the Dead, Latin Dance and other influential LatinX themed activities has set them apart from other organizations on what it means to be impactful at Merrimack.

Travis G. Kong Student Leadership Award

This award is given in recognition of outstanding service to the Merrimack College community. The award was established by the Senior Class Gift of the Class of 2010 in honor of Travis Kong, a member of their class who passed away during his sophomore year.

  • Clarisa N. Cameron
  • Kurtis S. Stadnicki
  • Melissa Driver
  • Peter Garuti
  • Patrick Duncan
  • Liam OCearuil
  • Cameron M. Goebert
  • Emily Nolan

William J. Murray, OSA Award

This award is presented to a senior who is a role model for others and who, through his or her lifestyle, emulates Fr. Murray’s concern, open mindedness and compassion for others and makes a conscious attempt at social and spiritual growth. The award was established by members of the Class of 1983 to honor Fr. Murray, a former vice president for student life at Merrimack.

  • Rebecca Harty
  • Bradley V. Cook
  • David A. Rafferty III Memorial
  • Stefano Pesenti
  • Kate Mager

Merrimack Medal

The Merrimack Medal is awarded to the senior who exemplifies outstanding character and achievement of service to their classmates and the Merrimack College community. This is considered the most prestigious non-academic award.

Theresa MacDonald


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