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W&L Student and Faculty Member Recognized at ODK National Convention

Paqui Toscano, a member of Washington and Lee University’s class of 2017, has been named a national leader of the year by Omicron Delta Kappa (ODK), the national leadership honor society.

At ODK’s recent national convention in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Toscano received one of five General Russell E. Dougherty National Leader of the Year awards, and was awarded a $1,000 scholarship for graduate-level study and a $300 grant for W&L’s Alpha Circle, of which he was vice president.

“Paqui represents the model of commitment to scholarship, leadership, and integrity at W&L,” said Linda Hooks, Professor of Economics and faculty advisor to the Alpha Circle, Washington and Lee’s ODK chapter. “His leadership in student governance and in the classroom have greatly enriched our campus community.  I am very pleased that ODK’s award recognizes the contributions Paqui has made as being significant not only for our campus, but also at the national level.”

A Classics and English double major from Kettering, Ohio, Toscano was honored during W&L’s commencement as the male winner of the Algernon Sidney Sullivan Medallion, awarded by the faculty to the male and female students in the graduating class who “excel in high ideals of living, in spiritual qualities and in generous and disinterested service to others.”

A Johnson Scholar, Toscano also is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Omicron Delta Kappa, Phi Eta Sigma and Eta Sigma Phi classics honor society; was awarded the Edward L. Pinney Prize, the G. Holbrook Barber Scholarship Award and the Matthew J. Mason Latin Prize. He also won the Elizabeth B. Garrett Scholarship in English, the Dabney Stuart Prize in English and the Sidney Coulling Prize in English.

Toscano served as chairman of the Student Judicial Council; a member of the Student Affairs Committee; a Latin and English peer tutor; was a Steering Committee member and platform chair for the 2016 Mock Convention; and gave campus tours as a member of the Student Recruitment Committee. He also was a member of the University Wind Ensemble.

In April, Toscano was among 20 students awarded a Beinecke Scholarship for graduate study. Each scholar receives $4,000 immediately prior to entering graduate school and an additional $30,000 while attending graduate school. Toscano plans on pursuing a Ph.D. in English with a specialty in contemporary American literature.

“I was humbled and honored, thrilled and surprised,” said Toscano. “I’m profoundly touched that my peers saw fit to nominate me and that our ODK circle’s voting faculty members deemed me worthy of representing Washington and Lee in this way.”

Also at this year’s national convention, Hooks was selected to serve on ODK’s national society board of directors. She will serve as member-at-large representing academe.

“I am honored to represent the founding circle of ODK on its national Board of Directors, said Hooks. “I look forward to continuing our deep connections with ODK and its ideals of leadership and honor that match our own W&L ideals so closely.”

Founded at Washington and Lee in 1914, ODK was the first college honor society of a national scope to accord recognition and honor for meritorious leadership and service in extracurricular activities and to encourage the development of general campus citizenship.

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