Senior Daizja Hollman Named 2023 Lincoln Student Laureate

December 6, 2023 | by the Office of Marketing and Communications

Senior Daizja Hollman Named 2023 Lincoln Student Laureate

Elmhurst University senior Daizja Hollman has been named the University’s 2023 recipient of the Abraham Lincoln Civic Engagement and Student Laureate Award.

Hollman was among the outstanding students selected by each of Illinois’ colleges and universities to receive the award, which is presented by The Lincoln Academy of Illinois.

“I was so honored,” said Hollman, of Oswego, Ill. “It felt really good to know that my actions and passion to serve Elmhurst and my peers haven’t gone unnoticed. I feel like I’m making an impact, and hopefully it will be a lasting one.”

She and the other Student Laureates were recognized during a special ceremony in early November at the President Abraham Lincoln Hotel in downtown Springfield. The 49th annual event was the first since 2019 to be held in person.

Hollman said that one of the things she enjoyed most about the experience was getting to know some of the other Student Laureates.

“We all have similar ideas about wanting to help people and doing what we can to make the biggest impact we can,” she said, “but it was really interesting how different our ideas were about how to make that impact.”

For example, someone planned to teach in underprivileged areas, while another hoped to start a mental health clinic for African American men. Hollman plans to attend law school and eventually help reform the criminal justice system. “We all have same passion to serve the community, but hearing all the different ideas was really inspiring,” she said.

Each Student Laureate received a $1,000 Abraham Lincoln Civic Engagement Award, a Lincoln medallion and a certificate of merit signed by Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

In the spirit of the 16th U.S. president, Lincoln Academy Student Laureates are honored for their leadership and service in the betterment of humanity, and for overall excellence in curricular and extracurricular activities. The award recognizes one senior who is selected from each of Illinois’ four-year, degree-granting colleges and universities, as well as a student from one of the state’s community colleges.

A business administration major at Elmhurst, Hollman has been active on campus as a student leader. She served for two years on the Student Government Association (SGA), including one year as president, and currently is an officer in the Delta Mu Delta international business honors society.

During her time leading the SGA, Hollman rebuilt student leadership and cohesion among campus organizations, which had deteriorated during and after the COVID pandemic. By re-establishing monthly in-person legislator meetings, she provided a venue where leaders from all 93 campus organizations could meet, share ideas and access resources.

Hollman says attending Elmhurst has given her the confidence to turn her ideas into reality:

“Elmhurst has made me feel like what I do matters, and that if I just put in the work, I can create change.”

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