The Excelsior Award is presented to an outstanding senior student who has overcome great obstacles to achieve his/her academic pursuits. These obstacles could be physical, emotional, financial, age, etc. A minimum grade point average of 3.0 is required. This award will be presented upon completion of degree requirements. The award does not have to be given if the committee determines there are no suitable nominees during a particular year. Student Services sponsors this award.
Aaron Luken overcome many challenges during his time at NKU. He came into NKU as a first-generation college student with wide eyes, but lingering health issues running in his family caused him to have a different path than most NKU students. After spending long days studying in the business center, he would take his grandfather to see his grandmother—who was in care—every evening. While this cut into his time to study, it was worth it to him.
Despite these obstacles, nothing has been able to limit Aaron’s success. He has held a 3.5 GPA as well as numerous positions in the Northern Kentucky Leadership Institute, Norse Leadership Society and an internship with NKU Athletics program that have allowed him to mentor and lead students across campus.
“Out of my 20 years of work in Student Affairs, I know that he is a student I will never forget,” says Tiffany Mayse, director of NKU student engagement. “He portrays genuine care and compassion for others, selflessness and true love for NKU.”
Aaron’s mission is to be a torch—not used just to illuminate a path but to light the torches for those around him. He plans to continue his education in NKU’s Master of Business Administration program in the fall.