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.
Despite his many obstacles, Deron Bartleson has changed NKU since first stepping foot on campus.
A first-generation student, he comes from a community where 70 percent of the residents live below the poverty line. Wanting to take control of his future, Deron moved two hours away to NKU without a car or his family.
But Deron didn’t let limitations hold him back. He finishes his Bachelor of Arts with a 3.3 GPA, while holding various roles on campus including a residential assistant position and memberships in both the Northern Kentucky Leadership Institute and Vine and Branches. Throughout his four years, Deron lit the way for students of all backgrounds.
“NKU is a hidden gem that many people are overlooking,” he says. “But those who find this gem know its true worth. Try to meet as many people during your time at NKU—you’ll never know who will have an impact on your life. And make NKU your home away from home. I’ve found my home here, and I hope everyone does, too.”
After graduation, he hopes to build a career in the film industry and eventually become a director and screenwriter.