News Release: People, Student Life, University News

May 12,  2009

Leadership, Service and Excellence Define Top Student Honoree

Emory University senior Nicolai Lundy’s quiet leadership, enthusiastic service and a dedication to excellence in all endeavors, from athletics and academics to engaged scholarship and volunteerism, has earned the Phi Beta Kappa Scholar Emory’s highest student honor: The Marion Luther Brittain Award.

The Brittain Award is presented each year at Emory's commencement to a graduate who has demonstrated exemplary service to both the university and the greater community without expectation of recognition. Candidates are required to demonstrate a strong character, meritorious service and sense of integrity. Lundy received the award, which also comes with $5,000, during commencement May 11.  

His nominator noted that the Emory Scholar, varsity track athlete, Alpha Tau Omega fraternity president and service-oriented leader has made a real and lasting impact on the Emory campus but has never sought the spotlight.

"When I look at the others who’ve won this award, it’s a humbling experience to be a part of that history," says Lundy. "I’ve simply tried to be of benefit to the groups I’m involved in, and to not sit back and take what I have for granted. I’ve been deeply inspired by the people around me at Emory. It’s really been a gift."

He served as president of Alpha Tau Omega fraternity this past year, and saw Emory’s chapter recognized as one of the three best ATO chapters out of 5,500 in North America, as well as the top chapter in the nation and at Emory. He also led an effort to generate a scholarship fund for ATO members and successfully secured a $150,000 challenge grant from the Dobbs Foundation for the establishment of a $300,000 endowment to award grants to members with financial need. "I want to encourage others to join, and not let finances be a hindrance," he says.

Lundy was co-founder and co-director of the Greeks Go Green Sustainability Initiative. By introducing competitions, film screenings, campus speakers and educational programs to attract hundreds from the Greek community, Lundy helped make Emory’s Greek community one of the key elements in the university’s strategic sustainability initiative on campus.

"Out of everything I did at Emory, I’m most proud of Greeks Go Green. It was fun, it was meaningful and it got people involved," Lundy says.

As an athlete, Lundy is a four-year varsity letterman in track and field, specializing in the 800-meter relay, and was elected co-captain of the team for the 2008-2009 academic year. He currently is the university record holder in the 4x800 meter relay and the Distance Medley Relay.

Over the past four years, he has volunteered for several groups at Emory, and for nearly two years has been a frequent volunteer and mentor at a Boys and Girls Club in Atlanta. A strong advocate for Emory, Lundy, who is from Golden, Colo., near Denver, has helped recruit other talented students to Emory as an ambassador to Colorado high schools.

The philosophy major spent six months in Norway his junior year as way to get in touch with his own heritage (his mother is a native Norwegian) and learn the language. He plans to work the next two years in the nonprofit sector to "learn more about life outside the classroom," and then pursue degrees in medicine and/or public health. "I’ll continue to serve in my community no matter what."

Originally posted May 8, 2009

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