Illinois State University senior Aaron Gyllenhaal is the recipient of the inaugural Living Our Values Award.
The Living Our Values Awards recognize individuals and groups that exemplify Illinois State’s core values of Learning and Scholarship, Diversity and Inclusion, Respect, Collaboration, Individualized Attention, Civic Engagement, and Integrity, as spelled out in Educate Connect Elevate: Illinois State – The Strategic Plan for Illinois’ First Public University 2018-2023. The awards celebrate the commitment to live the University’s values every day, and strengthen the campus community by sharing those values.
Gyllenhaal, a public relations major from Oak Park, Illinois, was honored for his dedication to scholarship and civic engagement. “Aaron is the kind of student that makes me proud to be a Redbird,” said the Office of Admissions’ Dillon Maher, who nominated Gyllenhaal for the award.
Along with serving as a lead intern in Admissions, Gyllenhaal has been active in the Honors Program, and took part in an Alternative Spring Break trip with fellow honors students to New Orleans to help educate youth who are underserved about financial literacy. The following year, he decided to lead an Alternative Spring Break trip to help clean up the Mississippi River.
“The values of ISU drew me to apply here,” said Gyllenhaal. “I see so many people not only talking about these noble ideas, but acting on them every day. The idea that I’m being honored for enacting the University’s values blows me away.”
Gyllenhaal will be attending graduate school in the hopes of combining his public relations major with his minors in business analytics and mathematics. During his time at Illinois State, Gyllenhaal also served as a teaching assistant in the School of Communication, and is a member of the Lambda Pi Eta national honor society for communicators.
Nominees for the Living Our Values awards can be any current Illinois State student, faculty, or staff member, or a group of people at Illinois State working toward a program or initiative that reflects the core values.
Nomination forms can be found on the Educate Connect Elevate: Illinois State website.