Knox Student Named Lincoln Laureate

November 20, 2010

Anita Ahuja, Roger TaylorA Knox College student from Rock Island who co-founded the college's chapter of Best Buddies, a service organization that links students and local residents with developmental disabilities, was honored recently with a 2010 Illinois Student Laureate Award from Lincoln Academy of Illinois.

Anita Ahuja received the award at the Student Laureate Ceremony, November 6 at the Old State Capitol in Springfield. She was nominated for the award by Knox College President Roger Taylor, who gave the invocation at the award ceremony. Photo, right, Anita Ahuja, Roger Taylor

The awards are presented annually to an outstanding senior from each of Illinois' four-year colleges and universities, in recognition of academic excellence and leadership in extracurricular activities. The award includes a medallion, a certificate of achievement and an honorarium.

A senior biology major from Rock Island, Ahuja has been named to the Dean's List, inducted into the Mortar Board academic honor society, and received the CRC Press Award for Achievement in Chemistry. Ahuja also is the director and co-founder of the Knox College chapter of Best Buddies, an international nonprofit volunteer organization dedicated to improving the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

"We work with the residents of St. Mary's Square Living Center, just blocks from the Knox campus," Ahuja explained. "We started in 2008 with 10 'Buddies' who live at St. Mary's Square, and 12 'College Buddies' from Knox. Now we've grown to include 34 Knox students and 25 St. Mary's Square residents. The students visit their Buddies and plan monthly group activities -- bowling, karaoke, tie-dyeing t-shirts, making ice cream, and game nights."

A 2007 graduate of Rock Island High School, Ahuja is the daughter of Cheryl and Deepak Ahuja of Rock Island.

Founded in 1837, Knox is a national liberal arts college in Galesburg, Illinois, with students from 45 states and 48 countries. Knox's "Old Main" is a National Historic Landmark and the only building remaining from the 1858 Lincoln-Douglas debates.