EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) – The University of Southern Indiana (USI) is holding commencement this weekend and will give out the highest honor to a graduate of the Class of 2022. Anna M. Ardelean will receive the President’s Medal.

Ardelean will graduate summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in political science and minors in Africana studies, pre-law and Spanish. She is also a recipient for sever scholarships and awards that include:

  • David L. Scholarship.
  • University Honors Scholar.
  • Sherianne Standley University Service Award.
  • The first Anne Statham Community Engagement Award which is committed to equity, accessibility and justice at USI and beyond.

She served as Student Government Association (SGA) President and was responsible for representing student voices to university administration. Ardelean implemented a series of public forums to encourage students to learn from key individuals in the USI and Evansville communities.

Her efforts as SGA President included being an advocate to bring a polling location to campus to increase youth voter participation. She collected over 500 survey responses from students who showed overwhelming support for the initiative and registered roughly 250 USI students to vote.

Ardelean is a first-generation college student who is praised for her leadership qualities, diversity, equity and inclusivity initiatives and service to USI and the Evansville communities. Those who recommend her note her ability to achieve academic excellence while advocating for positive change for all facets of USI.  

She served in several other roles at USI that included:

  • USI Presidential COVID-19 Task Force member.
  • The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee member.
  • The Administrative Appeals Committee member.
  • Division I Exploratory Committee member.
  • USI College Democrats President.
  • Speaker at the USI Martin Luther King Jr. celebration.
  • Speaker at the USI Nelson Mandela Day student activism panel.

Ardelean has worked on various political campaigns at the local, state and national levels. She interned with the Evansville Vanderburgh County Human Relations Commission in spring 2021 that addresses discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations.  

Ardelean intends to continue her education to earn a master’s degree in public policy with an emphasis on racial and economic policy from Brandeis University in Boston, Massachusetts after graduation. She plans to run for office or work in the nonprofit sector and to push for positive change from outside the political system.

“Wherever I land, I fully intend to continue supporting my alma mater,” Ardelean says. “USI has given me so much hope for the future, and more importantly, the skills to forge my future.” 

Other finalists for the President’s Medal from the Class of 2022 included Elissa Tam and Erika Uebelhor. The Student Affairs Committee of Faculty Senate annually selects the recipient of the President’s Medal.