Every man is said to have his peculiar ambition. Whether it be true or not, I can say for one that I have no other so great as that of being truly esteemed of my fellow-men by rendering myself worthy of their esteem. --Abraham Lincoln
The Lincoln Academy of Illinois’ Order of Lincoln award honors the top senior from each four-year university in Illinois. This year, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign selected College of Business senior and accountancy major William “Billy” Tabrizi to receive the State’s highest student honor for excellence in curricular and extracurricular activities.
In receiving the Order of Lincoln, Tabrizi is identified as a Laureate and formally retains membership in the Lincoln Academy of Illinois
. Other notable laureates include Mary Ann G. McMorrow, Chief Justice, Supreme Court of Illinois, and Ronald Reagan, President of the United States.
Tabrizi is well known and admired by students and faculty alike for his wit and intelligence. A member of the College of Business Honors Program and 2010-2011 “Mr. Business,” Tabrizi moves fluidly between his roles as a teacher of freshmen, president of Business Council, a community social entrepreneur, a recruiter for the College and as a campus tour guide, a scholar, and as a “maker of smiles.”
To this last point, John Hedeman, honors dean for the College of Business, praised Tabrizi for his “remarkable sense of humor to go with his sincere love of his fellow students and the faculty/staff of the University of Illinois. Students and faculty alike profit from Billy’s ability to make people smile.”
Hedeman expressed great respect for Tabrizi’s service to the local community as a co-founder of Project Future, an effort that rose out of an accounting case competition. Tabrizi convinced a College alumnus to donate $10,000 that he and five other students (Kari Notton '13, Vidhan Desai '13, Josh Yomtoob '12, Kyle Deininger '13, and Julia Malik '13) used to teach entrepreneurship skills to a group of local high school students. The younger students were also counseled by college-aged mentors and received instruction from business faculty. Once prepared, the group was provided funding to start a sustainable and environmentally friendly business. The students learned lifelong lessons about financial discipline and business.
Hedeman and other senior staff in the College lauded Tabrizi’s significant influence on his fellow students as a section leader and course manager for the introductory business course, BUS 101. Professor C.K. Gunsalus highlighted Tabrizi’s exemplary contributions out of her more than 30 years of supervising students. “Billy is a standout in every dimension [of the Lincoln Academy guidelines]: he is reliable, his work is of the highest quality, he takes responsibility and initiative in ways that lead to program improvements, he is professional in all his efforts and his contributions have been unique and, in our experience, unprecedented.”
When asked about the award, Tabrizi’s affinity for his fellow students and faculty was clear, “I was honored and humbled to receive the Lincoln Laureate award. It means so much to be selected to represent our school, and I realize there are so many amazing people at this University who create incredible opportunities that help us all succeed. The award, to me, represents hard work and commitment to a variety of organizations and also a lot of time spent working side by side with some incredible friends, professors, deans, community members, and more."
Tabrizi is the second Lincoln Laureate
in three years to come from the College of Business. Mark Paik ’10
, senior in finance and accountancy, received the award in 2009.