by Sarah Small
Each year ILLINOIS recommends one student from its entire undergraduate population to the Lincoln Academy for a special honor recognizing extraordinary academic and extracurricular success. On November 7, Mark Paik, a senior in finance and accountancy received the honor of becoming this year’s Student Laureate of ILLINOIS in a ceremony in Springfield, Ill.
“I was with bright and talented people,” Paik said. “I’m honored to be the one to do that for ILLINOIS.”
Paik was nominated by Dean John Hedeman to represent the College of Business, and each other college on campus nominated one student for the award. The nominees were reviewed by a committee organized by the Office of the Chancellor, and Paik was notified shortly before the November ceremony that he had been selected to represent ILLINOIS.
“It just reflects what I’ve done and how the College of Business has supported me,” Paik said.
During his time at the University, Paik has been active in developing different organizations that focus around the themes of service and humanitarianism.
Paik helped launch the Web site iamselfless.org that aims to spread awareness for various service organizations and opportunities. He also helped found the organization Entrepreneurs Without Borders (http://www.entrepreneurswoborders.org), which gathers entrepreneurial-minded students to use their skills and resources to help disenfranchised people and countries throughout the world. ILLINOIS is the headquarters for the organization, and branches are being established at other universities throughout the country and world.
Paik said he is thankful for the opportunity to have worked with Professor Paul Magelli, professor of economics, because during his time at the University, Magelli has been a great source of support.
“He has been my greatest mentor and advisor,” Paik said. “He’s the one to tell me every day I can do whatever I think of.”
In a few weeks, Paik will travel to India to spend time filming and photographing impoverished areas for another of his projects. Although his academic background is in business, Paik said he is more interested in using his skills to continue helping others, rather than use them in a traditional business setting.
“You really have to spend every day enjoying your life,” Paik said. “There’s never one truth, always other options. I encourage people to look for that, not settling for convenience or the first thing that comes up. You can always make opportunities.”