Jeremy Pittenger
University Communications

Gavin Withaeger ’22 honored as Student Lincoln Laureate

AURORA, Ill. (December 13, 2021) – Aurora University student Gavin Withaeger ’22 of Plainfield, Ill., has been recognized with the Abraham Lincoln Civic Engagement Award, representing Aurora University as Student Laureate of The Lincoln Academy of Illinois.

In the spirit of Abraham Lincoln, Student Laureates are honored for their “leadership and service in pursuit of the betterment of humanity and for overall excellence in curricular and extracurricular activities,” according to the Springfield, Illinois-based nonprofit organization.

Withaeger has been involved with several campus organizations, including the Student Nurses’ Association, the American Association for Men in Nursing (AU chapter), and the community service organization Mu Sigma Pi, in which he served as president. He also has served as a peer advisor, a resident assistant, and a Spartan Ambassador. In addition, he was a student-athlete his freshman and sophomore years.

Upon graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Withaeger plans to work in a critical care setting. Eventually he would like to pursue a doctoral degree in nurse anesthesia.

“As a future nurse and active member of my community, I have committed myself to the healing and protection of all people,” said Withaeger. “I plan to advocate for social justice and defend the basic rights for the people of the world. Aurora University has prepared me for this journey by empowering me to be not only a scholar, but to search for the deeper meaning behind my experiences and learning.”

Each fall, The Lincoln Academy awards the Abraham Lincoln Civic Engagement Award to one outstanding senior from each of the participating colleges and universities in Illinois. The Student Laureates receive a letter and certificate of merit signed by Governor J.B. Pritzker, a Lincoln medallion, a challenge coin, and a $500 check. The awards ceremony is typically held at the Old State Capital Historic Site in Springfield, Ill., each fall, but was held virtually this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

About Aurora University
Founded in 1893, Aurora University is a four-year, private, nonprofit, accredited higher education institution offering students an exceptional education. Aurora University is located on a beautiful 39-acre campus in Aurora, the second largest city in Illinois, approximately 40 miles from Chicago. The university serves more than 4,000 undergraduate and approximately 2,000 graduate students across more than 50 majors and programs. AU leadership, faculty, and staff are committed to the success of our students, offering academic support programs, hands-on learning activities, internships, and community partnership opportunities that prepare students to be successful beyond AU.


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Gavin Withaeger