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Faith Velez, Redgranite, honored with Chancellor’s Award at UW-River Falls

The University of Wisconsin-River Falls recently bestowed its highest non-academic honor on nine students. Faith Velez, a junior psychology/social justice major from Redgranite, was one of the recipients. 

The Chancellor’s Award for Students recognizes students who have demonstrated outstanding leadership, excellence and service, both on campus and in the community. Recipients must also have shown a commitment to UWRF’s core values, as well as positive and inspiring personal traits and contributions in areas such as undergraduate research, inclusivity and global education.


“You’ve had tremendous impact at UWRF and have prepared well for the journey ahead,” wrote Chancellor Dean Van Galen in notifying students. “Having distinguished yourself through leadership and service as a student, go confidently into the future knowing you have the potential to positively impact the lives of many others.”

Recipients of the award must be juniors, seniors or graduate students and can receive nominations and letters of support from UWRF faculty or advisers, UWRF staff, external organization leaders, fellow students or be self-nominated. A selection committee comprised of appointees from the chancellor’s staff, academic colleges, student support staff and the Student Government Association (SGA) considers every nominee and selects finalists for interviews. After the interviews, the committee submits its recommendations to the chancellor, who makes the final decisions.

In Velez’ work as a member of the Recruitment and Enrollment Team, an intern for the Multicultural Visit Program, and as a resident assistant, Velez has demonstrated respect and cultural awareness in service of students of diverse backgrounds and has impacted the lives of countless students with her supportive and inclusive nature.

She has held important leadership roles with the UWRF Student Feminist Organization and the Falcon Guide Leadership Team. She has been a peer mentor in the Psychology department and served on the Psychology Club, Psy Chi and Gender & Sexuality Alliance organizations. In recognition of her leadership, Velez was chosen by the local chapter of the American Association of University Women to attend the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders.

Whether working independently or as part a team, nominators commented that Velez is skilled at articulating her vision, assessing situations, finding common ground, and moving ideas forward.

“She models integrity and inclusivity in all she does,” one nominator wrote.

Velez has also made a in important contribution in the community through her collaboration with the St. Croix Valley Sexual Assault Response Team, interning and volunteering with them as part of crisis support, advocacy and public information efforts. Velez’ interest studying underrepresented groups and relationship dynamics resulted in psychology research presented at the annual Undergraduate, Research and Scholarly Activity Gala.


Due to COVID-19 restrictions, this year all selection committee meetings and interviews of finalists with their nominators were performed online. The university was also not able to celebrate the students with a formal ceremony on campus at which the recipients receive a medallion to wear with their commencement garb in recognition of the prestigious award. The medallions were instead mailed to students along with a certificate of achievement and personal note from the chancellor.