The Jaguar Connection link The Center for Student Engagement and Intercultural Programs establishes leadership opportunities for students who excel in academic and co-curricular achievements. To award their commitment, an awards ceremony is held at the end of each Spring semester. Faculty and students participate in the nominating process for this distinguished honor.

  • Student Leadership Awards 2024


    This Spring, the Center for Student Engagement and Intercultural Programs honors outstanding student leaders and advisors for their contributions to the GSU community on Friday, April 26th at 12pm. 

    Honorees are recognized for their contributions to any part of student engagement, including: work with student clubs and organizations, intercollegiate athletics, residential life, student senate, orientation programs, community service, civic engagement, etc. Nominations are accepted from students, staff, and faculty, including self-nominations, unless otherwise stipulated in the award description Questions? Email us at 



  • Student Commencement Speaker and Vocalist


    GovState selects two outstanding students to serve as commencement speaker or vocalist for the Commencement Ceremonies in May. The commencement student vocalist sings the National Anthem at the start of their Commencement Ceremony and the commencement speaker provides inspirational words of encouragement for the graduating class.

    Applications accepted on the Jaguar Connection website. Submission dates 2/16/24 - 3/11/24.

  • Lincoln Laureate


     Lincoln Laureate BannerEach fall, an outstanding senior from each of the degree-granting institutions of higher learning in Illinois is awarded the Student Lincoln Academy Medallion and thereby becomes a Student Laureate of The Lincoln Academy of Illinois. Student Laureates are honored for their overall excellence in curricular and extracurricular activities.

    The Lincoln Laureate honor individuals whose contributions to the betterment of mankind have been accomplished in or on behalf of the State of Illinois, or, whose achievements have brought honor to the state because of their identity with it, whether by birth or residence, or by their dedication to those principles of democracy and humanity as exemplified by the great Illinoisan whose name it bears. It is to honor senior students at each of the four-year, degree-granting institutions in Illinois for overall excellence, in both curricular and extra-curricular programs.


    Applications and nominations are accepted at the beginning of the Fall semester. Questions? Email




  • 2023 Lincoln Laureate Award Recipient


    Laila Atra-Yassin transferred to Governors State University as part of the Dual Degree Program from Joliet Junior College. She received an associate's degree in fine arts. She is currently a Dual Degree Program Honors Scholarship Recipient, Great Lakes Bank Scholarship recipient, Alumni Association Endowed Scholarship Honoring Rosemary Hulett Recipient, Elizabeth Cada Occupational Therapy Scholarship recipient, Great Lakes Bank Scholarship recipient and is a proud member of the GSU Honors College. She plans to graduate in May 2023 with her bachelor's degree Psychology with a minor in Ethics. Laila is a true scholar, having earned a 3.96 grade point average. 


    Laila enjoys volunteering with Sharefest Will County. Sharefest is a nonprofit organization that delivers groceries to individuals in need within Will county. She has also volunteered as a peer buddy at the Muhsen nonprofit organization which serves children and adults with intellectual, physical, or mental disabilities. Laila volunteers daily as a translator/tutor for international fourth graders. Her support was greatly needed because the student had severe literacy challenges at the beginning of the school year. By the end of the school year, he could read on grade level. Last spring Laila was asked to speak at her former high school to junior and senior AP English classes. She spoke about ableism and how parents of special needs children could combat this challenge. This experience inspired her to establish an alumni mentorship program at the high school where volunteers dedicate their time to share their college experience and careers, proofreading college essays, helping with coursework, and provide social/emotional support. 


    Laila Atra-Yassin serves as the 2023 Student Laureate representative for Governors State University.


    Congratulations, Laila!