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Governor Awards Student Nancy Zhu Lincoln Laureate Honor One student from each Illinois university was honored for achievements


nancy-with-certificateNLU student Nancy Zhu received the Lincoln Laureate award for her academic achievement and contributions in a ceremony Nov. 12 in Springfield,  Illinois.

Zhu, a senior who will graduate in June with a B.A. in Elementary Education with Middle School Endorsement, has a 3.75 GPA. She also serves as treasurer for Debate team, and as vice-president in the National Society of Leadership and Success, NLU’s honor society.

She dreams of helping her future young students discover their strengths.

“It would give me great joy to help young kids and guide them toward a brighter direction,” Zhu said. “Beyond content and curriculum, I would be more than happy to provide every child a chance to grow, where their strength comes from the confidence-giving support of  classmates, teachers and a cohesive learning environment.”


First Lady Diana Rauner, from left, NLU Student Nancy Zhu, Gov. Bruce Rauner, Lincoln Academy Chancellor Stephanie Pace Marshall and NLU’s David Spangler, adjunct professor, pose for a photo after the governor honored Zhu with the student laureate award.

The Lincoln Academy of Illinois, a non-profit, non-partisan organization,  asked every university in Illinois to select one student to be its student laureate, based on academic achievement and contributions. This student laureate is inducted into the Order of Lincoln, which the academy hopes will inspire them to even greater achievements.

The sitting governor of Illinois serves as president of the Lincoln Academy. Consequently, Gov. Bruce Rauner and First Lady Diana Rauner awarded Lincoln medallions, certificates of merit and $1,000 checks to each of 56 student laureates in the 2016 class. Diana Rauner is a Life Trustee of NLU.

Zhu thanked many of her NLU professors, including David Spangler, George Litman, Deborah O’Connor, Diane Morrone, Debra Serbin, Irene Kidonakis, Kathleen Kotel, Ellen Deinzer, Brian Campbell, Pamela Howe, Rick Wade and Cynthia Mee, as well as Academic Advisor Olga Govea and Dan Amato of the Student Experience office.

” I could not have made it without the support of every professor and advisor along the way,” Zhu said. “Just as every child counts in a classroom setting, on the opposite end, every professor/advisor has been an incredible mentor in my educational life here at National Louis.”

Zhu expressed gratitude to her mother, Sonya, who died battling cancer in 2011. “She taught me to be active, to live the moment, to achieve the fullest potential, and most of all, to value the importance of time,” Zhu said.

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