College of Arts, Sciences, and Letters

CASL Chancellor's Medallion Recipients

Two CASL students, Larry Lehna and Joseph Maurer, were honored as Chancellor’s Medallion recipients at the University of Michigan-Dearborn’s commencement ceremony on December 13.  The students demonstrated excellence in scholarship, leadership, and service.  The Chancellor's Medallion is UM-Dearborn's most prestigious academic honor bestowed on students. The University presents the award at each commencement.  CASL student Kaitlin Wlodkowski was the student speaker at the ceremony. 


Larry Lehna will receive a Bachelor of General Studies degree with concentrations in English, history, leadership and communication in organizations. He graduates with High Distinction.

Mr. Lehna was first admitted to UM-Dearborn through the Student Outreach and Academic Resources (SOAR) program. The mission of SOAR is to increase access to post-secondary education for non-traditional adult learners in the metro area experiencing socioeconomic challenges.

Returning to school and developing a book manuscript based on a life of challenges, Mr. Lehna has embraced every opportunity to learn, collecting a near-perfect GPA, two first place wins in the annual UM-Dearborn writing contest, and several literary publications in the process. He has earned a spot on the Dean’s List for Part-Time Students every term since Fall 2011. His professors praise his writing for its originality, grace and self-deprecating humor. They note that his intellectual curiosity is contagious in the classroom. They also cite his unwavering sense of gratitude for the opportunity to learn and to create. Now his professors and advisers, who overwhelmingly supported this award, want to express their gratitude to Mr. Lehna—for his honesty, his unfailing wit, and the spark he brings every classroom. Also, as one professor put it, “He just happens to have a heart of gold.”

Mr. Lehna may continue his education by pursuing a Master of Fine Arts degree.


Joseph Maurer will receive a Bachelor of Arts degree in international studies with concentrations in French and communications, and a minor in linguistics. Mr. Maurer has earned a place on the Dean’s List four times, earned University Honors in 2014, and graduates with High Distinction. He is a recipient of the Community College Transfer Scholarship.

According to his professors, Mr. Maurer is an accomplished and well-prepared global citizen whose profile fits UM-Dearborn’s metropolitan vision. Applying a strong set of analytical, presentation and writing skills in two languages, Mr. Maurer is hardworking, thirsty for insight, and generous with his classmates. Professors note that he elevates the caliber of class discussions by asking pertinent, provocative questions. Above all, Mr. Maurer understands cultural processes and always frames his class projects within a broader conceptual framework. This mindset, tournure d'esprit, as one professor described it, consistently puts him at the top of his classes.

He is active in the Francophone Club and received the top French award two years in a row.

Mr. Maurer is currently applying to graduate programs and expects to begin work on a Ph.D. in linguistics next year.


Kaitlin Wlodkowski will graduate with Distinction, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree with majors in biology and psychology. Ms. Wlodkowski earned University Honors in 2010 and 2012 and earned placement on the Dean’s List in Winter 2011 and Winter 2012. She is a recipient of the Maize & Blue Scholarship.

She is a founding member of the international medical fraternity Phi Delta Epsilon MI Gamma premedical chapter. She has served as secretary and vice president of programming for the chapter, and served as an international delegate to the organization’s leadership conference earlier this year. She also is an active member of the Phi Sigma Sigma social sorority, a founding member of the campus Piano Club and a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success. Ms. Laslau was inducted into the Order of Omega community honor society for Greek life in August 2014.

One of her instructors, Dr. Justin Peer, described Ms. Wlodkowski as “a very intelligent and very thoughtful student. She has always been incredibly invested in her education and very personable. I have always enjoyed our interactions and I fully expect that she will do very well in graduate training and, ultimately, her career.”  Another instructor, Ms. Jean Saillant, remarked that Ms. Wlodkowski “seems to be fearless when it comes to identifying a challenge and going after it,” which will serve her well in her career and other future endeavors.

Ms. Wlodkowski will soon begin applying for medical school, where she hopes to specialize in pediatrics.