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DCHS Students Honored as Spirit of the Billiken Award Recipients

Multiple Doisy College of Health Sciences (DCHS) seniors were recently honored as some of Saint Louis University’s recipients of the Spirit of the Billiken Award in late March. The six DCHS recipients included Communication Sciences and Disorders student Tayla Slay, Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy student Jori Brewer, Health Sciences students Nawadir Ali and Benjamin Rael, and Physical Therapy students Jemma Kim and Megan Ng.

DCHS 2021 Spirit of the Billiken Recipients
DCHS Spirit of the Billiken Award Recipients, Class of 2021. Top row (left to right): Jemma Kim, Megan Ng, Nawadir Ali. Bottom row (left to right): Benjamin Rael, Tayla Slay, Jori Brewer.

The Spirit of the Billiken Award was created years ago by the Saint Louis University Office of Alumni Engagement. In honor of the university being founded in 1818, the office annually recognizes 18 senior students who are committed to being proud and dedicated alumni of Saint Louis University. The honorees represent what it means to be a Billiken by excelling in academics, leadership, community service, commitment to Saint Louis University and dedication to living the university’s mission after graduation. Recipients had to have a minimum GPA of 3.0 to apply. After applying, select candidates go through an interview process and, from there, a committee determines the 18 winners.

Rael explained that it was an honor to be included in this group of students being honored for their Billiken spirit.

“I think the most meaningful part of this award was being recognized in the same light as some of the most amazing individuals on SLU’s campus,” Rael said. “Over the past semester, I’ve had the chance to meet other recipients and hear their stories. I can honestly say they are some of the most inspiring individuals I’ve ever met. Just to be considered along with them is an incredibly humbling experience.”

Rael went on to say that, to him, being a Billiken is all about the search for truth and serving others.

“I think to be a Billiken means to be an individual who constantly strives for truth and justice,” Rael said. “We each have our personal truth that we must discover but we must also discover the truths about our world and understand where we can serve our community and our world. It means understanding that our world is not perfect, but this cannot prevent us from providing a perfect effort toward helping the world around us.”

As an ambassador of the Billiken spirit, Ng strives to display the true nature of what it means to be a Billiken in every aspect of her daily life.

“As a Billiken, I find it a responsibility and honor to act as a role model considering I have always looked up to others who strive for excellence. Inherently, I want to be a similar model to peers, teammates and faculty,” Ng said. “At SLU, I have found myself involved in a multitude of niches – they physical therapy department, athletics, a humanitarian organization and student and alumni relations. Within each commitment, I hope to bring initiative and accountability to work towards sustainable change.”

Saint Louis University is a Catholic, Jesuit institution that values academic excellence, life-changing research, compassionate health care, and a strong commitment to faith and service. Founded in 1818, the University fosters the intellectual and character development of nearly 13,000 students on two campuses in St. Louis and Madrid, Spain. Building on a legacy of more than 200 years, Saint Louis University continues to move forward with an unwavering commitment to a higher purpose, a greater good.