Isabella Mehlitz Named 2023 Recipient of Prestigious Tom McCann Award
Isabella Mehlitz, a graduating student from Fredericton who achieved excellence in academics and community service, praised the values instilled in her through her classes and campus activities as she received the top student award at St. Thomas University.
The Thomas McCann Memorial Trophy is STU’s most respected and cherished award. It is presented to a student who possesses strong leadership, character, and personality traits, and who best portrays the spirit of the university through their contributions. Over the past 50 years, McCann winners have gone on to be lawyers, a cabinet minister, a doctor, Rhodes Scholars, blogger, an army officer, political organizers, professors, and teachers.
"A Caring, Compassionate, and Kind Student Leader Who Lifts Others”
Her nomination was supported by students and faculty alike. According to her classmates, Isabella is a caring, compassionate, and kind student leader who “lifts others”. One of her professors describes her as someone who embodies the spirit of the liberal arts; a perceptive and critical thinker who devotes her time to bettering society.
Mehlitz is graduating in May with a major in Communications and Public Policy, and minors in Gerontology and Italian. She also holds certificates in Experiential Learning and Community Development, Digital and Media Literacy, and Global Skills Opportunities. She was on the Dean’s List every year at STU, and held the NB Power Leadership Scholarship, as well as two national awards, the John Dobson Scholarship and the HSBC Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership Award.
Over her four years at STU, Isabella was a Campus Tour Ambassador and First-Year Experience Leader, STUSU Help Desk volunteer, and a Gala Dinner volunteer. Among her many activities, she helped to pilot an International Experiential Learning trip to Costa Rica and will be taking part in the Travel Study Experience in Italy this spring.
As a leader of Enactus STU, she had a distinct and meaningful impact. Through Enactus, students learn about social entrepreneurship by completing projects related to sustainability, financial literacy, and entrepreneurial leadership. They present their community work at regional and national events with university students across Canada.
The Enactus STU projects included greater student accessibility, a clean-up walk, and a clothing exchange. She made new connections with other clubs and university departments and partnered with the City of Fredericton on the clean-up walks. In their recent competition, Enactus STU finished second in Atlantic Canada and is competing next in Montreal, representing STU on the national stage.
“I am beyond humbled and grateful to be standing here today. This recognition means so much,” said Mehlitz when receiving the award at the Graduates’ Dinner. She is committed to utilizing this recognition to positively impacting her community.
“The value of working as a team, becoming active in my community, and positively impacting others are among the many values I learned at STU that this award represents.”
“I came to STU for an education and to find my passion, but I am leaving with so many meaningful connections. I appreciate the support of my peers and friends who have always encouraged me unconditionally. Your constant support has been the foundation of my achievements which highlight the value of a liberal arts education.”
“Just like Tom McCann, Isabella has achieved the highest standards in the classroom, on campus, and in the wider community exemplifying the spirit of STU. From all of us Isabella, congratulations and thank you for your generosity towards your classmates and university,” said Dr. Fenwick, Acting President and Vice-Chancellor.
Tom McCann arrived at St. Thomas in 1968 and would thrive in his new surroundings, immersing himself in classes and student activities. He became a student leader, and earned the admiration and friendship of his peers. He was only 22 years old in 1969 when he was killed in an automobile accident.