Akash Patel, a University of Oklahoma student majoring in political science with a minor in philosophy and Constitutional Studies is the recipient of the 2014 Carl Albert Award, presented each year to the outstanding senior in the OU College of Arts and Sciences.
Patel will be presented with the Carl Albert Award at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 8, at a ceremony in Beaird Lounge of Oklahoma Memorial Union, 900 Asp Ave.
He will graduate summa cum laude with a 3.9 grade-point average during OU’s Commencement ceremonies on May 9. Upon graduation, Patel plans to launch a non-profit program to help immigrant students access postgraduate opportunities and attend law school.
Patel has received numerous scholarships, honors and awards during his college career, including the Cortez A.M. Ewing Public Service Fellowship, the Dean Bass Memorial Scholarship, the Kelly Sullivan Memorial Scholarship and the Distinguished Scholar Award, among others. He is an Outstanding Honors Perspectives Student and a Carl Albert Capitol Scholar, and was named to the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. In addition, Patel is a founding member of OU’s Pi Kappa Phi fraternity.
During his junior year, Patel served as a Fellow with the Institute for American Constitutional Heritage Society of Fellows, as a Student Government Association Executive Legislative Assistant, and also as an associate justice for the Interfraternity Council Judicial Board. During his senior year, he named to the Society of Fellows Steering Committee and was selected as a TEDxOU student speaker.
Patel has volunteered his time and talents to various community organizations, including the Muscular Dystrophy Association, March of Dimes, Feed the Children, Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, Dream Act Oklahoma and Toys for Tots. Above all, Patel most enjoyed dedicating himself to Push America, Pi Kappa Phi’s national philanthropy to assist people with disabilities.
In his Carl Albert Award essay, Patel said the most valuable skill his education at OU has provided him was “recognizing opportunities for public service, wherever they may be.” While at OU, he has drawn upon not only his classroom education, but also his work with Oklahoma State Senate as a Capitol Scholar – an opportunity he stated afforded him to work closely in areas about which he is most passionate: immigration and education.
The Carl Albert Award, the most prestigious given to a student by the OU College of Arts and Sciences, is based on academics, moral force of character, and promise of future service to the state and nation. First presented in 1966, the award was established to honor Carl Albert, the late OU alumnus and U.S. Speaker of the House, for his distinguished undergraduate career and national service. Julian Rothbaum, former state regent and longtime friend of Albert, endowed the award in 1965.