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Oller receives Monroe Prize in Civic Leadership

  • Devin Oller
    Devin Oller  The William & Mary senior won the 2009 Monroe Prize for Civic Leadership.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
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Devin Oller, a senior English major and biology minor, received the 2009 Monroe Prize in Civic Leadership during the William & Mary’s Charter Day ceremony Feb. 7.

According to the event’s program, the prize “recognizes the William and Mary student who best demonstrates sustained leadership of an unusual quality – leadership combined with initiative, character, and an unfailing commitment to leveraging the assets of the William and Mary community to address the needs of our society.”

Oller is the president of the College’s AIDSTanzania program, which brings students to the African country to help develop peer education programs and HIV testing days. He has also co-led a trip to Kenya through Masaai American Organization, and he has participated in two Teach for America Spring Break service trips to Philadelphia and Charlotte. Oller additionally serves as the vice president of William & Mary’s Health Outreach Peer Educators program, and he tutors Williamsburg students as part of the College’s Partnership with Kids.

As he presented the award, William & Mary President Taylor Reveley noted that even with all of Oller’s service commitments, he has been able to maintain a high GPA during his College career.

“The medical schools to which you are applying will surely see in you someone of uncommon dedication, talent and sensitivity to the needs or others,” said Reveley. “We are very proud of you, Devin.”

Upon receiving the award, Oller said that he has made no sacrifices.

“Over the past few years, I’ve received a lot more than I’ve given,” he said. “I have learned a lot more than I have taught. I’ve followed the individuals in these communities. I’ve not been a leader.”

Oller said he feels that there is a “contract” between him and the communities he serves.

“It is an understanding that I come back -- not when I’m ready, not when I’ve checked off that list of personally or socially prescribed life goals -- but when I am needed. When I am seen as an integral and inextricable part of a movement toward something better, something humbling in its truth, something staggering in its selflessness, then I’ll understand sacrifice,” he said.