Toby Ring wins Hillel leadership award

Geneseo senior Toby Ring won a national leadership award from Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life, the largest Jewish campus organization in the world. 

Ring, a history and adolescent education major from Massapequa, N.Y., received a Philip H. and Susan Rudd Cohen Student Exemplar of Excellence Award at the recent Jewish Federations of North American General Assembly meeting held in Denver, Colo.

According to a press release from Hillel, this annual award is given to five students who have "displayed exemplary leadership on their respective campuses by inspiring others to act and lead, building meaningful relationships, fostering innovation and creativity and modeling and inspiring Jewish growth."

Judy Abelman, executive director of Hillel in Rochester Area Colleges, and Kourtney Spaulding, the program director for Hillel Geneseo, nominated Ring for the award.

"Toby has been a real leader in Hillel since he got here freshman year … We are absolutely thrilled that he has received this award," Abelman said. "He is certainly very deserving; he has helped build Hillel on campus from the time he got here as a freshman." Ring currently serves at the organization's president. 

"Thinking about the award after I got it … I was just kind of helping out. We just reorganized our board structure this past year; we never used to have a president or set positions," he said. "I guess in that transition period, because the Jewish population at Geneseo is growing very quickly, we needed to be more structured so we could get more done."

"I had an opportunity to take a leadership position in that transition and I think it went really well," said Ring.

The four other awards went to students from Washington University in St. Louis, Emory University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Rutgers University. Each of the winners received a prize of $150 and a plaque in recognition of outstanding leadership efforts.υ