Olaleye Onikuyide Receives John G. Lee Award
From organizing political campaigns to designing an outreach program for Hartford’s homeless population, Olaleye Onikuyide ’20 shows his commitment to community service. The University is recognizing this dedication by presenting him the John G. Lee Award, given annually to an exemplary graduating senior based on three criteria: academic excellence (based mainly on cumulative grade point average), community service, and a home address in one of 30 designated towns in the Greater Hartford area.
“I have always had a commitment to social issues and serving others,” says Onikuyide. “My time at UHart has helped me build on that.”
Onikuyide was an honors student, a College of Arts and Sciences Student Ambassador, and a student representative to the Board of Regents. He majored in both economics and politics and government in the College of Arts and Sciences. He minored in complexity, the interdisciplinary study of the behavior of multiple interactions.
These academic interests are perfectly matched to his desire to solve problems. As an Obama Foundation Community Leadership Fellow in 2019-20, he worked to address the needs of the homeless population in Hartford and helped design a drive to provide backpacks, socks, gloves, first aid kits, hats, haircuts, and job applications for the homeless. Onikuyide has also worked on political campaigns for the last four years, with the goal of making sure people are participating in the political process.
Onikuyide is also interested in international issues. In the classroom,he researched the Icelandic bankruptcy, the World Bank, and the history of oil in Nigeria, which he presented at the First Year Symposium. He applied that experience to presenting his work for attorneys during an internship through the Lawyers Collaborative for Diversity pipeline program (LCD) at the Hinckley Allen law firm in Hartford and for executives during his internship at The Hartford Insurance Group.
After graduation, Onikuyide plans to take the LSAT and attend law school. As for his long-term goals? He says, “I want make my family proud, make UHart proud, practice law in Connecticut, hopefully continue to live in West Hartford, and serve my community at the highest levels.”