Dante Toth, a senior at Penn State Hazleton majoring in administration of justice, was honored as one of the five recipients of the 2015 John W. Oswald Award during a ceremony on March 22 at Eisenhower Auditorium on the University Park campus. He received the award in the category of social sciences, religious activities and student government.
The John W. Oswald Award, established in 1983, annually recognizes graduating seniors who have provided outstanding leadership in at least one of several areas of activity at the University. The award consists of a medallion honoring John W. Oswald, president of the University from 1970 to 1983.
Toth served three years as a Lion Ambassador, including a term as president during his junior year. He is president of the Student Government Association (SGA) at Penn State Hazleton.
As president of Lion Ambassadors, he encouraged the group to share Penn State pride with the community and other students, reaching out to Greater Hazleton with events such as an Alzheimer's awareness basketball game and an art drive for Geisinger Janet Weis Children's Hospital.
As SGA president, he focuses on ensuring students have an excellent Penn State experience. "I want them to know that we are all Penn State, no matter what campus you go to," he said.
He organized "pink-out" soccer games to encourage breast cancer awareness and worked to increase student leadership benefits.
"We take all students' opinions and voices and make them heard to (campus Chancellor) Dr. Lawler and the Faculty Senate," he said.
Tracy Garnick, director of student services and engagement, said, "Dante is a dedicated student leader with great promise. His dedication to making a difference in the lives of students here at Hazleton is to be commended. What impresses me most about Dante is his willingness to take a on a challenge, no matter how difficult, and be determined to succeed. This year, Dante has transformed the SGA. Through his leadership, the SGA is more organized, attendance at meetings has increased, more business is being conducted and the campus community has noticed a more viable organization."
Toth's other honors include being selected as Lion Ambassador of the Year and Lion Ambassador Freshman of the Year. He was named to the Conference USA Men's Soccer All-Academic Team and earned National All-Academic honors from the United States Collegiate Athletic Association in 2014. Toth, of Las Vegas, Nevada, will be the first to earn an administration of justice degree from Penn State Hazleton when he graduates in May. He is applying to become an officer in the United States Air Force.
Toth was the only non-University Park student to receive an Oswald award. During the awards ceremony, the four other recipients were honored in the fields of athletics; journalism, speech and mass media; scholarship; and creative and performing arts.