Columbia College Chicago Presents First “Mayor’s Award For Civic Engagement”


Annual Honor for Graduating Senior Established by Board Chair Allen M. Turner

CHICAGO (May 3, 2012) – Graduating senior Ariel Aguilera of Blue Island, Ill., has been awarded the first “Mayor’s Award for Civic Engagement” at Columbia College Chicago. The newly established award honors a senior student who has embodied Columbia College’s mission to serve an important civic purpose through active engagement in the life and culture of the City of Chicago.

The award, which includes a $500 cash gift, was created by a donation from Columbia College Board of Trustees Chair Allen M. Turner.

“We are fortunate to have an incredibly active and engaged student body, and this award is one way we can honor outstanding students who bring our mission to life and encourage other students to do the same,” said Turner, who made the presentation to Aguilera with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel at City Hall on April 27.

Turner added that Aguilera is the ideal recipient because she reaches beyond the campus and uses her talents to make meaningful, positive contributions to the welfare, culture and vibrancy of the city of Chicago and its people. Aguilera has been an active member in her community as a volunteer at local after-school science programs, rehabilitation centers, food banks, community shelters, and various film and music festivals, as well as a volunteer for the National Association for Chicano Studies Conference.

A marketing communications major with a concentration in public relations, Aguilera was awarded the Emerging Leader Award from the Illinois Latino Council on Higher Education earlier this year. She hopes to one day work with an agency or a non-profit organization specializing in Hispanic affairs.

Aguilera is a 2009 graduate of Dwight D. Eisenhower High School in Blue Island, Ill. At Columbia College, Aguilera has been president of Students Helping Humanity, the finance director of the Student Organization Council and served as a member of both the Latino Alliance and the First Year Advisory Board.

Columbia College Chicago is an urban institution that offers innovative degree programs in the visual, performing, media and communication arts to nearly 12,000 students in over 120 undergraduate and graduate programs. An arts and media college committed to a rigorous liberal arts curriculum, Columbia is dedicated to opportunity and excellence in higher education. For further information, visit