2018 Presidential Transformational Award
Wednesday, May 2, 2018
Zachary Kaiser is the recipient of the 2018 Presidential Transformational Award at Robert Morris University. The award is given annually to a graduating senior who has been transformed by his or her experience at RMU and has contributed to the transformation of the university in a meaningful way.
Kaiser is a communication major from the small river town of Yorkville in southeastern Ohio, and is the first person in his family to attend college. A frequent actor in his high school theatrical productions, Kaiser was initially drawn to RMU by the opportunity to perform with Colonial Theatre. He appeared in eight shows at RMU, including a lead role as Bernardo in West Side Story.
Kaiser also discovered new possibilities at RMU. He worked as a community advisor in the residence halls for three years, and also as an intern in the Office of Residence Life. He founded a chapter of the Phi Mu Delta fraternity on campus and was elected as its first chapter president, a process that he says taught him a lot not only about working hard, but also delegating important work to others on a team.
“I’ve been trusted with a lot in my life,” Kaiser says. “I got to entrust something to someone else and see how they could flourish in that area — or if they failed, it enabled me to come in and teach them something from that.”
Ultimately, Kaiser says his work in residence life led him to decide to pursue a career in university management. He has received a scholarship to the University of Pittsburgh’s graduate program in higher education management and is enrolled for the fall. Kaiser also will be working as an assistant resident director at Point Park University while he pursues his master’s degree.
“Zach’s story is exactly the kind that I love sharing with others,” said RMU President Chris Howard. “Not only did college change Zach, but Zach changed RMU. The students he works with in the future will be very lucky to have him as a mentor.”
Eight graduating seniors were nominated for the Presidential Transformational Award by faculty and staff. The recipient epitomizes the RMU experience through active and engaged learning, academic excellence, leadership, and community service.