Edward S. Guleke Student Excellence Award

The Edward S. Guleke Student Excellence Award, established by the Friar Society in partnership with the Texas Exes in 1977, honors the memory of Edward S. Guleke, a dedicated University of Texas student and leader. 

Each year, the award recognizes an individual at the junior level of undergraduate studies or above who has distinguished academic credentials, has made significant a contribution to the university through campus-wide activities, and evidences the personal attributes of character and integrity that have earned the respect and admiration of his or her peers.

The nomination period for the 2021–22 Edward S. Guleke Student Excellence Award is now closed.

Edward Seewald Guleke, a native of Amarillo, was one of the most outstanding young men ever to attend The University of Texas. As a student, he was a member of the Government, Economics, and German honor societies. He also participated in intramural and intercollegiate athletics, and served as an Orientation Advisor and SCOOP member from 1970 to 1972. In addition to being active in the Texas Union and Student Government, Edward was pledge class president and a national representative for the Texas chapter of Delta Tau Delta Fraternity.

Many organizations recognized Edward’s unique contribution to The University. He was selected for membership in the Friar Society in 1971. In subsequent years, he received the Dad’s Day Association and the Cactus Outstanding Student Awards, as well as the Texas Cowboys’ Arno Nowotny Award. Edward’s superlative performance in academics, athletics, and leadership led to national recognition in both 1973 and 1974 when he was a finalist for the Rhodes Scholarship. After graduating Phi Beta Kappa from the University in 1973, Edward received an M.A. from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy in 1974. Until his death at age 24, he was an international economist with the U.S. Treasury Department.

However, tales of collegiate glory and awards don’t tell the whole story. Edward was also a mountain climber of considerable accomplishment. He had climbed mountains in Europe and South America, as well as the United States, and seemed to take an almost spiritual approach to the challenge of nature. His intellect grasped with relative ease the "what" of things, and went on to engage the more difficult issue of "why" with the same enthusiasm that marked his every endeavor. Perhaps more than any other attribute, Edward’s enthusiasm for life marked him as a special person.

When Edward died on an expedition to climb Mt. McKinley in July 1976, a number of his friends felt that the most fitting memorial would be an annual scholarship award recognizing the student whose enjoyment of life and pursuit of excellence mark him/her as an extraordinary person also. The Friar Society, Delta Tau Delta Fraternity, the Orientation office, and the Texas Exes requested contributions from their members and alumni. The response was enthusiastic and in less than four months enough money had been contributed to endow the scholarship.

The purpose of the award is to recognize the student whose excellence in academic, extracurricular, and personal achievement is in keeping with the memory of Edward S. Guleke. 

2022 Recipient

Aditi Merchant

Cockrell School of Engineering

Aditi Merchant is a junior in the Department of Biomedical Engineering in the Cockrell School of Engineering at UT Austin. She is the recipient of the Stamps Forty Acres Scholarship, supported by the Boyce Family. She is also a Distinguished College and Roden Scholar. While maintaining a 4.0 GPA, she has been involved in Texas Engineering World Health and served in multiple leadership positions across campus. She led the creation of a diagnostic app to diagnose leukemia from blood smear images and worked with engineering and design teams to create and launch CloudCare, an app that helps children suffering from chronic dermatological diseases log symptoms and medication usage to improve the efficacy of their treatment. As an intern at the Cleveland Clinic, Merchant developed a novel mask design intended for athletes that optimized breathability, filtration, and comfort. She participates in UT Student Engineers Educating Kids, is involved in the Society of Women Engineers, and has served as the outreach coordinator of a project aiming to increase STEM proficiency in the deaf student community. 
In April 2020, Merchant co-founded Big & Mini to reduce social isolation among older adults and provide mentorship to young adults by connecting them virtually. She has worked in three research labs and at Eli Lilly, where she earned the Outstanding Intern Award. She earned a grant for independent research in the Sakiyama-Elbert lab. She won 1st place for her microneedle COVID-19 vaccine patch at the Biomedical Engineering Case Competition and 2nd place at the Student Engineering Council Case Competition.

Past Recipients


Suseth Muñoz
BA ’22, BSALD ’22



Brandon Chukwunyelu Okeke
BSA ’20



Kelsey Mumford
BSA, BSN ’19, Life Member



Jonathan Kyle Monk
BS ’19, Life Member



Marilu Sanchez
BS ’17



Joseph Lingren
BS ’17



Jacob Spangler
BA ’14, BBA ’15, Life Member



Emily Hunter Smith
BA ’15



Katherine Layton
BS ’14, Life Member



Andrew Nash
BA ’12, Life Member



Darcy Kues
BA ’11



Natasha Immaraj
BA, BBA ’10, Life Member



Joseph Grasso
BS ’09, MA ’12, PhD ’14



Danielle Bartz
BA ’08, MPAFF ’15



Michelle Robinson
BA ’07



Tepera R. Holman
BA ’07, MED ’09, Life Member



Julie Wimmer
BA ’05



Slyman M. Majid
BA ’04, Life Member



Ty Wesley Cobb
BBA, BA ’03, JD ’06, Life Member



Keith Rainwater
BA ’02



Andrew Friedberg
BA, BBA ’02, Life Member



Aurora Lora
BA ’00, Life Member



Marianna Vishnevetsky
BA ’99



Paul Navratil
BS, BA ’99, MS ’06, PhD ’10, Life Member



Kimberly Jones
BA ’97



Marcus Escobedo
BA, BA ’97



Brian Siegal
BA ’95, JD ’98, Life Member



Lisa Epifani
BA ’94, Life Member



Howard Nirken
BA ’93, MPAFF, JD ’97, Life Member



Lara Johnson
BA ’82, Life Member



Jennie Germann
BA ’92, Life Member



Chris Bell
BA ’90, JD ’96



Monica Neumann
BA ’90, Life Member



Michael Cohen
BA ’88, Life Member



Paul Tobias
BA ’87, JD ’90, Life Member



Trent Thomas
BBA ’86, JD ’90, Life Member



Ann Gill
BA ’85, JD ’88, MPAFF ’88, Life Member



Denise Abend
BA ’84, Life Member



Julie Tindall
BA ’81, MBA ’83, Life Member



Phil Nenon
BA ’82, Life Member



Eric English
BA ’80, JD ’85, Life Member



Rob Walters
BA ’80, JD ’83, Life Member



Starr Braun



Terree Bowers
BA ’76, JD ’79, Life Member



William Parrish
BA ’75, JD ’78, Life Member