SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. - Edison resident Ian Galamay recently received the Servant Leader Award from Seton Hall University for going above and beyond the call for service.

Galamay was one of four students chosen from dozens of nominees for his service close to home and abroad in Haiti and El Salvador. Galamay was recognized at an evening reception surrounded by his family and friends.

 “The Servant Leader Awards signify the importance Seton Hall places on being people for others. Through our Mission, our Academics, and our Student Services, every facet of this Catholic Institution develops our students’ mind, heart, and spirit,” said Michelle Peterson, director of the Division of Volunteer Efforts (DOVE) and Servant Leader Award Committee chair. 

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“This award celebrates the diversity of our students’ responses to serve first and lead second,” continued Peterson. “The recipients we honored this year feed the homeless, protect vulnerable children, stand up for bullied peers, and increase literacy and self-esteem in urban areas. They inspire each of us with their passion and altruism.”

Ian Galamay is a junior in a dual degree program that leads to a B.S. degree in biology from the College of Arts and Sciences and a doctor of physical therapy degree from the School of Health and Medical Sciences.

He was nominated by Nova Vitug, Pastor of the Kenilworth Community United Methodist Church. Vitug nominated Galamay for the Servant Leader Award because of his philosophy on service and his focus on empathy.

After moving to a new town and school in middle school, Galamay struggled to fit in. He eventually found a tight-knit group of friends but has never forgotten the experience of trying to find the feeling of belonging.

“I feel like it is my duty to help other kids going through the same thing as I did. I realize it is my purpose to make someone’s day better every day,” explained Galamay.

Galamay has participated in three service-learning trips where he volunteered in orphanages for a 1-week period in Haiti and El Salvador. During his first trip to Haiti, Galamay bonded with a young gentleman his age. The Haitian native explained to Galamay that he dreamed of going to college one day and hoped he would have enough money to do so.

Galamay encouraged him to continue to pursue that dream and helped coach him through goal-setting to reach it. When Galamay returned to Haiti two years later, he reconnected with the young gentleman and found out he was accepted into a university program and would be attending later that month.

Members of the Servant Leader Award Committee, which is comprised of faculty and administrators from throughout the University community, reviewed dozens of nominations prior to inviting a select number of students, like Galamay, to partake in the final interview process.

“It is truly a privilege to witness our students’ faith and commitment to serving those who are in need and suffering,” remarked Omayra Arocho, member of the award committee and assistant dean of college engagement and community development in the College of Education and Human Services. “The award recipients have used their lived experiences and skills to inform their philosophy of service and sense of purpose. They lead by humble example, both at home and abroad, and inspire others to do the same.”