Karthik Lalwani, a standout for his academic achievements and campus leadership, received the University’s top honor for the Class of 2024.

Recognized leader: Meet the Mace Award recipient

May 13, 2024

Student Experience

The Mace Award is considered the University of Richmond’s highest honor. Each year at Commencement, the student who receives the award leads the senior class into the Robins Center. This year the award went to scholar and campus leader Karthik Lalwani, a double major in chemistry and Latin American, Latino & Iberian studies, who graduated summa cum laude.

“When I learned I won the award, I was in disbelief. I was deeply humbled, knowing that the class of 2024 is filled with such phenomenal future leaders, scholars, and changemakers,” Lalwani said. “Carrying the ceremonial mace will be a moment I will cherish forever.”

He began his journey at UR as a Richmond Scholar, one of 25 first-year students to receive a full academic merit scholarship to attend the University. He also was named an Oliver Hill Scholar, which recognizes accomplished students interested in building a community of learners in a diverse environment.

He served as a class senator for three years, vice-president of academic affairs for the Richmond Student Government Association, and a member of the President’s Student Advisory Board. He received the Thomas Branch McAdams Prize, awarded to one junior, and was one of five seniors named for the Richmond College Medal. Other credits include Phi Beta Kappa and the Dean’s List.

As an EMT, he worked on-call for 24-hour shifts for the campus and surrounding area. His knowledge of Spanish enabled him to communicate with patients as a clinical volunteer with the Health Brigade. He mentored younger students as an orientation advisor. He was a member of peer advisors and mentors and acted as a resident advisor.

“A simple review of Karthik’s accomplishments, activities, and awards from the past four years, and it is obvious that he has taken full advantage of his time at the University of Richmond,” said his research mentor, chemistry professor Mike Leopold.  “What stands out about Karthik is that he has spent his time either serving others in need or in pursuit of very challenging objectives. He is not a person that looks for the easy path.”

He conducted research with Leopold as well as chemistry professor Ryan Coppage, contributing to four papers, and studied Latin American medical systems while abroad in Chile.

Lalwani is heading to Johns Hopkins University Medical School this fall. 

“I will miss the unique campus life that UR offers,” he said. “The opportunity to learn from passionate professors and engage in thought-provoking discussions to broaden my worldview has been integral in developing me as a young adult.”

Lalwani  said he cherishes his friendships with classmates, professors, and staff members. 

“Their support, guidance, and camaraderie have been a constant source of inspiration, which I know will not be easy to find again elsewhere.”