2021 Byrd and Ross Medallion Award Winners Announced

Medallion awards are one of the highest honors Rowan University bestows upon students at graduation. In entrepreneurship two such medallions are offered, one in honor of Professor Kimble Byrd and the other in honor of Dr. Linda Ross, both emeritus entrepreneurship faculty whose leadership and vision brought entrepreneurship as an academic discipline to Rowan. Professor Byrd and Dr. Ross served at Rowan University for more than 40 years, and their legacy continues to inspire students, faculty, and the Rowan community.

The Ross Medallion Award is bestowed upon the student who is most engaged in and supportive of Rowan’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. Awardees do more than just show up to events or participate in programs; they are entrepreneurial leaders who give back more to Rowan’s entrepreneurial ecosystem than they ever hope to receive. The 2021 winner of the Ross Medallion Award is Brandon Graham.

Dr. Eric Liguori, Rohrer Chair of Entrepreneurship and Executive Director of the Rowan Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, notes:

“Brandon’s leadership and impact in growing and cultivating Rowan’s entrepreneurial ecosystem epitomizes what the Ross Medallion Award is all about. Not only has he helped create infrastructure essential to supporting our ecosystem and actively coached and mentored others, he did so while excelling academically, launching a company, and raising capital. Our campus community is forever better for having Brandon as a part of it.”

The Byrd Medallion Award was established through the generosity of Rowan alum Greg Payton who noted:

Professor Byrd inspired me to think bigger and work harder. He emphasized the importance of service above self, academic achievement, perseverance, and an entrepreneurial mindset.

Recipients of the Byrd Medallion Award embody the very traits that Professor Byrd worked tirelessly to instill in his students. This year two students will be receiving the Byrd Medallion Award — Ali Tahir, a med student in Rowan’s School of Osteopathic Medicine, and Tanvi Koduru, an entrepreneurship major in Rowan’s Rohrer College of Business.

Ali Tahir co-founded and led Project Nest, a case competition for entrepreneurial ideas to improve the health and wellness of Rowan students, patients, and the greater Camden County Community. The competition was sponsored by the RCIE, Rowan SOM, and Montgomery McCracken Walker and Rhoads LLP. Liguori notes:

For two years Ali has been a tireless advocate working to build bridges between Rowan’s medical schools and MBA program, doing so in a way that was also open and inclusive to our undergraduate students. He’s an impressive clinician with a mind for business who aims to use his skills to improve the health and wellness of those in his community. People like this are the ones who change the world for the better.

Tanvi Koduru has been an engaged leader in Rowan’s entrepreneurship community for the last few years. In 2020 she served as President of Rowan’s chapter of the Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization, where under her leadership and despite a global pandemic, the club persevered forward. In 2019 Koduru was one of two students to travel to Cairo, Egypt to represent Rowan at the International Council for Small Business’ World Congress and Student Entrepreneurship Academy. Most recently, Koduru launched her own small business, 3D Confectionery, which today is revenue positive. Dr. Lee Zane, Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship and Faculty Advisor to the CEO Club, notes:

Tanvi is one of those people that students and teachers like to be around. She works hard, cares about and encourages others, is an excellent team player, pushes herself to excel, and does it all with a smile on her face.

This year’s awardees exemplify the interdisciplinary and diverse entrepreneurial ecosystem thriving across Rowan’s campuses. Tahir was not only the first student from Rowan SOM to earn the Byrd Medallion, he was also the first non-entrepreneurship major to do so. Similarly, Graham was the first MBA student to earn the Ross Medallion. At every level, on every Rowan campus, Rowan’s entrepreneurial community continues to grow and thrive. For more information on Rowan’s Entrepreneurship programs please visit our website.

We cover the entrepreneurial pulse of Rowan University, including its students, faculty, startups, and programs.

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