University News

Lutz Named WIU's Lincoln Laureate

October 1, 2021

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MACOMB, IL – Western Illinois University senior communication, sociology and anthropology triple major Elizabeth N. Lutz, of California, MO, a member of the Leatherneck women's basketball team, has been has been named Western Illinois University's recipient of the 2021-22 Lincoln Academy of Illinois' Student Laureate Award.

The prestigious award, presented annually to an outstanding senior of each of Illinois' four-year degree-granting institutions, honors a student's overall academic excellence and participation in extracurricular activities.

"I am incredibly honored and humbled to receive the Lincoln Laureate selection," said Lutz. "I am deeply grateful to my professors and mentors who nominated me and believe in my future. I hope to spend my career as a civil servant. I believe Lincoln's Leadership legacy will guide my civic-minded life of service and commitment to a greater good through honesty, integrity and worth ethic."

While at Western, Lutz is a member of the Centennial Honors College and is also minoring in economics. She will graduate in May 2022, and plans to pursue a master's degree in Quantitative Economics at Western, while finishing her fifth year of NCAA eligibility on the women's basketball team. She also hopes to play international basketball while studying for the LSAT exam, and then attend law school with an emphasis in environmental and energy law.

Lutz has participated in three volunteer opportunities through the United Nations, worked for a domestic nonprofit that prioritizes housing as a human right and written for an international nonprofit which aids Nepal, El Salvador and Guatemala. She has also worked for USAID and is currently working with the U.S. Department of Energy.

As an experienced scholarly writer, Lutz is awaiting the publication of her first research paper, "Coach Like a Girl: Collegiate Athletes' Views of Females of Head Coaches," which discussed hegemonic and toxic masculinity in sport culture.

Lutz was part of the WIU women's basketball team, which had the highest overall team GPA in all of NCAA women's basketball for the 2018-2019 season. She has also worked as chief of staff to WIU's student body president in 2020, and graduated from the Peace Corps preparation program on campus. She was recognized with a Quality of Life Committee Certification of Recognition for her work during the COVID-19 pandemic, and has been chosen as the Thompson Scholar Undergraduate Student Award Winner the last two years.

"This is a great honor for Ms. Lutz and for Western," said WIU Associate Provost and Assistant Vice President Mark Mossman. "Each year student laureates are honored for their leadership and their service. Ms. Lutz has clearly demonstrated these characteristics and is very deserving of this honor."

Lutz will receive a certificate signed by Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, a challenge coin and a $500 stipend. Because of COVID-19, she will also be emailed a link to watch a Zoom program with a statement from Gov. Pritzker and messages from some past Lincoln Laureates.

For more information about the Lincoln Laureate program, visit

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