La Salle University freshman Brian Vazquez recently received the Comcast Corporation’s Gustave Amsterdam Leadership Award, which provides a $5,000 scholarship. It was presented to Vazquez by Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and Comcast Executive Vice President David L. Cohen during the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce’s annual Mayoral Luncheon. Only two students were selected for the award.
“It feels great to be recognized for your hard work,” Vazquez said. “And to be one of only two students selected from Philadelphia makes me feel really special.” The other recipient was Linda Croskey of Drexel University.
A psychology major, Vazquez said, “I chose to attend La Salle because it is well known for its psychology programs, and the classroom sizes are small. After I obtain my bachelor’s degree, I plan to get my master’s in clinical-counseling psychology at La Salle. My focus is to help children and adolescents with their obstacles, and along the way I would like to understand more about myself and why people act and think the way they do.”
He also said he came to La Salle because of its Academic Discovery Program, which provides free support services for students whose high school records indicate they could benefit from extra academic assistance and who meet financial need criteria. Vazquez currently has a GPA of 3.68.
Vazquez is a graduate of the International Christian High School of Philadelphia, where he was valedictorian, a member of the National Honor Society, student body president, and a two-time class president. In 2013, he received the Ronald McDonald House Charities Hispanic American Commitment to Educational Resources Scholarship.
His family moved to Philadelphia from Puerto Rico when Vazquez was seven. They live in Northeast Philadelphia.
Vazquez is the second La Salle student in the past two years to receive the Gustave Amsterdam Leadership Award. In 2012, Susan Casillo, a Speech-Language-Hearing Science major received the scholarship.
Comcast established the award in 2001 to honor Amsterdam, who was a Philadelphia business leader, community advocate, and founding board member of the Comcast Corporation. The award was created to provide financial support to two Philadelphia public high school graduates planning to attend a Philadelphia college or university. The honorees are chosen for demonstrating outstanding leadership among their peers through a commitment to community service and high academic achievement.
“Through the Gus Amsterdam Leadership Awards, we are also extremely excited to acknowledge the positive impact of students from Philadelphia, who represent the city’s potential and promise in the decades to come,” Cohen said.
La Salle University was established in 1863 through the legacy of St. John Baptist de La Salle and the Christian Brothers teaching order, which St. La Salle founded in 1680. La Salle is an educational community shaped by traditional Catholic and Lasallian values. The University is ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the top 30 schools in the North Region and among the top 10 Catholic schools in the region.