Public health graduate earns President’s Medal for Scholarship, college’s highest student honor

Public health graduate earns President’s Medal for Scholarship, college’s highest student honor
President's Medal for Scholarship winner Willie N. Verastegui with President Dr. Timothy E. Sams (photo provided by SUNY Old Westbury

Willie N. Verastegui, a recent graduate at SUNY Old Westbury and a resident of Massapequa Park, New York, has been selected for the highest student honor, the President’s Medal for Scholarship.

“This honor can only be earned through outstanding efforts throughout an academic career here at Old Westbury,” said President Timothy E. Sams. “Verastegui has shown the drive, determination and dedication to go far in life and succeed at his goals.”

Shijian Li, chair of the public health department, nominated Verastegui for the honor and commented that “his intellectual and scholarly trajectory and goals embody the SUNY Old Westbury mission.”

Verastegui completed his studies in December 2022 with a degree in health and society after having earned a 3.97 grade point average at Old Westbury. He is committed to supporting current and future underrepresented minority medical students, having served as the National Minority Association of Pre-Medical Students chapter leader of the Student National Medical Association. In pursuit of his own medical goals, he volunteered at the NYU Langone Health surgical ICU.

The father of two young children, Verastegui volunteers at a food pantry in the Bronx, and during his time there, created a class project on healthy food accessibility in low-income communities.

The Old Westbury President’s Medal was created in 1986 to honor outstanding academic achievement among its graduating students. To be eligible, a student must be a senior, have completed a minimum of 24 credits at Old Westbury and have earned a cumulative grade point average of 3.75 or greater.

SUNY Old Westbury is a selective public liberal arts college with more than 4,500 students studying in more than 40 undergraduate degree opportunities in its liberal arts and professional programs and 16 graduate programs in business, education liberal studies and mental health counseling. On the college’s 604-acre campus, students are challenged to take ownership of their futures through an environment that demands academic excellence, fosters intercultural understanding and endeavors to stimulate a passion for learning and a commitment to building a more just and sustainable world. For more information on SUNY Old Westbury, visit

No posts to display


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here