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From Kosovo to RMU: Class of 2012 President Wins University’s Highest Honor

Monday, April 23, 2012

Pittsburgh – Besart Stavileci grew up in war-torn Kosovo, attending a school that was often without heat or electricity, all the while clinging to his vision of the American dream.

Stavileci pursued that dream at Robert Morris University, where graduated May 5 as the president of the Class of 2012 and the winner of the university’s Presidential Transformational Award. It is RMU’s highest undergraduate honor, given annually to a graduating student who has been transformed by his or her experience at RMU and has also contributed to the transformation of the university in a meaningful way.

The recipient epitomizes the RMU experience through active and engaged learning, academic excellence, leadership and community service.

“It is truly an honor to receive such an award, but I am most proud not of myself, but of those that have offered me these opportunities, and have guided me through making the most of them,” said Stavileci.

Stavileci majored in actuarial science, one of RMU’s most demanding and selective degree programs and one of only 14 Centers of Actuarial Excellence in the United States, as designated by the Society of Actuaries. He holds a 3.92 GPA and is the recipient of the Actuarial Science Outstanding Senior Award.

“Not only am I leaving RMU with a top-notch education in my field, but also with great memories, amazing friends, a remarkable network and an incredible set of mentors. If I have been successful during my time here, it is because of the opportunities that RMU offers, as well as faculty and staff's relentless enthusiasm,” said Stavileci.

Stavileci has been president of Carpe Mundum, the university's organization for international students, and he has volunteered with the International Red Cross and participated in an alternative spring break trip to Washington, D.C., to work with the homeless.  He has been a resident assistant, a mathematics tutor, a member of the Senior Class Gift Committee and a staff writer for the Sentry, RMU’s student newspaper. He completed an internship at CIGNA Insurance in Philadelphia and Illyria Insurance in his native Kosovo. Stavileci is fluent in English, Albanian, and Italian.

“Besart is a leader who sets an example not only for students but also for faculty and staff who have been inspired by his extraordinary background and his achievements at Robert Morris,” said RMU President Gregory G. Dell’Omo. “Besart represents the university that RMU has aspired to become, and thanks to students like him, we have achieved it.”

As class president, Stavileci spoke at RMU's recent commencement ceremony.

Robert Morris University, founded in 1921, is a private, four-year institution with an enrollment of approximately 5,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The university offers 60 undergraduate and 20 graduate programs. An estimated 22,000 alumni live and work in western Pennsylvania.