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Will Denton photo on left with text on right

The Mockingbird Award in honor of William Hadley Denton

The HPA Mockingbird Award is given in memory of William H. Denton, a health policy and administration student who passed away in January 2018. William loved being a student and saw education as a way to optimize a student’s potential to bring good into the world. He had a favorite quote from Harper Lee’s book, To Kill a Mockingbird, that said, “It’s a sin to kill a mockingbird” because they bring no harm to the world.

This award recognizes William’s “Mockingbird” qualities for protecting the vulnerable by fighting against injustice, and recognizes HPA students who have demonstrated a commitment to and passion for advocating for the welfare of others.

Eligibility icon-olus-circle

This award will be given to baccalaureate degree or integrated undergraduate/graduate student or students in the Department of Health Policy and Administration in the College of Health and Human Development.  To nominate a student for the award, please fill out the online form. Candidates must meet the following criteria:

  1. have at least a minimum of 89.1 credits by the spring semester of 2023, and
  2. have maintained at least a 3.00 grade point average.

Candidates must also demonstrate the following characteristics:

  1. He or she serves as a role model for the Penn State Community by engaging in activities that improve the welfare of others; or
  2. Has promoted the welfare of others by increasing awareness or enhancing the understanding of a social injustice.
Nominating Procedure icon-olus-circle

Deadline for Nominations:

Nominations for the award are due by February 23, 2024. To nominate a student for the Mockingbird Award, please fill out the submission form. The HPA Award Committe will receive the nominations for review and selection. Nominations may be made by faculty, staff, and alumni. The nomination shall consist of:

  1. Completed nomination form;
  2. One letter of reference from the nominating faculty member; and
  3. The student’s résumé.

Selection Committee
The recipients of this award shall be selected by the HPA Awards Committee.

The Award icon-olus-circle

The recipients may receive a monetary award, which will be presented during the HPA Student Showcase at the Stanley P. Mayers Endowed Lecture in the spring semester.

Past Recipients icon-olus-circle


  • Aarathi Kallur
  • Maha Vijayakrishnan
  • Jashe Vieluf


  • Taylor Plavchak
  • Kaylie Shojaie
  • Julie Waller


  • Jaspreet Ghuman
  • Joanna Suarez


  • Nick Corona
  • Edward Parliman (WC)


  • Hannah Ross


  • Alexandra Tiano
  • Vanna Lee