April 10, 2024

Cheyney University Student Rukayat Sulaiman Wins PASSHE’s 2024 Syed R. Ali-Zaidi AwardAward

Contact: Kevin Hensil, khensil@passhe.edu

Harrisburg, PA – Cheyney University student Rukayat Sulaiman is the 2024 winner of the Syed R. Ali-Zaidi Award for Academic Excellence from Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education (PASSHE). The Board of Governors will honor Sulaiman during its quarterly meeting tomorrow and present her with a $2,500 award. 

Ali-Zaidi Award winner, Rukayat Sulaiman on campus at Cheyney University

With a perfect 4.0 GPA at Cheyney University, Sulaiman is a double major in Social Relations with a Political Science concentration and Liberal Studies with a Business concentration.

Born in Nigeria, Sulaiman was 8 years old when her mother was injured in an accident that resulted in significant medical expenses for her family. After legal action to pursue financial damages was unsuccessful, her family moved to the United States when she was 12 years old. Sulaiman is motivated by her experience with injustice and intends to pursue a law degree after graduating from Cheyney University.

“PASSHE’s Ali-Zaidi award recognizes students who are excelling in the classroom and on their campus and making a difference in their community,” said Board of Governors Chair Cynthia Shapira. “Rukayat is the perfect example of the meaning behind this award. Her accomplishments at Cheyney are impressive, and all of us are excited to see her succeed in the future.”

Sulaiman is a founding member and current president of the Cheyney University Pre-Law Society. The members recently attended the Pitt Law Student of Color Visitation Day, where Sulaiman received the McGuireWoods-Kaplan LSAT Prep Scholarship. She is a Cheyney University Honors Academy member, vice president of the Cheyney chapter of the National Council of Negro Women, a White House HBCU Scholar and president of her sorority, Cheyney’s chapter of Delta Sigma Theta, Inc.

"Rukayat Sulaiman's remarkable achievements reflect Cheyney University's dedication to academic excellence,” said Cheyney University President Aaron Walton. “As our Ali-Zaidi Scholar, she exemplifies the transformative power of education. We are proud to have her as a standard bearer of our legacy and future.”

The Ali-Zaidi award is presented annually to a graduating senior at one of the 10 State System universities in recognition of their outstanding academic achievement and participation in extra- and co-curricular activities. The award was established in 2001 by Syed R. Ali-Zaidi, a founding member of the State System’s Board of Governors.

Presidents for each of the 10 State System universities annually recommend a candidate for the award.

Other finalists for this year’s Ali-Zaidi Award were Eliana Tate, Commonwealth University; Gianna DiLauro, East Stroudsburg University; Erika Jackson, Indiana University of Pennsylvania; Patrick Perrin, Kutztown University; Aaron Maynard, Millersville University; Chelsea Weimer, PennWest University; K’Nya Holmes, Shippensburg University; Kelli Galbraith, Slippery Rock University; and Corey Lane, West Chester University.