To describe Hugo Aparicio’s college career as accomplished
is an understatement for the Phi Beta Kappa scholar, year-round
athlete and devoted volunteer. Aparicio’s achievements earned
him Emory’s highest student honor, the Marion Luther Brittain
The award is an expression of gratitude on behalf of the University
for service performed without expectation of reward or recognition.
It was established in 1942 through a bequest from Brittain, an Emory
alumnus and former president of Georgia Tech. Aparicio, a native
of Bolivia who grew up in Lexington, Ky., double-majored in Spanish
and biology. A Robert Woodruff Scholar, he plans to attend medical
school in the fall, possibly concentrating in pediatrics.
“I was really surprised to receive the award, knowing that
there are so many great students here,” Aparicio said. “As
a Woodruff Scholar, I felt a nice sense of obligation to give back
as much as possible to Emory and to appreciate all of the opportunities
I’ve had. Not everyone gets a chance be involved in so many
different things or has the opportunity to soak up the vast amount
of knowledge available here.”
Aparicio’s nominator aptly described him as a “Renaissance
man,” said Martin Howell, who headed the award committee and
is assistant to the senior vice president for Campus Life.
“Hugo had a variety of activities,” Howell said. “He
was an athlete and did a lot of service in Atlanta, as well as internationally.
What really stood out about Hugo was his modesty. He is somebody
who would not want to see himself in the spotlight.”
Aparicio ran varsity track and cross-country year-round, captained
an intramural soccer team and performed in Emory’s Rathskellar
improv comedy troupe while also earning membership in Phi Eta Sigma
and Phi Beta Kappa honor societies, making the dean’s list
four out of his seven semesters.
As a volunteer, he tutored in the Emory Writing Center and in the
Emory Pathways to Academic Success for Students program. He also
served as a mentor in the Hughes Science Scholar Summer Institute.
In the community, he completed a summer as coordinator for the Ready,
Set, Read! literacy program at Grady Hospital’s North DeKalb
Health Center. For the past three years, he has served as a Big
Brother mentor with Big Brothers of Atlanta, an activity he called
one of his favorite experiences.
“My little brother is 12, and hopefully I’ve made a
difference and shown him a little of what opportunities are out
there for him,” Aparicio said. “Spending time with him
never feels like volunteer work.”
He participated in two Journeys of Reconciliation—to Ireland
in 2001 and Bolivia in 2002—as part of the ecumenical program
that Emory students the opportunity to cultivate relationships of
partnership, service and friendship with impoverished communities
around the world. He also participated in a research trip to Ecuador.
Aparicio served as the scholarship chairman for Alpha Tau Omega
fraternity and philanthropy chairman of the Latino Student Organization.
He received a 2004 Excellence Award from the Office of Multicultural
Programs and Services for his studies in Spanish.