Katherinne Bertrand Ortiz Wins Colgate 1819 Award

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Katherinne Bertrand Ortiz ’23, a psychological science major from Fairfax, Va., is the recipient of Colgate’s 1819 Award, the University’s highest student honor.

Ortiz was cited for her work to promote inclusion and a sense of belonging for students from all backgrounds. Ortiz, who came to Colgate as an Office of Undergraduate Studies (OUS) scholar, has served as president of the Latin American Student Organization (LASO) and the Latin American Dance group, and she is a member of the peer-selected Tredecim Honor Society. 

The 1819 Award is given each year to those whose character, scholarship, sportsmanship, and service to others best exemplify the spirit that is Colgate. Ortiz received the recognition Friday afternoon at the Awards Convocation for the Class of 2023 in the Colgate Memorial Chapel. 

Ortiz was lauded by her nominators for her work to create a more inclusive community at Colgate, as she was a driving force behind the creation of a new Latinx event for Family Weekend in 2022. One nominee wrote, “She succeeded in planning and hosting an event to bridge the gap between the Latinx/Hispanic student body — extending to their families — and the campus’ desire to bring more multicultural events as written in Colgate’s Third-Century Plan. She made families feel at home...” 

“Along with being a leader on campus, she is also a leader within her major. She takes initiative and tutors incoming students in psychology,” wrote one nominator, pointing to the study groups that Ortiz created for her fellow students to collaborate and discuss some of the more difficult material within their major. 

Ortiz has been awarded Phi Eta Sigma academic honors and Pi Delta Phi French Honor Society recognition. During her time on campus, she worked as a Link staff member for the Office of Residential Life, and she served as one of President Brian W. Casey’s presidential ambassadors during her senior year. 

Another community member who nominated Ortiz wrote, “It’s genuinely incredible to be in her presence, as she always has new ideas on how to help our community, and her presence alone is enough to lift the spirits of any room. Kathy does not do it for the glory or for the sake of her resume; she does it genuinely from the heart and strives to always be respectful.”