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Last month, the DigiPen Student Union (DSU) announced the winners of the annual Student Life Excellence Awards, presented each year to a select group of students, staff, and faculty for their outstanding contributions to the DigiPen campus community.

Here are this year’s winners from each category, as well as a few anonymous comments from the fellow Dragon community members who nominated them.

DigiPen Student Li Baum

Student of the Year: Li Baum

“When I think of anything DigiPen does, there’s a great chance Li is somewhere behind the scenes helping. Great person with a great attitude.”

“From organizing the Global Game Jam to reworking the Associated Students of DigiPen into the DigiPen Student Union, as well as changing the system in which the union works — Li has made student life and organization significantly better.”

DigiPen Student Li Baum

“Works incredibly hard and has done a lot of good in his role as the DSU President.”

“He effortlessly brings teams together and has a proactive mindset to all that he encounters. Li is a positive influence on everyone he leads or collaborates with.”

Li is a recent 2024 graduate of the BS in Computer Science and Game Design program and outgoing DSU president.

DigiPen Faculty Joshua Savage

Faculty of the Year: Joshua Savage

“Incredibly helpful and fantastic professor, great to chat with, and a fantastic person to learn from.”

“Professor Joshua Savage is a beam of light who radiates warmth to all who he encounters. … He cares deeply about ethical decision making and research, which will have a positive impact on the next generation of graduates from DigiPen.”

DigiPen Faculty Joshua Savage

Joshua Savage is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Design.

DigiPen Staff Madelyn Youngs

Staff of the Year: Madelyn Youngs

“It’s only Maddy’s first year as an assistant director of DigiPen Housing, but she has made me feel more at ‘home’ than any other advisor I’ve met. … She cares so deeply for students’ wellbeing and prioritizes mental health before anything else. Maddy is a great role model, and I can’t wait to see what else she can accomplish.”

DigiPen Staff Madelyn Youngs

Madelyn Youngs is an Assistant Director of Residence Life.

DigiPen Career Club Members

Registered Student Organization of the Year: DigiPen Career Club

“Their participation rates have skyrocketed due to the incredible student leaders and their commitment to helping the students grow professionally. They proactively partake in campus events, build rapport with staff and faculty, and they lead by compassion.”

DigiPen Career Club Faculty

“The DigiPen Career Club quickly grew into a very large and successful organization within the past two years, dedicated to providing resources and support to students of all disciplines and grades in order to help them with various elements of career prep in the games industry. They host many helpful events and workshops that help students grow their skills and confidence.”

DigiPen Faculty Benjamin Ellinger

Gordon Dutrisac Lifetime Award: Benjamin Ellinger

“Ben has been an instructor at DigiPen for 20 years. He backs up his passion for game development with decades of professional experience. He is a genius-level game designer and an expert software engineer. He brings these skills to the level of the student and meets each student where they are at. He is incredibly giving of his time, energy, skills, and knowledge. If you are feeling down, tired, or burnt out, having one conversation with Ben will remind you why you are at DigiPen. When I think of faculty that embody the spirit of our school, I think of Ben.”

DigiPen Faculty Benjamin Ellinger

“His class structure with the projects and labs is incredibly well designed and allows students to actually learn what it’s like to design and create one of these systems from scratch.”

Benjamin Ellinger is the Vice President of Software Production, Program Director for the BS in Computer Science and Game Design, and a Professor in the Department of Design.