De La Salle Award Winner Leora Mosman: Change Agent For The Common Good

De La Salle Award winner politics major Leora Mosman '18 with Saint Mary's President James Donahue.Activist, ally and leader – all words describing this year’s winner of the De La Salle Award, politics major Leora Mosman. The top honor is given annually to the graduating senior with the highest record for scholarship and general excellence. 

In four years at Saint Mary’s, Mosman’s list of awards and achievements includes Student Leader of the Year, the MICAH Summer Fellowship, the Luminary Award and critical roles in several social justice campaigns including End the Silence. But her legacy achievement is the founding of Gael Pantry, a campus food bank that was years in the making. 

“Gael Pantry is something I cared a lot about and I’m just honored that I got to play a part in creating it,” she says. “It was in that process that I became comfortable with seeing myself as a leader and taking the initiative.”

Mission and Ministry Director Karin McClelland says she’s been blessed, firsthand, to witness Mosman’s energy and commitment. “She is deeply passionate about understanding and addressing issues about injustice and inequality.” 

Yet, Mosman entered Saint Mary’s as a self-described introvert. “I had this really, really narrow idea of who I was and who I was always going to be,” she remembers. She says she took that self-image and built a box around it, “meaning that I couldn’t take charge of things. I couldn’t be the face of things. I couldn’t speak out. It wasn’t in my personality.” 

She says her transformation began as she worked on Gael Pantry. “We had to push the school quite a bit to get Gael Pantry established and I realized I really enjoy being in that kind of position.” 

Politics Professor Patrizia Longo sees Mosman as an exceptional student and energetic organizer for social justice and human dignity. “She has managed, in her time at Saint Mary’s, an impressive array of activities while maintaining a 3.9 GPA, a testament to her intellectual capacity, commitment and organizational skills.”

Mosman says she’s grateful to have been chosen for an award named after Saint John Baptist de La Salle. “He was a person who didn’t let the system tell him how to live out his faith. He decided he was going to let his faith tell him how to work inside the system. I think I’ve strived to live in that way…where I let my values and the things that I’m deeply rooted in lead me.”

Mosman’s commitment to social justice continues after graduation. Later this summer she’ll head off to Washington, D.C. for an internship with the UN Refugee Agency through the Loretto Volunteer Program.