The winners of the Tomato Can Loving Award pose with the Assistant Dean of the undergraduate program.

Mishra, Okonkwo Named Tomato Can Loving Cup Recipients

Monday, May 16, 2022

For the first time in history, two students were selected as recipients of the Tomato Can Loving Cup Award, the most prestigious award the Carlson School of Management can bestow on an undergraduate student. 

Parthsarthi Mishra and Chike Okonkwo were named the 2022 winners of the award as part of the undergraduate commencement ceremonies on May 16.

Mishra was honored for the lasting mark he left on the Carlson School through his “enthusiasm and passion for the school, its students, staff, and faculty that is evident in his many contributions to our community.”

During his time at the Carlson School, Mishra served as a student ambassador and worked in the Undergraduate Program and Undergraduate Business Career Center’s office, helping answer students’ questions, as well as providing academic advising and career services support.

He also was a part of the Business Board’s Mental Health Subcommittee, where he initiated not only a conversation on mental health but also tangible change, creating curricular initiatives and an open space for dialogue through its programming and collaboration.

Mishra graduated with a major in Finance and minors in Accounting and Strategic Management.

“I couldn’t believe it when my name was called,” Mishra says. “To think of all of the exceptional Carlson School students, and then to win this award, is surreal.”

For his “activism, leadership, and service” as well as his work to “empower and mentor the next generation of under-represented leaders at the University and at the Carlson School,” Okonkwo was also honored with the award.

While at the school, Okonkwo mentored high school students from under-represented backgrounds through the school’s Emerging Leaders of Color program, and younger students through outreach visits and the Big Brother/Big Sisters program. He also worked as a student ambassador and served on the Dean’s Advisory workgroup on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

For his work, Okonkwo was named one of the “2022 Best and Brightest Business Majors” by Poets&Quants. He graduated with a major in Marketing and minor in Finance.

Close friends who are both involved in many of the same organizations, both Mishra and Okonkwo were honored to receive the award together.

“With all the work that we’ve done together, Parth feels like my moon to my sun,” Okonkwo said about sharing the award with Mishra. “We’ve always worked together and I honestly couldn’t be happier that we won it together.”

By winning the award, Mishra and Okonkwo are eligible for a half-tuition scholarship to the Carlson School Full-Time MBA program following two years of professional work experience.

The award was presented Monday for the 94th time, which per the engraving on its side, is “presented annually to that person who in the course of the year has rendered the most distinctive service to the school.”

The oldest award given to students by the Carlson School, its history dates to 1929 when students asked Dean Russell Stevenson to present an outstanding service award to a senior. Henry Hilton, ’29 BSB, volunteered to make the trophy that would be presented to the winner. As a joke, he fashioned a trophy from a tomato soup can nailed to a wooden candlestick that belonged to his mother. To Hilton’s surprise, Stevenson presented him with his own creation, which became known as the Tomato Can Loving Cup Award. The increasingly rickety soup can is given each year.