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UST Leaders Recognized at Banquet

Photo: Ms. Patricia McKinley and Brittany GarzaEducating leaders of faith and character is not only a goal of University of St. Thomas students, faculty and staff – it is a way of life. The 2013 Leadership Banquet celebrated student leaders who live this mission and their achievements. Nominees were selected and the winners were announced on April 28 to a room of about 175 attendees.

University of St. President Dr. Robert Ivany and several UST faculty and staff commended the student leaders.

Matt Prasifka, assistant vice president of Campus Life, said he and the University are very proud of leaders on this campus.

“The banquet is a great way to honor those individuals and organizations that have been active throughout the year,” he said. “It was very difficult to choose the winners of the individual awards and the Club/Organization of the Year.  There were multiple quality candidates to choose from in all categories.”

The winners were:

Photo: Dr. Ivany and Monica LitlePresidential Leadership Award – Monica Litle

Monica Litle, senior pre-law and political science major with a history and international studies minor, received the Presidential Leadership Award. Litle is a standout defensive specialist on the women’s volleyball team and 2013 National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics National Tournament Champions of Character Award winner. This prestigious award is given to an undergraduate junior or senior who has made significant leadership contributions to the University. She is also currently the president of Pi Sigma Alpha and a member of the Phi Alpha Theta and Aquinas Honor Society.  Recently, she competed with the UST Mock Trial Team in the Opening Round Championship Series in Memphis, Tenn.

Marsha A. Wooldridge Citizenship Award – Brittany Garza

Brittany Garza, senior math major and pre-physician’s assistant, received the Marsha A. Wooldridge Citizenship Award. The award is given to a student who has distinguished him or herself in character, leadership and scholarship, demonstrated a strong commitment to UST through positive contributions to the entire community, and is successful in his or her academic area of study and co-curricular efforts. As 2013 Commencement Student Speaker and co-founder of the Society of Macrina, Garza exemplifies the aim of this award – for a student who is sensitive to the value of diversity within the UST community, and is self-confident, skillful, creative and compassionate.

Spirituality Commitment Award – Jonathan Cruz

Jonathan Cruz, junior biology student and Grand Knight for the UST Knights of Columbus Chapter, received the Spirituality Commitment Award. Amid his many duties with the Knights, he also participates in events with Celts for Life and leads a Bible study for the Fellowship of Catholic University Students.

Emerging Leader Award – Amanda Bohl

Amanda Bohl, sophomore Residence Life Coordinator who is a double major studying psychology and theology, received the Emerging Leader Award, which is given to a student who through education and insight, has developed a strong base to become a vibrant student leader at UST.

Outstanding Non-Traditional Student of the Year Award – Kenneth Depew

Kenneth Depew, senior political science major, is a Student Government Association senior senator, chairman for the UST College Republicans Club and a United States Army sergeant and veteran.

Dr. Janice Gordon-Kelter Outstanding Woman of the Year Award – Chloe Jester

Chloe Jester, a senior an international development major and economics minor, is the president of the UST Best Buddies Chapter, co-founder of the Society of Macrina and 2013 Mardi Grad queen. This award is named after the late Dean of the Master in Liberal Arts Program, Dr. Janice Gordon-Kelter, in recognition of her tireless efforts for improving the experience of women at UST. It is given to an undergraduate or graduate female student whose leadership has had a positive impact on the overall experience of women on campus.

Advisor of the Year – The Rev. Dempsey Rosales-Acosta, professor in theology, with the Interfaith Club

Creativity Award – Office of Counseling & Disability Services and Society of Macrina’s “Be Comfortable in Your Genes” campaign

This award recognizes the sponsoring club/organization or organizers of an inaugural or second year event that has created a new tradition on campus. In honor of National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, Counseling and Disabilities Services partnered with the Society of Macrina to promote a campaign that celebrates the beauty and uniqueness of one’s body with the campaign, “Be Comfortable in Your Genes.”

Co-Programming Award – Pi Sigma Alpha, College Democrats, College Republicans and International Studies Society for Voter and Election Awareness

This award was presented to the groups who worked closely together to create a positive program for the St. Thomas community. The groups worked together to promote a well-organized voting atmosphere for students.

Student Enrichment Event AwardMendenhall Achievement Center’s “Invest in Success” workshops

This award recognized the sponsoring club/organization of an event or collaborative effort that has enhanced the educational mission of UST through significant contributions to student learning and campus morale. The “Invest in Success” workshop series was comprised of several topics such as note taking, learning styles, college majors, time management, testing and anxiety, and stress management.

Community Service Event Award – Best Buddies for multiple events throughout the year

This was awarded to the sponsoring club/organization of an event that has enhanced the educational mission of St. Thomas through significant contributions to community service and service learning. The UST Chapter of Best Buddies Texas is a part of an international non-profit organization whose mission is to enhance the lives of people with intellectual disabilities by providing socialization and employment opportunities. The latest Best Buddies event to culminate a year of service is the Best Buddies Friendship Walk from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on May 4 at Terry Hershey Park.

Outstanding Club/Organization of the Year – Celts for Life

This award was based upon the club/organization’s work on collaboration, organization, integration and inclusiveness both within their own group and throughout all campus activities. Celts for Life made significant contributions to the St. Thomas community through its active efforts and outstanding accomplishments. One of the many Celts for Life activities, with the help of the Knights of Columbus and other student volunteers, was creating a memorial exhibition of more than 3,000 crosses that symbolize the number of abortions performed in the United States each day. The Cemetery of the Innocents was front of the Chapel of St. Basil. The group also traveled to both Austin and Washington D.C. to participate in March for Life rallies.

Photo One: Patricia McKinley, vice president for Student Affairs, and Brittany Garza
Photo Two: University President Dr. Robert Ivany and Monica Litle

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