Students from The U recognized for extraordinary leadership

VERMILLION, S.D. -- More than two dozen students were honored for their extraordinary leadership at The University of South Dakota during the 18th annual Leadership Recognition Awards Reception Monday, April 14.

Sponsored by the Student Activities Center, this reception at the Commons Dining Hall in the North Complex on the USD campus recognized students who were selected for distinction by their peers, faculty and staff. Eric Jepsen, Ph.D., assistant professor of political science at USD, provided the keynote address for the event. All students, undergraduate or graduate, were eligible for nomination, which included 25 recipients in 10 categories and two scholarships.

Alyssa Floyd of Sioux Falls, S.D., was a double recipient at the reception. Floyd received the Rosa Louise Parks Distinguished Service Award, an award that recognizes a student that contributes to intercultural awareness and relationship building at the University. She was also awarded the Julie Anderson Memorial Scholarship, which was created at USD to encourage students to grow and develop in their college careers through campus leadership and classroom activities. The Julie Anderson Scholarship Endowment was established to honor the memory of Julie Mickelson Anderson, a 1965 USD graduate.

Chelsey Brown of Rapid City, S.D., received the New Student Leader Award, which is presented to a first-year student who has become involved in campus or community activities and Jason VonEschen of Wagner, S.D., was awarded the Service-Learning Advocate Award, which is given to a student who has exemplified leadership in the doctrine of service-learning. Tara Mathison of Sioux Falls, S.D., received the Community Spirit Award, which is awarded to a student who demonstrates a compassion for others through community service on a local, national or global level. The Unsung Leader Award was presented to Rachel Linneman of Bruce, S.D., Cindy Kranz of Kranzburg, S.D., and Dan Sanow of Yankton, S.D., for their participation in campus or community organizations without receiving or seeking recognition; while the Outstanding Leadership and Service Award was presented to Jeff Beckmann of Center, S.D.,  Madison Oslund of Rapid City, S.D., and Mikala Semerad of Rapid City, S.D., for demonstrating outstanding leadership and service by participating in one or more leadership positions, and by making a significant contribution to campus or community life. Leanne Dorish of Salmon Arm, British Columbia, was honored with the Graduate Student Leadership Award for demonstrating outstanding leadership and enrichment of campus life at The U. Chris Barondeau of Selby, S.D., was this year’s recipient of the Dave Lorenz Senior Leadership Award. This award, named in honor of Dave Lorenz, a former Dean of Students at The U, is presented annually to a graduating senior who has enriched campus. Sarah Wittmuss of Vermillion, S.D., was presented with the Outstanding Advisor Award, given annually to an advisor of a student organization who has excelled in all duties. Wittmuss is director of the Center for Academic Engagement at USD.

Carrie Brooks of Yankton, S.D., and Mikayla Semerad, Rapid City, S.D., were each awarded the Thomas W. Taylor Memorial Scholarship. Established in 1985 in honor of Thomas Taylor, an active member of the USD Foundation’s Board of Directors, this scholarship is presented annually to students with outstanding leadership characteristics.

Seventeen students also received Who’s Who Among Students recognition, a national program that honors scholastic achievement: Chris Barondeau of Selby, Amanda Weber of Mitchell, S.D., Ben Struyk of Omaha, Neb., Claire Finn of Webster, S.D.,  Deja Shields of Rapid City, S.D., Dirk Waite of Warner, S.D., Garett Howardson of Clark, S.D., Hillary Paul of Seabeck, Wash., Jackie Hoerner of Bowdle, S.D., Keenan Thomas of Rapid City, S.D., Madison Oslund of Rapid City, S.D., Matthew Arnett of Sioux Falls, S.D., Mike Maloney of Black Hawk, S.D., Mollyanne Oakes Muilenburg of Sioux Falls, S.D., Nicholas Rebnord of Sioux Falls, S.D., Stephanie Thompson of Beresford, S.D.,and Thomas Cota of Sioux Falls, S.D.

Board of Regents Leadership awards were bestowed upon three student organizations. Pi Beta Phi received the Community Service Award, an honor that recognizes student organizations for community service external to the campus while the Advocacy Coordinating Team received the Organizational Leadership Award for outstanding activities that provide effective student or community leadership. TheU’s Political Science League garnered the Academic Excellence Award for outstanding contributions to the academic environment at the University.

For more information about the Leadership Recognition Awards at USD and the nomination process, please visit their Web site at http://www.usd.edu/sac/leadershipawards.cfm.