McKendree honors outstanding leaders and organizations

News-DemocratApril 24, 2013 

McKendree University recognized some of its finest leaders and organizations at its inaugural Leadership and Service Awards Banquet on Sunday.

"With a focus of creating change agents and strong, compassionate leadership in the world, McKendree's Leadership Minor is exceptional," Sarah Klucker, Director of Leadership and Student Development at the university said. "This banquet represented just a small portion of what our University has to offer in terms of leadership development and achievement."

The winners, chosen from more than 150 submissions were:

* Outstanding Registered Student Organization: Alpha Phi Omega, a service-based co-ed organization, which sponsors blood drives, service projects and recruitment events throughout the year.

* Outstanding Service Project: The Emerging Leaders Organization's second annual Chili Cook-off raised over $800 for the Wounded Warrior Project.

* Student Hall of Fame: Jackie Bassler, a senior occupational therapy major from Belleville, was involved with the leadership program, a student ambassador, and president of Kappa Sigma Tau sorority during a transformative year. Edward "Bobby" Howell, a senior history education major from Makanda, has spent countless hours tutoring other students, co-coordinated Into the Streets, served as History Club president and a member of the Community Action Team and the history honor society.

* Bearcat Pride: C.J. Clarizio, a junior athletic training major from Pawnee, is a well-known on campus for his enthusiastic school spirit and support of athletic programs, student events and admission recruitment.

* ACES Award, sponsored by the Center for Public Service: Senior psychology majors Courtney Motl, of Glen Carbon, and Natalie Ernst, of Peoria, volunteered 400-plus service hours, coordinated special events and demonstrated social activism.

* Country and Community Award: Technical Sergeant Rondale Chapman, a sophomore computer science major from Belleville, has served 11 years in the Air Force. A student at McKendree's Center for Scott Air Force Base, he is described as a leader who is active in the community, an asset in the classroom, and helpful to his classmates.

* Advisors of the Year: Sarah Klucker, director of leadership and student development, co-advises the student government, Kappa Sigma Tau, and oversees the Emerging Leaders group. Craig Robertson, director of campus activities, guides the student-run Campus Activities Board.

* Outstanding Collaborative Program: The "McKendree Idol" talent competition hosted by Kappa Lambda Iota and the Campus Activities Board.

* Outstanding Student Intern and Employee: Zachery Turpen, a senior computer information systems major from Highland, interned for two semesters at Centene Corporation, where his exemplary performance helped open doors for other McKendree students, aided career recruiting events on campus, and led to a job offer. Austin Vuichard, a senior accounting, economics and finance major from Coulterville, was named Outstanding Student Employee for his audio-video production and editing work for the University Communications and Marketing department.

* The Spark: Tim Rose, a junior history major from Highland, was recognized as a caring, hard-working, dedicated and humble leader.

* Outstanding Social Fraternity or Sorority Chapter: In its mere two-year history, McKendree's Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority chapter has managed to recruit and retain members, plan programming and raise money for its philanthropy in ways rivaling those of other campuses.

The awards were presented at the Regency Conference Center in O'Fallon.

"The McKendree University inaugural Leadership and Service Awards banquet was a beautiful event that was organized by a committee of students, faculty and staff," Joni Bastian, Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students at McKendree said. "As I listened to the students' outstanding achievements in service and leadership, I felt like a proud parent."

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