Over 200 Students Honored for Academic and Leadership Success

Over 200 Students Honored for Academic and Leadership Success

Over 200 Students Honored for Academic and Leadership Success


Seniors of the year Kelli Bass and Marcus Rihner.

Buena Vista University honored over 200 students for outstanding accomplishments in academics and leadership at the annual Student Recognition Dinner on April 28.

Many students receiving leadership awards also received academic honors. The keynote speaker of the event was Dr. Wind Goodfriend, associate professor of psychology, who spoke on the “Psychology of Excellence.”

Among the honors were the two Senior of the Year awards presented by the BVU National Alumni Association. The students selected were Kelli Bass, a mathematics with secondary education major from Boone; and Marcus Rihner, a mathematics major from Denison. 

Many students were recognized for academic excellence awards; membership in Alpha Chi, the honor society which recognizes scholarship in all disciplines; Who’s Who Among Students in American Colleges and Universities, which recognizes students for academic achievement and leadership; and Senior Awards for each of BVU’s five schools. Also recognized at the event were the top 10 percent of students at BVU’s Graduate & Professional Studies (GPS) locations; members of the Student Senate; and the presidents of over 50 student organizations.

The following special academic awards and recognition were announced:

Honors Program: Kathryn Van Zante, a senior arts management and art double major from Baxter; Thomas Fitzgerald, a senior computer science major from Manson; and Brian Broll, a senior math education major from Waconia, Minn. This program adds depth to the learning experience through specialized courses, scholarly dialogue and extensive research projects in collaboration with experienced faculty mentors.

Global Fellows: Rebecca Bassich, a freshman elementary education major from Malvern;

Natalie Bellairs, a freshman biology major from Osage; Kelsey Mitchell, a freshman mathematics major from Decorah; Anne Reiva, a freshman history major from Sioux City;

Lourdes Arreola, a freshman international business and Spanish double major from Storm Lake; and Brian Meis, a freshman Spanish and criminology/criminal justice double major from Sioux City. This competitive academic program provides students with a global perspective of human environmental impact and creative methods at the forefront of sustainable development. 

Clifford A. Rae Academic Achievement Award: Shelby Bleeker, a senior management – human resources and marketing double major from Apple Valley, Minn.; Kelsey Reitmeier, a senior marketing and graphic design double major from Sioux City; Christian Cottingham, a sophomore accounting major from Ellsworth; Joseph Pearson, a native of Marcus who graduated from BVU last December with an environmental science and business management double major; Kyle Auffert, a junior accounting major from Clarinda; Adam Drees, a junior computer science and management information systems double major from Grinnell; Seth Lindokken, a junior mathematics and business economics double major from Sibley; Brock Loseke, a sophomore international business major from Scottsbluff, Neb.; and Justus McDermott Harris, a junior business economics major from Boone. An endowment from the foundations established by the late Dr. Harold Walter Siebens support these annual awards for nine pre-qualified, high-performing BVU business majors each academic year.

Harriet Henry Dedicated Athlete Award: Laura Hilby, a senior accounting and mathematics – corporate major from Johnston. This award is given to a senior female athlete who reflects the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, academic excellence, integrity and leadership.

Fine Arts Ceramics Award: LeeReyna Leyva, a senior arts management and art double major from Redfield. This award is presented to a student for outstanding work in ceramics. The award purchases a work by the artist for the BVU art collection.

Zalesky Scholarship: Amanda Jamtgaard, a sophomore finance and banking and accounting double major from Ireton. This scholarship is given to a student who exemplifies the qualities of campus leadership, academic scholarship and community involvement.

Harry Blackmun Award: Elizabeth Heffernan, a junior English and political science double major from Sioux City. This award recognizes a pre-law student for outstanding scholarship and contribution to the pre-law atmosphere at BVU.

Marjorie Holmes Scholarship: Elizabeth Heffernan; and Taylor Carlson, a senior secondary English education major from Kingsley. Recipients of this award are declared English majors who are selected by a committee of English faculty members after submitting a portfolio of analytical or creative work.

J. Leslie Rollins Fellowship: Laura Page, a sophomore biology major from Hutchinson, Kan. This award provides support for off-campus internships for students with recognized potential for leadership and accomplishments.

Cumberland Student Development Award: Amber Riedy, a sophomore biology and chemistry double major from Grand Island, Neb.; and Jennifer Welch, a sophomore biochemistry and chemistry double major from Afton. This award enhances opportunities for special academically talented students in the areas of internships, off-campus and foreign semesters and foreign trips.

William H. Cumberland Research Award: Whitney Nelson, a junior biology major from Audubon. This award is for the student who writes the best research paper during the academic year.

Wendy Waugaman Women and Leadership Award: Kimberly Nelson, a junior English major from Garnavillo; and Megan Vogt, a senior psychology major from Dow City. This award is for female students from all academic disciplines who are interested in leadership development.

Student Marshals: Jacklyn Johnson, a junior biology major from Litchfield, Minn.; and April Van Zee, a junior psychology and human services double major from New Holland, S.D., who attends the Le Mars site of BVU’s GPS program. These students will assist the faculty marshal during the 2012 Commencement and Founders’ Day ceremonies.

Tina Donath Memorial Annual Scholarship for Excellence in Print Journalism: Kevin Coriolan, a sophomore corporate communications major from Worthington, Minn. This award recognizes students  who are skilled writers and are genuinely interested in print journalism.

Parents of the Year Award: Rick Woodley and Kerrie Woodley FD ’89 of Laurens. Rick and Kerrie are the parents of Kylie Woodley, a senior biology major; and Kacie Woodley, a senior marketing and accounting double major. This award is given to parents whose qualities include support and dedication toward their student’s pursuits.

The following special leadership awards were also announced:

Leaders of the Year Award: Kimberly Perez, a junior mathematics and biochemistry double major from Brownsville, Texas; and Durant Freeman Jr., a senior business management major from Chicago. This award recognizes two students who have made significant contributions to the quality of life on campus and have demonstrated exemplary leadership skills and attributes.

Wesselink Scholarship: Molly Urness, a junior biology major from Clarion. This honor recognizes a junior student for their contribution to campus life.

Stief Award: Cassandra Sinclair, a senior psychology major from Waconia, Minn.; and  

Jarrod Roth, a junior English education major from Ethan, S.D. This award recognizes two students who have made positive contributions to the community life in the residence halls.  

Neil Ball Service Scholarship: Brandy Zumbach, a sophomore graphic design and visual communication major from Coggon. This award recognizes students who demonstrate a commitment to helping fellow classmates and/or who have volunteered in the Storm Lake community.

Dr. Robert and Iris Meinhard Endowed Service Scholarship: Kirsten Bielen, a junior elementary education major Redwood Falls, Minn. This honor recognizes students for outstanding volunteer service to BVU, their community and church.

Vivian and Paul McCorkle Freshman Scholarship and Leadership Potential Award: Amanda Kavan, a freshman marketing major from Storm Lake. This award recognizes an outstanding freshman who has demonstrated potential for leadership during the 2011-12 academic year.