March 31, 2004

Contact: Ann Eversole, associate dean of students, (785) 864-4060.

9 KU seniors recognized as Chancellor's Student Award winners

LAWRENCE -- On March 29 and 30 nine University of Kansas graduating seniors were surprised with announcements that they had received 2004 Chancellor's Student Awards. The awards recognize the students' academic, volunteer and leadership accomplishments during their undergraduate years at the university.

Richard Johnson, associate vice provost and dean of students, and Ann Eversole, associate dean of students, visited the students' classrooms to present the citations. In addition, as part of the 132nd commencement activities at KU, Chancellor Robert Hemenway will host a reception to honor the students May 22 in the Kansas Room of the Kansas Union. The nine honorees also will sit on a platform with the chancellor during commencement activities on May 23 in KU's Memorial Stadium, and their portraits will be in the commencement program.

The Chancellor's Student Awards Committee selected the winners from universitywide nominations submitted by KU students, faculty and staff. The 15-member selection committee includes students, faculty and staff. Winners receive cash prizes, except the Agnes Wright Strickland Award, which brings with it a lifetime membership in the KU Alumni Association.

The winners are:

 • Catherine Bell, Coffeyville, Rusty Leffel Concerned Student Award
 • Laura Dakhil, Wichita, Caryl K. Smith Student Leader Award
 • Mark DuPree, Kansas City, Kan., Rusty Leffel Concerned Student Award
 • Fallon F. Farokhi, Lawrence, Donald K. Alderson Memorial Award
 • Sarah Feldt, Norman, Okla., Class of 1913 Award
 • Ben Kirby, Dallas, Texas, Alexis F. Dillard Student Involvement Award
 • Andy Knopp, Manhattan, Agnes Wright Strickland Award
 • Jennifer Sweeton, Parkville, Mo., Agnes Wright Strickland Award
 • Travis Weller, Garden City, Class of 1913 Award

The Donald K. Alderson Memorial Award goes to a graduating senior who has demonstrated loyalty to and interest in the university and who has been active in student activities and services that benefit other students. The award was established in memory of Alderson, former dean of men at KU and dean of student services.

The Alexis F. Dillard Student Involvement Award goes to a graduating student who has unselfishly contributed to the university through campus involvement. The award was established in 1993 by Dillard's family and friends to remember and honor him.

The Class of 1913 Award annually goes to a graduating senior who shows evidence of intelligence, devotion to studies, personal character and promise of usefulness to society.

The Rusty Leffel Concerned Student Award annually goes to students who demonstrate a concern for furthering the ideals of the university and higher education. The award was established by a group of graduating seniors in 1973 to honor their friend and fellow student Rusty Leffel.

The Caryl K. Smith Student Leader Award goes to a graduating senior who is a member of a fraternity or sorority and who has demonstrated commitment to the local chapter, the KU Greek community, the university and the Lawrence community. The award was established in 1993 in honor of Smith's dedication and support of the KU Greek community during her tenure as dean of student life.

The Agnes Wright Strickland Awards were established in 1953 in memory of Strickland, a member of the class of 1887. The awards annually goes to graduating seniors in recognition of their academic record, demonstrated leadership in matters of university concern, respect among fellow students and indications of future dedication to service in the university.

Winners, their hometowns and brief biographies are listed below:

From Lawrence
Fallon Farokhi, the Donald K. Alderson Memorial Award winner, is receiving a bachelor's degree in elementary education from the School of Education. She is the daughter of Saed and Mariam Farokhi and is a Lawrence High School graduate. She plans to pursue master's and doctoral degrees, focusing on education, policy and leadership. Farokhi has held leadership roles with Student Union Activities and Student Senate. She has been president, summer programs coordinator and public relations coordinator for Student Union Activities, during which she not only planned and supervised SUA events but also served as official SUA representative for university and union issues. Within the Student Senate, she has served as chair of the Multicultural Affairs Committee and worked toward developing a diversity course requirement at KU.

From Garden City
Travis Weller, Class of 1913 Award recipient, will earn a bachelor's degree in sociology. He is the son of Brad and Sue Weller and is a Garden City High School graduate. Weller's community activism outreach became integral to his sociology studies, and he plans to attend law school in order to pursue a career in public law. As the first generation of his family to attend college, he has maintained a 4.0 grade-point average and was a Truman scholar finalist. As the men's outreach coordinator with the Emily Taylor Women's Resource Center at KU, he developed programming on men's issues. He is a co-founder of KU Men Can Stop Rape, which organized a campaign against violence against women. Within the university Center for Community Outreach, he has redesigned the focus of the program in his role as coordinator for Concerned Active and Aware Students, focusing on social justice activities, food collection drives and death penalty forums. Following an internship with the Kansas Coalition against the Death Penalty, he planned and completed a Lobby Day against the Death Penalty for KU Amnesty International members. He has been a new student orientation assistant, calculus tutor and student senator.

From Coffeyville
Catherine Bell, Rusty Leffel Concerned Student Award winner, will receive bachelor's degrees in political science and communications studies. She is the daughter of Doug and Marsha Bell and is a Field Kindley Memorial High School graduate. Bell plans to attend law school at KU following graduation with the goal of working at a university in the area of student affairs to enhance the multicultural experiences and success of college students. During her four years in student government, including being vice president of the Student Senate and chair of its executive committee, she organized and led student advocates in issues affecting diverse current and future KU students. The undergraduate project she described as her most challenging and rewarding was leading the student initiative to create the new Multicultural Resource Center building in her role as its committee chair. She has served as vice president of Chi Omega sorority, participated four years in the University Honors program, and coded transcripts on breast cancer support groups as a communications studies research assistant.

From Manhattan
Andrew Knopp, an Agnes Wright Strickland Award winner, will earn bachelor's degrees in accounting and business administration from the School of Business. He is the son of Joe and Nancy Knopp and is a Manhattan High School graduate. As 2003-04 KU student body president, Knopp implemented Jayhawk Express, a free on-campus bus route for students; a nighttime on-campus safe-walk program; and a successful online course/instructor evaluation program. In addition, he lobbied the Kansas Legislature on behalf of higher education. A member of Theta Chi fraternity, he served as president of the Interfraternity Council, where he established a new member retreat for hazing prevention and education. In summer 2002, he studied in Italy through the KU Business Consortium, followed by an internship with Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts. His KU student government and business education opportunities have influenced his plans to attend law school and pursue a career with the Securities & Exchange Commission or the new Public Companies Accounting Oversight Board. Another life goal is to continue his volunteer activities with children. While at KU he initiated and led the Foster Parents' Night Out project, coordinated a Hearts for the Holidays program, which made and delivered cards to pediatric wards nationwide, and served as a site coordinator in a Lawrence public elementary school for Students Tutoring for Literacy.

From Wichita
Laura Dakhil, Caryl K. Smith Student Leader Award recipient, will earn a bachelor's degree with honors in journalism, strategic communications emphasis, with minors in French and leadership studies from the School of Journalism and Mass Communications. She is the daughter of Shaker and Kathie Dakhil of Wichita and is a Wichita Collegiate School graduate. Dakhil plans to attend law school. Among her special service projects was creating the "Bringing Campus Home" program for the children of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Wichita to teach them about higher education opportunities from the perspectives of university students. A member of Kappa Alpha Theta sorority, she was a founder and adviser for the All-Greek Dinner Exchange Committee, among many greek community activities that also included being named Outstanding New Greek Woman of the Year 2001, Panhellenic Association vice president for public relations and facilitator for leadership training events. Among her campus leadership roles was serving as a class officer her sophomore and junior years and being 2002 chair of the homecoming steering awards committee, the first student-run homecoming committee for KU. She has been chosen for the University Honors Program, Mortar Board and Order of Omega Greek academic and leadership organization.

From Kansas City
Mark DuPree, Rusty Leffel Concerned Student Award recipient, will receive a bachelor of general studies degree with major emphasis in political science. He is the son of Alvin and Linda DuPree and is a Wyandotte High School graduate. He plans to attend law school and go into politics. He is president of the Big 12 Council on Black Student Government, a position that oversees 10 Big 12 schools and 42 other schools. During his sophomore and junior years at KU he was Black Student Union president and chair of the Black Leadership Symposium. He was a 2003 summer intern in the Washington, D.C., office of Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback. He has been a student senator for three years. For the past two years, DuPree, who is treasurer of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, has organized the fraternity's Project Homeless Alpha service project to gather funds, food and clothing. He has been assistant chaplain for two years of Inspirational Gospel Voices, founded in 1976 at KU as a part of the Black Student Union. The musical performance ministry group is the only gospel choir at the university, and DuPree not only sings but also plays the trumpet and alto saxophone. He has been music director and youth preacher for Grace Tabernacle Church of God in Christ in Kansas City, Kan.

From Parkville
Jennifer Sweeton, an Agnes Wright Strickland Award recipient, will receive bachelor˙s degrees in cognitive psychology and French. She is the daughter of Stan and Tamera Sweeton and is an Olathe East High School graduate. She plans to pursue graduate studies with the goal of becoming a cognitive neuroscientist, teaching and doing research at the university level with a commitment to volunteer activities. Among her extensive academic recognitions are being a Rhodes scholar semifinalist and scholarships for being the top KU student in psychology, a $4,500 McNair scholar grant for summer research and an $8,000-plus Bioscience Initiative from the National Institutes of Health. During her undergraduate years, Sweeton has worked as a research assistant in six psychology labs, presented research at international symposia and co-written works scheduled for publication. She was a varsity cheerleader as a KU freshman. For the Kansas Children's Service League, Sweeton founded a drive to provide school supplies for children in foster homes. She is a member of the Cherokee Nation and the Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science.

From Norman
Sarah Feldt, who received a Class of 1913 Award, will receive bachelor˙s degrees in mathematics and in physics, each with honors. She is the daughter of Andy and Jan Feldt and is a Norman North High School graduate. Feldt plans to pursue a doctorate in biophysics with the goal of teaching at a research university. She is a 2003 Goldwater scholar with a 3.97 overall grade-point average and is a research assistant in her two major departments, studying nonlinear dynamics in physics and applications of stochastic analysis in mathematics. As president of the Society of Physics Students, she has worked to improve the environment for students and raise the profile for physics students with public education and recruitment efforts. She is a proctor of Miller Scholarship Hall and plays flute in the University Band.

From Dallas
Ben Kirby, recipient of the Alexis F. Dillard Student Involvement Award, will receive a bachelor's degree in biology. He is the son of Robert and Jane Kirby and is a Jesuit College Preparatory School graduate. Kirby plans to combine teaching biology with administrative leadership at the college or secondary school level. While at KU, he has had leadership and student advisory roles with both residence hall and greek organizations. Kirby was a coordinator and co-founder of the Freshman Leadership Council, aimed to get freshmen involved in campus organizations. He served as a student senator representing university residence halls. While philanthropy chair for Theta Chi fraternity, he also was vice president for philanthropy and community service for the Interfraternity Council, where he coordinated Adopt-a-School, Habitat for Humanity House that Greeks Built, and fall and spring blood drives. With the Rock Chalk Revue advisory board he was co-chair of volunteer community service hours and donations to United Way agencies in Douglas County. He spent the summer of 2002 at the University of Costa Rica at Golfito.


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