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April 13, 2005
Contact: Ann Eversole, associate dean of students, (785) 864-4060.

10 KU students recognized as Chancellor's Student Award winners

LAWRENCE -- Ten University of Kansas graduating seniors were surprised this week with announcements that they had received 2005 Chancellor's Student Awards. The awards recognize the students' academic, volunteer and leadership accomplishments during their undergraduate years at the university.

Marlesa Roney, vice provost for student success, and Ann Eversole, associate dean of students, visited the students' classrooms to present the citations on April 11, 12 and 13.

In addition, as part of the 133rd commencement activities at KU, Chancellor Robert Hemenway will host a reception to honor the students Saturday, May 21, in the Kansas Room of the Kansas Union. The 10 honorees also will sit on a platform with the chancellor during commencement activities on May 22 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:

  • Gaston Enrique Araoz, La Paz, Bolivia, Donald K. Alderson Memorial Award
  • Anna Clovis, Fairfax, Okla., Caryl K. Smith Student Leader Award
  • Jeff Dunlap, Leawood, Agnes Wright Strickland Award
  • Susan Leigh Henry, Fort Scott, Agnes Wright Strickland Award
  • Ruth Anne French-Hodson, Partridge, Class of 1913 Award
  • Katie Jensen, Coon Rapids, Minn., Alexis F. Dillard Student Involvement Award
  • Mark Eastman Lyda, Centennial, Colo., Alexis F. Dillard Student Involvement Award
  • Josh E. Meyers, Wichita, Class of 1913 Award
  • Steve Munch, Bellevue, Neb., Rusty Leffel Concerned Student Award
  • Katie Wolff, Shawnee, Rusty Leffel Concerned Student 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 fraternity and sorority community, the university and the Lawrence community. The award was established in 1993 in honor of Smith's dedication and support of the KU fraternity and sorority 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 go 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:

BOURBON COUNTY
From Fort Scott
Susan Leigh Henry is graduating with a degree in communication studies. The Agnes Wright Strickland Award honors her leadership at KU. Henry was a 2004 Excellence in Community and Education Leadership award winner, a summer resident assistant for 2003 and 2004, a diversity peer education team member and a co-coordinator for Blueprints 2005, a leadership program sponsored by KU's Student Involvement and Leadership Center. As vice president for recruitment of the Panhellenic Association, Henry managed a $90,000 budget and registered more than 800 women seeking sorority membership. She has worked as a blood drive volunteer and has been a donor for four years. In May, she will work for a recruiting group in greater Kansas City. Her career goals include working in a university recruitment or leadership program. Henry is the daughter of J.W. and Diana Endicott of Fort Scott and is a graduate of Fort Scott High School.

JOHNSON COUNTY
From Leawood
Jeff Paul Dunlap is graduating with a degree in political science. The Agnes Wright Strickland Award recognizes his leadership at KU. As student body vice president, Dunlap has been an advocate and leader in promoting a clean campus through the use of renewable biodiesel fuel for the KU on Wheels bus system, in keeping tuition affordable and improving the student advising system. He worked to expand the Newspaper Readership program, which provides free newspapers to students, and to increase funding for multicultural programs at KU. Dunlap co-founded Yellow Bike, a program that provided 100 bicycles for common use on campus, and has advocated using wind energy to power the Student Recreation Fitness Center. He is a National Merit scholar and a Summerfield scholar, a four-year scholarship for the top entering freshmen men at KU. In his application, Dunlap noted he is the first KU graduate in a family of Kansas State University alumni. He is the son of John and Anne Dunlap, Leawood, and is a graduate of Blue Valley North High School.

From Shawnee
Katie Wolff is graduating with a degree in political science. The Rusty Leffel Concerned Student Award honors her service to the university and students. As the Student Senate legislative director, Wolff worked with the Rock the Vote campaign to register a record number of students to vote in the 2004 election. She led efforts to organize the first KU Civic Literacy Week and served as student adviser for the Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics at KU. As president of the KU Chapter of Choice, Wolff recruited and mobilized nearly 350 students from Kansas and Missouri to travel by bus to the 2004 March for Women's Lives in Washington, D.C. She is a Watkins-Berger scholar, a four-year scholarship offered to top freshmen women at KU, and is a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. She is the daughter of Richard and Shelley Wolff of Shawnee and is a graduate of Shawnee Mission Northwest High School.

RENO COUNTY
From Partridge
Ruth Anne French-Hodson plans to enroll in a master's degree program in comparative politics at Oxford University in England next fall as one of 32 Rhodes scholars from the United States. Her career goals include earning a law degree, working in a nonprofit agency as a policy analyst focused on protecting resources and ultimately teaching at a university. The Class of 1913 Award recognizes the outstanding commitment to public service French-Hodson has demonstrated while at KU. She has worked as an intern for Chief Justice Deanell Reece Tacha of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. She has worked as a research and teaching assistant for Donald Worster, KU Hall distinguished professor of American history. She has also worked as a researcher for David Gottlieb, KU law professor; Allan Cigler, KU political science professor; and for Lawrence attorney Lance Burr. She served as a student adviser to the dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences on tuition fee proposals. She is a National Merit scholar and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa honor society. She is the daughter of Jim and Lisa French of Partridge and is a graduate of Haven High School. She is married to Jake Hodson.

SEDGWICK COUNTY
From Wichita
Joshua E. Meyers is graduating with a triple major in mathematics, physics and astronomy. The Class of 1913 Award recognizes Meyers' distinguished achievements as an undergraduate working with David Besson, physics and astronomy professor, on the Radio Ice Cerenkov Experiment (RICE), a neutrino detection experiment, and with Bozenna Pasik-Duncan, math professor, analyzing stochastic heart models. Meyers wrote software for the RICE project, which not only earned him an opportunity to work at a research station in Antarctica but also was adapted by an astrophysics group in California. He has made presentations to national and regional research groups and co-wrote three scientific articles in refereed publications. He has served as a teaching assistant for a national Duke University Talent Identification Program summer course at KU for talented middle and high school students. He is a Goldwater scholar and a member of Sigma Pi Sigma honor society. Meyers describes himself as always curious about the universe and envisions a career in teaching and research. He is the son of Evan and Jane Meyers of Wichita and is a graduate of Wichita High School East.

COLORADO
From Centennial
Mark Eastman Lyda (pronounced LIE-da) is completing two degrees in English and in music. The Alexis Dillard Student Involvement Award recognizes contributions to the university that often go unrecognized. Lyda co-directs KU's Center for Community Outreach, working with 16 student community service organizations and 33 staffers who facilitate volunteerism for about 7,000 students in the past year. He regularly volunteers with area programs such as Jubilee Café, a full-service restaurant for homeless patrons in Lawrence. He has worked as an intern in the Victims' Advocacy Division of the Denver district attorney's office. Lyda is a student senator and serves on the editorial board of The University Daily Kansan newspaper. He sings and performs with the Mark Lyda Combo, which won the 2003 Battle of the Bands at McCollum Residence Hall. He toured Australia with the KU Oread Singers and organized tours in Colorado for the KU Men's Glee Club. Lyda is a National Merit scholar and was a Kansas Asia scholar, a program that included a three-week tour of Japan after a year of studying the country. He is the son of Paige and Donna Lyda of Centennial and is a graduate of Cherry Creek High School in Englewood.

MINNESOTA
From Coon Rapids
Katie Marie Jensen is graduating with majors in mathematics and in international studies. The Alexis Dillard Student Involvement Award recognizes contributions to the university that often go unrecognized. Jensen co-directs KU's Center for Community Outreach, coordinating more than 15 programs involving volunteering and service learning as well as helping to recruit more than 7,000 student volunteers and the Lawrence community to participate. She works as a teaching assistant in KU's math department. Her many activities include writing a column for The University Daily Kansan newspaper, performing as an actor in KU theatre and participating on the KU crew team. As a KU international exchange student in Spain, Jensen volunteered as an English language coach for a English theatre group and for Spanish students requesting a tutor. She is a National Merit scholar. Her career goals include teaching at the university level and using her research in political science and stochastic mathematics to work with international organizations to fight poverty and inequality. She is the daughter of Steven and Dianne Jensen of Coon Rapids and is a graduate of Anoka (Minn.) High School.

NEBRASKA
From Bellevue
Steve John Munch, majoring in sociology and in history, plans to graduate in May 2006. He is serving as student body president at KU. The Rusty Leffel Concerned Student Award recognizes his concern for KU, including his work to develop a planned tuition program that would guarantee incoming freshmen a set tuition rate for their four years on campus. He serves on the editorial board of The University Daily Kansan newspaper. He was a National Merit finalist and was a University scholar, a mentor-scholar program for the top students in their second year at KU. He is a resident of K.K. Amini Scholarship Hall at KU, where he has worked as a proctor. Munch has also worked as an orientation assistant for KU's Office of New Student Orientation. He is the son of Michael and Joli Munch of Bellevue and is a graduate of Bellevue East High School.

OKLAHOMA
From Fairfax
Anna M. Clovis is graduating with degrees in Spanish and in journalism. The Caryl K. Smith award recognizes Clovis' leadership in the fraternity and sorority community. She is president of Alpha Chi Omega sorority and of the Order of Omega honor society. Clovis has served on a national strategic plan task force for her sorority and was a national convention speaker. She has served in leadership positions on The University Daily Kansan newspaper and in student government. She helped establish new homecoming traditions at KU, including a United Way Challenge for Change campaign. This summer Clovis will be a Dow Jones intern on the news staff at the Post-Bulletin newspaper in Rochester, Minn. Her career goals include working on the editorial staff of a large news organization as well as returning to academia to research the Hispanic journalism movement in the United States. She is the daughter of Marsha E. Clovis, Fairfax, Okla., and is a graduate of Woodland High School in Fairfax.

BOLIVIA
From La Paz
Gaston Enrique Araoz plans to graduate in August with a degree in political science and international studies. The Donald K. Alderson Memorial Award recognizes his efforts to benefit other students. For two years, Araoz has volunteered with the Alternative Spring Break program at KU, working at sites in Florida and in Michigan. In both sites, Araoz helped translate for families or for staff needing documents translated. At KU, Araoz has served as president of the International Student Ambassador program, which encourages international students to provide information about KU within their countries' schools and colleges. He was elected to the Student Senate and has served as an orientation leader for KU's International Student Orientation Program for new students. He represented KU at the Youth Engagement Summit offered by the Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics at KU. He won a 2004 Excellence in Community and Education Leadership award and was co-chair of the Blueprints Leadership Conference for KU students. He has received an Institute of International Education scholarship for four years at KU and has been a resident of Battenfeld Scholarship Hall. He is a member of Phi Beta Delta honor society. Araoz's career goals ultimately include seeking the presidency of his country, providing inspiration and leadership for Bolivians. He is the son of Baston Araoz and Rebeca Riveros of La Paz, Bolivia.

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