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University Relations

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April 11, 2006
Contact: Ann Eversole, Student Sucess, (785) 864-4060.

KU officials tap 10 graduating students for Chancellorís Student Awards

LAWRENCE — Since April 4, University of Kansas officials have been making surprise visits to the classrooms of 10 graduating KU students to announce that the students are 2006 Chancellor’s Student Award recipients. 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, assistant vice provost for student success, visited the students’ classrooms to present the awards April 4 through 11.

The winners are
— Rachel Lynn Cloud, Lawrence, Class of 1913 Award
— Kaitlin T. Connealy, Leawood, Alexis F. Dillard Student Involvement Award
— Richard K. Friesner, Albuquerque, N.M., Rusty Leffel Concerned Student Award
— Lauren E. Hays, Kansas City, Kan., Alexis F. Dillard Student Involvement Award
— Marynell Taylor Jones, Wichita and Highland Village, Texas, Agnes Wright Strickland Award
— William Messamore, Wichita, Class of 1913 Award
— Kyle Mathew Stearns, Derby and Albuquerque, N.M., Agnes Wright Strickland Award
— Jenna Sheldon-Sherman, Lawrence, Donald K. Alderson Memorial Award
— Tyler James Waldorf, Leawood, Caryl K. Smith Student Leader Award
— John C. Wilson, Lawton, Okla., Rusty Leffel Concerned Student Award

As part of the 134th commencement activities at KU, Chancellor Robert Hemenway will host a reception to honor the students Saturday, May 20, in the Kansas Room of the Kansas Union. The 10 honorees also will sit on a platform with the chancellor during commencement activities May 21 in KU’s Memorial Stadium, and their portraits will be in the commencement program.

The Chancellor’s Student Awards Committee selected the winners from university-wide 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 Class of 1913 Awards annually go to a graduating senior man and woman who show evidence of intelligence, devotion to studies, personal character and promise of usefulness to society.

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 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 Awards 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 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 seniors in 1973 to honor their fellow student, Leffel.

The Caryl K. Smith Student Leader Award goes to a graduating senior fraternity or sorority member who has demonstrated commitment to the local chapter, the KU Greek community, the university and the Lawrence community. The award was established in 1993 to honor Smith, a former 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.

Brief biographical information about the winners, their hometowns, level in school, majors, activities, parents’ names and high schools are listed below.

From Lawrence
Rachel Lynn Cloud, senior majoring in Spanish with a French minor, was a finalist in the 2006 competition for Rhodes scholarships. She plans a career utilizing development studies with a focus on gender in an international organization. A summer 2005 experience working as a Global Justice volunteer in a Nicaraguan village brought home for Cloud the value of development in changing lives. When asked by a village midwife to photograph an infant who had died in childbirth, Cloud realized that the baby would have lived had good roads, transportation and adequate medical facilities been available. At KU, Cloud has volunteered as a Spanish translator for El Centro in metropolitan Kansas City and as a court advocate with the Women’s Transitional Care Services in Lawrence. She works as a research assistant for Paul D’Anieri, professor of political science and her mentor through the University Scholars program for a select group of sophomores at KU. Cloud is a four-year resident of Miller Scholarship Hall. She is the daughter of Laura Cloud and is a graduate of Shawnee Mission East High School, Prairie Village.

Jenna Sheldon-Sherman, senior in psychology and women’s studies, represents KU on the Douglas County United Way board and directs KU’s Alternative Breaks program. She was named a 2004-05 KU Woman of Distinction and received the 2005 Women’s Recognition Award for Outstanding Woman in an Organized Living Group. In addition, she won a 2005 Ex.C.E.L. Award recognizing excellence in community, education and leadership at KU. In summer 2005, she interned with the Women’s Health in the North project in Melbourne, Australia. Sheldon-Sherman is a member of Mortar Board and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars honor societies and Chi Omega sorority. She has volunteered with numerous community service projects and currently works with Women’s Transitional Care Services in Lawrence. She is a Watkins-Berger scholar and has received a Coca-Cola scholarship for children of KU faculty since her freshman year. She is the daughter of Jim Sherman and Jan Sheldon and is a Lawrence Free State High School graduate.

From Leawood (66209)
Kaitlin T. Connealy is a senior in education planning to teach middle-secondary language arts. As president of Student Union Activities, Connealy is one of three SUA executives responsible for administering an annual budget of $340,000 for student programs. Connealy has been active in SUA since her freshman year, starting as a SUA box office worker and becoming the SUA public relations director by her junior year. In 2003, Connealy received the SUA Student Employee of the Year Award. She is a member of Alpha Delta Pi sorority. She serves on the Diversity Working Group that works to increase diversity on the KU campus and has served as a coordinator for LeaderShape, a week-long leadership retreat for students. She has worked with The Writing Conference at KU to create and publish “Thematic Units for the Secondary Classroom: Making Skills and Content Connect.” She was also a session leader for the Kansas Literature Festival at KU in October 2005. She is the daughter of Kevin and Candy Connealy. She is a graduate of St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Overland Park.

Tyler James Waldorf, senior majoring in architectural engineering, plans to seek a master’s degree in architectural engineering. He was twice elected president of Beta Theta Pi fraternity, where he has also worked as a waiter. He is president of Phi Alpha Epsilon architectural engineering honor society and a member of Tau Beta Pi, Phi Kappa Phi and Mortar Board honor societies. Waldorf was a finalist for KU’s Ex.C.E.L. Award twice and was named Outstanding Student Organization Member of 2003-04 by Student Senate for his work as co-director of the homecoming steering committee. The previous year, he was co-chair for the homecoming parade. Waldorf is the son of Debra Waldorf and is a Blue Valley North High School graduate.

From Derby and Albuquerque, N.M.
Kyle Mathew Stearns, senior majoring in communication studies, plans to seek a graduate degree in higher education administration and public policy. At KU, Stearns is a student coordinator of leadership programs. He works as an orientation assistant for New Student Orientation and was a 2005 intern at the Dole Institute of Politics. He serves in Student Senate and was a coordinator for LeaderShape, a weeklong leadership retreat for students. He has volunteered with Jubilee Café, a table-service restaurant providing breakfast twice a week to people in need, and with the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. He is a member of several honor societies including Mortar Board, Phi Kappa Phi, the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and Golden Key. He is the son of Jim and Lynn Stearns of Albuquerque, N.M. Stearns is a Derby High School graduate.

From Wichita (67226) and Highland Village, Texas
Marynell Taylor Jones, senior majoring in English, is student body vice president and was selected as a KU Woman of Distinction for 2005-06. She serves on numerous KU boards and committees including the Lied Center Advisory Board, the Memorial Corporation Board (Kansas Union), the Dole Institute of Politics Student Advisory Committee and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Dean’s Executive Council. She is a member of the President’s Round Table and Lambda Sigma honor society and is president of Kappa Alpha Theta sorority. She has volunteered with the Jubilee Café, a table-service restaurant providing breakfast twice a week to people in need, and the Adopt-a-School program in Lawrence. She is the daughter of the Rev. Scott and Mary Louse Reece Jones of Wichita. She is a graduate of Edward S. Marcus High School in Flower Mound, Texas.

From Wichita
William Messamore, senior in biochemistry, is headed to graduate school to prepare for a dual career as a physician and medical researcher. At KU, Messamore has worked closely with Dean Stetler, associate professor of molecular biosciences, serving as a peer leader for a National Science Foundation-funded program that Stetler used for an undergraduate class. In 2005, Messamore made three professional presentations of research he worked with in Stetler’s lab, using recombinant DNA to selectively target specific proteins related to Stetler’s research of lupus. Last summer, Messamore was a Summer Research Intern with the Siteman Cancer Center at the University of Washington School of Medicine. He holds offices in his fraternity, Phi Kappa Psi, is a volunteer leader for YoungLife, a nondenominational religious organization for high school youth, and volunteers with Jubilee Café, a table-service restaurant providing breakfast twice a week to people in need. He is a Wichita Collegiate School graduate.

From Kansas City
Lauren E. Hays, senior in social welfare, will travel to South Korea in June as a Kansas Asia Scholar to learn about that country’s social welfare system. At KU, Hays has provided leadership in Office of Multicultural Affairs activities, including serving as a group facilitator for the Colors of Diversity retreat and as a member of the Student Senate Multicultural Affairs Committee. She served as a coordinator for HAWK Link, a retention program for students of color, and as a group facilitator for the Pathways Leadership Academy, a partnership program between the Kansas City, Kan., Community College and KU. Hays is the director of marketing and vice president of outreach for the KU Student Alumni Association and a member of Alpha Delta Pi sorority. In the School of Social Welfare, she co-founded and is president of the Phi Alpha honor society. Hays was also a challenge course facilitator for KU’s LeaderShape, weeklong leadership retreat for students. She works at the Kansas Speedway and at Cabela’s in Kansas City, Kan. She is the daughter of Dennis Hays and Amy Hays. She is a graduate of the Sumner Academy of Arts and Science in Kansas City, Kan.

From Albuquerque
Richard K. Friesner will receive a master’s degree in environmental engineering in May. He earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental science from KU in 2004. As a graduate student, Friesner has been focusing on water quality issues and is working with the U.S. Geological Survey to quantify the impact that road salt applications have on watersheds in northeastern Kansas. Since arriving at KU, Friesner has held positions with KU’s Department of Student Housing, working directly with his fellow students in residence halls. This year he is director for Stephenson Scholarship Hall, overseeing a 50-man hall with one student staff member. As an undergraduate, he worked as a resident assistant for McCollom Hall and a desk manager for Ellsworth Hall. He is a member of the National Residence Hall honor society. He has served in several offices for his fraternity, Theta Chi, and held offices in the Interfraternity Council. Since fall 2000, Friesner has volunteered at Jubilee Café, a table-service restaurant providing breakfast twice a week to people in need. A marathon runner, Friesner has used his athletic energy to raise $600 for the cafe and in May will run to raise $3,000 more. He is the son of Bob and Kate Friesner. He is a graduate of Valley High School.

From Albuquerque and Derby, Kan.
Kyle Mathew Stearns. See SEDGWICK COUNTY

From Lawton
John C. Wilson, senior in graphic design, co-directs KU’s Center for Community Outreach, a student-operated clearinghouse that matches KU student volunteers with community agencies. Wilson has served as communications director for Student Senate and works as a Web assistant for KU Bookstores. He worked as a New Student Orientation assistant and has served in offices for K.K. Amini Scholarship Hall. He serves on the Dole Institute of Politics Student Advisory Board and the Civic Literacy Committee and has served on technology committees for the School of Fine Arts and the design department. He is a member of Traditions Keepers. He is the son of William and Susan Wilson. He is a graduate of Eisenhower Senior High School.

From Highland Village and Wichita, Kan.
Marynell Taylor Jones. See SEDGWICK COUNTY


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