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University Relations

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April 26, 2006
Contact: David Darwin, School of Engineering, (785) 864-3827.

KU student wins Phi Kappa Phi Award of Excellence, Blackiston fellowship

LAWRENCE — Alexis A. Bannwarth, a senior at the University of Kansas from Independence, Kan., has won a national Phi Kappa Phi Award of Excellence.

Bannwarth was one of 40 Phi Kappa Phi members nationally receiving the Award of Excellence. The award provides $2,000 for graduate study and is offered to members of the national honor society who are nominated by their chapters.

Bannwarth, an honors student graduating with degrees in journalism and political science on May 21, plans to attend the KU School of Law this fall. She is the daughter of David and Marlene Bannwarth of Independence. She graduated from Independence High School.

Earlier this year, KU’s Phi Kappa Phi chapter selected Bannwarth to receive the $1,000 Blackiston Memorial Graduate Fellowship, making her eligible to compete for a national award.

The Award of Excellence and the Blackiston fellowship are the latest achievements for Bannwarth, who has participated widely in campus activities and won numerous awards and honors at KU.

She is president of Watkins Scholarship Hall and is active in the All Scholarship Hall Council. She is a peer educator for the Pre-Law Thematic Learning Community. During the 2004-05 academic year she served on Student Senate and has worked with Student Senate’s JayWalk service, which provides escorts for students walking on campus after dark. She has completed KU’s LeaderShape program, a weeklong student retreat, and the Global Awareness Program certifying international study.

During the 2006 Kansas legislative session, Bannwarth served as an intern with State Sen. Derek Schmidt of Independence. She also participated in KU’s Alternative Winter Break program and volunteered with Upward Bound at Independence Community College.

A Watkins-Berger scholar at KU, Bannwarth has received additional honors and scholarships including the Golden Key Undergraduate Scholarship, the Elizabeth Miller Watkins Memorial Scholarship, the St. Lawrence Young Catholic Scholar and Ave Maria Scholarship. In 2005, she was honored with the Hilltopper Award from the Jayhawker Yearbook. In addition to Phi Kappa Phi, Bannwarth is a member of Mortar Board, Owl Junior honor society, Lambda Sigma sophomore honor society, Golden Key and Pi Sigma Alpha political science honor society.

Phi Kappa Phi has about 300 chapters nationally, and each may select one candidate from among its local applicants to compete for society-wide awards. Phi Kappa Phi was established in 1897 to recognize academic excellence in all disciplines. Only the top 7 percent of seniors, the top 4 percent of last-term juniors and the top 10 percent of graduate students are invited to join.

The Blackiston fellowship is named in honor of James Blackiston, a graduate student in linguistics and instructor in the Intensive English Center who was active in the formation of the KU chapter in 1975. Blackiston died during the summer of 1975.

Phi Kappa Phi’s primary objectives are to promote the pursuit of excellence in all fields of higher education and to recognize outstanding achievement by students, faculty and others by election to membership and through various awards for distinguished achievement.


The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus. | (785) 864-3256 | 1314 Jayhawk Blvd., Lawrence, KS 66045