KU News Release


Sept. 26, 2011
Contact: Stefani Gerson, KU Alumni Association, 785-864-4795

Ten KU seniors named finalists for 21st annual Ex.C.E.L. Awards

LAWRENCE — Ten finalists have been selected for the 21st annual Excellence in Community, Education and Leadership Awards at the University of Kansas.

The finalists, all seniors, will be recognized during a private reception Friday, Sept. 30, at the Adams Alumni Center and will participate in the homecoming parade at 8 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 1, along Jayhawk Boulevard.

Two winners, one male and one female, will be announced during halftime of the KU-Texas Tech homecoming football game Oct. 1 at Memorial Stadium. Kickoff is 11 a.m.

The Ex.C.E.L. Award provides an annual $500 scholarship to two students. The winners will plan a leadership conference during the spring semester in conjunction with KU’s Student Involvement and Leadership Center.

Nominees were selected on the basis of leadership, effective communication skills, involvement at KU and in the Lawrence community, academic scholarship and ability to work with a variety of students and organizations. The selection committee included representatives from Student Union Activities, the Board of Class Officers, the Student Involvement and Leadership Center and the Homecoming Steering Committee.

The award was established and first given in 1991 to recognize one male and one female student for achievement and to add student interest to annual homecoming festivities.
Names of winners are listed on a plaque on the fifth level of the Kansas Union.

To be eligible, applicants must be full-time undergraduate students with an overall grade-point average of 3.0 or higher. Each finalist completed an application and participated in an interview. The finalists and brief highlights of their campus achievements are listed below.

DOUGLAS COUNTY
From Lawrence 66047
Andrew Peterson Kriegh, Communication Studies, is president of Mortar Board Honor Society and Vice President of Communications for Student Union Activities. He is Co-Chair of Publicity for Homecoming, a committee member for KU Dance Marathon’s Sponsorship Committee, and he interns with the KU Alumni Association. Kreigh plans to pursue a graduate degree in Sports Management at KU. He is the son of Mary Ellen and Kelly Kriegh and graduated from Lawrence High School.

From Lawrence 66047
Emily Ruth Lamb, American Studies, is the Director of the Center for Community Outreach. She is the Outreach Co-Chair for the Big Event and a Senior Advisory Board member for Board of Class Officers. Lamb looks forward to continuing to work with nonprofits in various capacities once she has graduated. She is the daughter of Brent and Stacey Lamb and a Lawrence High School graduate.

JOHNSON COUNTY
From Overland Park 66213
Megan Kristen Ritter, Philosophy and International Studies, is president of the Memorial Corporation Board and a Campus Campaign Coordinator for Teach for America. She is the former Student Body Vice President and a member of Alpha Chi Omega sorority. After graduation, Ritter plans to pursue a law degree. She is the daughter of John and Candace Ritter and a graduate of Blue Valley High School.

From Overland Park 66221
Benjamin Harris Wilinsky, Journalism and Spanish, is president of Phi Delta Theta Fraternity. He is a three-year Student Senator, Campus Campaign Coordinator for Teach for America, and snack chairman of Mortar Board. Wilinsky plans to work with Teach for America to end educational inequity in the United States after he graduates. He is the son of Dan and Betsy Wilinsky and a graduate of Blue Valley West High School.

From Lenora 67645
Kelly Ann Tankard, English, is Panhellenic President and has served as a member on the Panhellenic Association Executive Board for the past two years. Tankard is also a member of Chi Omega sorority. She is a Plus Chemistry Leader and a representative on the Undergraduate English Advisory Board. Tankard hopes to attend medical school next fall. She is the daughter of Susan and James Tankard and a graduate of Shawnee Mission East High School.

MCPHERSON COUNTY
From McPherson 67460
Hunter Michael Hess, Business Administration, is president of the Student Alumni Leadership Board and serves as secretary for the Rock Chalk Revue Advisory Board. He coordinates philanthropic events for Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity and is a student assistant within the School of Business. Upon graduation, Hess will pursue full-time employment in a business or marketing related field. He is the son of Gary and Fern Hess and graduated from McPherson High School.

From McPherson 67460
J. Gregory Loving, Chemical Engineering and Economics, is President and founder of the KU Energy Club. He is an ambassador for the Honors Program and School of Engineering and a student representative in the University Strategic Planning Initiative. Loving is a member of Beta Theta Pi fraternity. He is a KU finalist for the Rhodes ad Marshall Scholarships. Following graduation, Loving has been admitted to Harvard Business School and has dreams of pursuing a graduate degree or work in the UK. He is the son of Jim and Dawn Loving and is a graduate of McPherson High School.

SHAWNEE COUNTY
Topeka 66610
Erin Elizabeth Atwood, Genetics, is a Coordinator for Natural Ties. She is an interpreter at JayDoc Free Health Clinic and has traveled to South Africa and Bolivia to volunteer with the health care systems in these countries. Atwood recently returned from studying abroad in Lima, Peru. She is a member of Kappa Alpha Theta sorority. Upon graduation, she plans to attend medical school and pursue a pediatric specialty. She is the daughter of Mike and Jennie Atwood and graduated from Washburn Rural High School.

WYANDOTTE COUNTY
From Kansas City 66109
Amber Lynn Jackson, Journalism, is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha, Inc. She is a peer assistant and marketing intern at the University Career Canter and a campus brand advocate for Victoria’s Secret PINK. Jackson formerly served as president of the Black Student Union and a desk manager at the Department of Student Housing. She is involved in the Journalism Student Ambassadors Program and KU Ad Club. Jackson plans to pursue a career in advertising and public relations. She is the daughter of Mack and April Jackson and is a graduate of Piper High School.

From Kansas City 66112
Joshua Taylor Williams, Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences and Linguistics, is a Dean’s Scholar. He is president of KU Students for Speech-Language-Hearing Association, Vice President of Queers and Allies, and a Peer Mentor for the Honors Program. Williams is the New Member Educator for Delta Lambda Phi. After graduation, he plans to a doctoral degree in Cognitive Sciences. He is the son of Rochelle Collins and is a graduate of Sumner Academy of Arts and Sciences.


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.

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