Gratitude for campus leaders, student organizations in the spotlight at Student Leadership Awards

by | May 10, 2016

A total of 20 awards were given in recognition of individual UMSL students, faculty and staff members, and student organizations.
2016 Student Leadership Awards Banquet

Members of the Associated Black Collegians, which grew tremendously this year, pause for photos following the 2016 Student Leadership Awards Banquet. ABC was honored as Organization of the Year at the April 25 event. (Photos by Rebecca Barr)

Students form the core of a lot of amazing work that gets done at the University of Missouri–St. Louis on any given day, both in the classroom and beyond.

That was even more evident than usual at the 2016 Student Leadership Awards Banquet on April 25, said Curt Coonrod, vice provost for Student Affairs and dean of students.

Kaitlin Henning accepting award

Senior psychology major and University Program Board chair Kaitlin Henning (at left) received two individual accolades at the banquet – the Student Advocate Award as well as the Outstanding Service to the Community Award.

“It was a wonderful opportunity for the university to recognize our outstanding students for making the UMSL community much stronger,” Coonrod said of the evening, at which both he and Chancellor Tom George spoke. “I am so proud of our students and give special thanks to the Office of Student Life for a great job with this event.”

A total of 20 awards were given in recognition of individual UMSL students, faculty and staff members, and student organizations. Senior psychology major Kaitlin Henning, a student senator who also headed up the University Program Board this past year, received two awards from her peers.

“Kaitlin tends to put others before herself in everything she does,” said fellow graduating senior Eric’el Johnson, who also was honored – as Student Leader of the Year – during the event. “She strives to ensure that everyone is treated equally. She welcomes varying suggestions and questions from students and has drafted several resolutions to address those student concerns … She always seeks new ways to help her campus and community.”

PRIZM members

Seniors Nat Smith (at left) and Charlotte Kawa have both taken active leadership roles with PRIZM, the queer-trans-straight alliance at UMSL. The student organization earned high marks for its “Walls of Intolerance” program.

Among the other individual students who received awards were Samantha Risius (Fraternity and Sorority Life Student Member of the Year), Thomas Poon (Rising Leader of the Year), Briana Robertson (Outstanding Contribution to Leadership Programming Award), Daniel Mueller (Newman Civic Fellow), and Kevin Smith and Alex Stupek (Triton Athletic Leadership Awards).

Student groups earning kudos included PRIZM, the Associated Black Collegians and the Golden Key International Honour Society.

Despite the evening’s main focus, the organizers and students also took time to applaud several faculty and staff members for significant contributions. Laura Holt, who works in UMSL Counseling Services, was honored with the Student Life Award for her passion for others and the ways in which she helps students “make meaning of their lives, learn new skills and overcome obstacles to change.”

Jill Delston

Jill Delston, an assistant teaching professor in the Department of Philosophy, was named the year’s Legendary Triton during the event.

Retiring Associate Vice Chancellor of Advancement for Development Brenda McPhail, Dean of Enrollment Alan Byrd and Assistant Teaching Professor Ann Torrusio were also honored with awards.

Assistant Teaching Professor Jill Delston, who took home the Legendary Triton Award, was nominated by a student who described Delston as a top-notch teacher whose lessons will influence her for years to come.

“It’s been an entire year since I took her International Business Ethics course through the honors college, but she has made an enormous impact on my life,” said senior business administration major Jasmine To. “She taught me that being ethical is the most important thing, [that] leadership is an important feature in any company and that social responsibility is something we should hold all corporations to … I’m grateful for being in her class.”

The UMSL Experience

Evie Hemphill

Evie Hemphill