Three CMU Graduates Gain Special Honors
Commencement at Central Methodist University this past Saturday (May 5) was a special one for the over 400 graduates recognized that day. Yet it was even more memorable for three of them.
The three were surprised when President Marianne Inman named them recipients of three of CMU's highest student honors.
Jacob Heppner was awarded the Selecman Award, Amanda Amos the Victoria Award, and Elizabeth Gayer the Human Relations Award during graduation ceremonies Saturday afternoon in CMU's Puckett Fieldhouse.
Jacob Heppner, Selecman Award
Jacob Heppner, a mathematics major from Mansfield, received the Selecman Award. It is the highest CMU student citation.
The award is named after Bishop Charles Claude Selecman, an 1898 graduate of Central. He was on the college's governing board in 1913-14, and served as the third president of Southern Methodist University in Dallas from 1922-38.
Selecman established the award at CMU in 1957, asking that it go to a student who displays to "an extraordinary degree" good citizenship, scholarship, religious leadership, moral and spiritual qualities, and outstanding achievements.
Heppner is the son of Mark and Marcy Heppner of Mansfield and is a graduate of Mountain Grove High School. His achievements are many, including:
- Member of Alpha Lambda Delta national academic honor society
- Member of Kappa Mu Epsion national honorary for undergraduates in mathematics
- Member of the staff of The Collegian, the CMU student newspaper
- Member of the CMU chapter of Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE)
- Perfect 4.0 grade point average
- The CMU Dr. James M. Luetjen Scholar-Athlete Award, given to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade point average
A four-year member of the CMU Eagle football team, this past year Heppner was selected to the College Sports Information Directors of America Academic All-District 5 first team. For the past two years he has been named a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Scholar-Athlete.
This past year, Heppner was one of 22 football players from across the nation selected to the 2011 Allstate American Football Coaches Association Good Works Team. The award earned him a trip to New Orleans, where he was honored during a halftime ceremony at the Sugar Bowl.
Eleven members of that (AFCA Good Works) group were from NCAA Division I institutions, including Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III of Baylor. Eleven more, including Heppner, were from small institutions.
Heppner was chosen for that honor based on his commitment to service and volunteerism. He has been active in CMU youth football clinics, Special Olympics, and has twice gone on CMU service missions - once to El Paso, Texas and once to Puerto Rico.
Amanda Amos, Victoria Award
Amanda Amos of Waverly graduated on Saturday with a degree in child development and a minor in psychology. This year's winner of the CMU Victoria Award, she is the daughter of Ray and LaDonna Giffin of Guilford and a graduate of South Nodaway High School in Barnard.
The award is given in memory of Victoria Beecroft Cutter. It was established in 1979 by her late son Dr. Walter Cutter, CMU Class of 1928. The award is intended for the graduating senior who, in the opinions of faculty and students, best exemplifies the ideals and purposes of the college during the previous academic year.
Amos has been active in Sigma Alpha Iota, an international fraternity for women in music whose members must have high scholastic standing and have taken at least one music class.
She has been involved in CMU's concert band and the Eagle marching band, and in the CMU Psychology Club. Amos also posted a high grade point average.
Elizabeth Gayer, Human Relations Award
Elizabeth Gayer graduated on Saturday with a degree in religion. She was named the recipient of CMU's Human Relations Award.
The daughter of Dennis and Debra Gayer of Columbia, she is a graduate of Hickman High School, and transferred to CMU from the University of Missouri. While at CMU, Gayer participated in track and soccer. She also compiled a high grade point average.
The CMU Human Relations Award was first given in 1953. It was established by Mrs. Martha Smith Luck to honor the student "showing the most promise in human relations and human adjustment.:
This prize is awarded annually to the student who "attempts to develop the ability to get along with others and work with others-the ability to understand the other fellow, develop liaison techniques and this (pouring of oil on troubled waters) in the area of human relations and understanding."
She is this year's recipient of the T. Cecil Swackhamer Award from the Religion department, which goes to a student who has demonstrated promise in ministry. She was also inducted in the CMU chapter of Theta Alpha Kappa national honor society for religious studies and theology. Gayer also compiled a high grade point average.
Founded in 1854, Central Methodist programs range from undergraduate and graduate studies to high-school dual credit offerings. Serving more than 5,000 students on its historic main campus in Fayette, through collaborative programs at locations across Missouri, and online, the CMU mission emphasizes academic and professional excellence, ethical leadership, and social responsibility.
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