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Chancellor’s award bestowed on students

May 4, 2012

The 2012 Chancellor’s Award Reception took place for the seven recipients.

The reception started with a welcome from the Special Assistant to the Chancellor Blake Fry. Fry said nominations for the award are accepted at the beginning of the spring semester each year from faculty, staff and students.

“This is no minor task as nominators are asked to submit a nomination form, nomination letter, two letters of support, and the resume of the nominee. This is a case where being nominated is truly an honor as the nominator must think very highly of the nominee to undergo that amount of work,” Fry said in an email.

This year’s recipients are Grace Adofoli, Rebecca Jones, Camryn Nelson and Adam Sibenaller for the College of Arts and Sciences. Danielle Hammer and Kimberly Schadrie for the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences, as well as Lee Underdahl for the College of Business and Economics.

Fry said the award was first presented in 1980, and current Director of Alumni Relations Dan McGinty is one of the five who received the award that year.

“The Chancellor’s Award recognizes students who possess the qualities of leadership, service and commitment and acknowledges a student’s unique personal traits and skills,” Fry said.

Underdahl said he believes he was selected for this award because of his commitment to serve the community through volunteer work.

“I was nominated for the award for volunteering over 700 hours of volunteer work, creating an organization “Students Today Leaders Forever,” chapter in River Falls, helped faciliate two trips across the United States with 40 plus college students over spring break, hitting the dean’s list, last semester receiving a 4.0 GPA, and I work nearly full time from 30 to 40 hours weekly,” Underdahl said.

Jennifer Willis-Rivera, professor of Communication Studies and Theatre Arts nominated recipient junior Camryn Nelson, who said she is still in awe of receiving this award.

“I was honored to just be nominated and didn’t think I had a chance as a junior because there are so many seniors nominated who have done incredible things,” Nelson said.

Senior Adam Sibenaler said it’s amazing to be a recipient and a good way to close out his undergraduate experience.

“For me, what is means to be an award winner means you continuously work to make your campus community a better place. It means understanding the true head of UWRF which is to work together and stand apart, then applying that to our school ethic on and off-campus,” Sibenaler said.

Recipients are chosen from a list of finalists among the nominees and from there they are interviewed by the selection committee. The selection committee includes a faculty member from each college, a representative from Student Senate and from Student Affairs, Fry said. Preceding the interviews the committee provides a list of recommended recipients to the Chancellor, and the final decision is then made by the Chancellor.

Member of graduate faculty professor Marshall Toman nominated senior Becky Jones who is involved in over nine clubs, including honors programs.

“This shows that my professors and other campus faculty have noticed my hard work and dedication, my passions for learning and my eagerness to do research and teach,” Jones said.

Recipient Hammer said she feels honored and overwhelmed with love and support for receiving this award.

“I always dreamed of being a student and a leader who accomplishes great things. It is hard to put in to words, this is the capstone of my experience at UW-River Falls,” Hammer said.

Scharde said being a Chancellor’s Award recipient means you have outstanding commitment, leadership and service, according to the ceremony and certificate.

“To me, I think it means you love this campus and people in general, and you do everything you can to make both better,” Scharde said.

Senior Adofoli said being a recipient is a humbling experience and it meant a lot to have her peers, professors, administrators and community supporting her.

“I think really being a person of color was for me personally amazing, I think it speaks of different things, it doesn’t matter your background or color, that it is possible for anyone who comes on this campus to achieve greatness, whatever those things may be, it doesn’t have to be the Chancellors Award,” Adofoli said.