News Releases

Lander students honored for co-curricular service

June 04, 2014
This spring, Lander University recognized its co-curricular standouts for the 2013-14 academic year, presenting the top students and student organizations with special awards for service at the university’s annual Student Life Awards ceremony, held at the conclusion of the semester.

Top Student Life Award Winners
Pictured from left are: Marcus Brown, recipient of the Samuel Lander Man of the Year Award; Morgan Wingler, recipient of the Laura Lander Woman of the Year Award and the Lander University Greek Woman of the Year Award; Lander Vice President for Student Affairs Randy Bouknight; Erin Garland, recipient of the Lander University President’s Award; and Kenneth Calliham, recipient of the H. Randall Bouknight Greek Man of the Year Award.
Lander University President’s Award – Erin Garland, of Seneca. The President’s Award is given annually in recognition of unique exemplification of the ethic of service to the university community.

In addition to serving as a Presidential Ambassador and Expo leader, Garland served as the president of Phi Mu and was described by her nominator as a great role model for the Lander community. “She has provided excellent service to the University and numerous organizations,” her nominator wrote. Garland, a business administration major, was Lander University’s 2014 Homecoming Queen, and she was named Lander University Greek Woman of the Year in 2013.

Samuel and Laura Lander Man and Woman of the Year Awards – Marcus Brown, of Camden, and Morgan Wingler, of Boiling Springs. Named after Samuel and Laura Lander, the awards recognize students who demonstrated the true spirit of Lander and encouraged others to pursue excellence in all aspects of collegiate endeavors. Recipients should also have exhibited high aspirations and noble humanitarian qualities of character in all aspects of campus life.

Brown’s nominator described him as “always willing to put himself before others,” as evidenced by Brown’s service with the National Guard, as well as his community service with afterschool programs. “He also sacrifices his time by giving a helping hand to the elderly and donating time at the soup kitchen,” the nominator wrote. “He isn’t just a great person – he also has a great heart.” In addition to service with Greek life, Brown, a business administration major, was a resident assistant on campus.

A mass communication and theatre major, Wingler found a successful balance between academic and extracurricular service, according to her nominators. In addition to being a member of the Blue Key Honor Society, Wingler served as a Presidential Ambassador, EXPO leader, peer mentor, public relations director for the campus radio station, and an SGA representative. Her efforts with Zeta Tau Alpha helped the group raise funds for numerous charitable organizations. “She has taken every opportunity, above and beyond expectations, to give back to organizations and others around her,” one nominator wrote.

Morgan Wingler was also presented with the 2014 Greek Woman of the Year Award, while the H. Randall Bouknight Greek Man of the Year Award went to exercise science major Kenneth Calliham, of Waterloo.

The Greek Woman of the Year Award is presented to a junior or senior student in one of Lander’s female Greek chapters who has demonstrated a commitment to excellence in Greek life. A sister with Zeta Tau Alpha, Wingler was instrumental in the planning and execution of ZTA’s philanthropic efforts for breast cancer education and awareness, and those programs helped the organization raise more than $3,500 for the Susan G. Komen Foundation, according to Wingler’s nominator for the award. “This goes to show how dedicated she is to Greek Life and will stop at nothing until the job is done,” the nominator wrote.

Named in honor of Lander Vice President for Student Affairs Randy Bouknight, the Greek Man of the Year award is presented to a junior or senior who is a member of one of Lander’s male Greek chapters and who has demonstrated a commitment to noble leadership as a Greek man. Calliham, a member of Alpha Tau Omega, has been a positive influence on all Lander students, and especially those involved with Greek life, his nominator wrote. “His dedication to Lander’s student body and his consistent work ethic have provided an example of what a true leader is to many people around him.”

Other awards presented at the ceremony were:


American Democracy Project Student Organization of the Year for Civic Engagement: Presented to Delta Sigma Theta in recognition of their efforts to raise funds for breast cancer awareness, collecting canned goods for the local food bank, and a combined 428 hours of community service.

Community Impact Award and Excellence in Programming Award: Presented to Delta Sigma Theta. The Community Impact Award recognizes the campus group that, through service to the community, has reflected ideals of good citizenship. The recipient group must have demonstrated support for Lander, Greenwood and the greater community. The Excellence in Programming Award is presented to a group in recognition of exceptional creativity, planning and execution of a university program. Award criteria include appeal to a broad cross-section of the university community, originality and participation by members in all phases of the effort. During the academic year, Delta Sigma Theta contributed more than 400 hours of service to the campus and community, including the Bowers-Rodgers Children’s Home, Greenwood Soup Kitchen and Greenwood Museum. Their on-campus efforts included cultural and societal programs, academic study sessions and physical fitness opportunities. 

Presidential Ambassador Awards: Presented to Lorenzo Myers, a political science major from Hampton, and Haley Wilson, an early childhood education major from Clinton. The awards recognize outstanding leadership, superior work ethic, and service above and beyond the expectations of the Presidential Ambassador program. Recipients should demonstrate enthusiasm, friendliness, courteousness and the ability to work well with others.

Partners in Health Care Award: Presented to Keller Ridgeway, outreach coordinator with Beyond Abuse in Greenwood. The Partners in Health Care Award recognizes individuals who have assisted the Wellness Center in contributing to the health and well-being of Lander’s students. Ridgeway has participated in numerous on-campus awareness and advocacy programs, his nominator wrote, adding, “He takes a genuine interest in the wellness of Lander University students.”

Resident Assistant of the Year Award: Presented to Melanie McCrea, a mass communication and theatre major from Andrews. McCrea’s nominator wrote that McCrea is a “team player who is always aware of her residents,” and that she “acts in a professional manner, handling situations with elegance and poise.”

Campus Recreation Student Employee of the Year Award: Presented to exercise science major Leah Fifelski, of Midland, Mich. The award is presented to the individual who best personifies the mission and vision of the campus recreation department, and who goes above and beyond in their job responsibilities for the betterment of students and the Lander community.

Campus Recreation Intramural Participant of the Year Award: Presented to Ryan Spigner, a physical education major from Hanahan. The award is presented to an individual who participates at the highest level within the intramural program, taking advantage of the numerous intramural sports offered each year.

Lander University Adviser of the Year Award: Presented to Dr. Chad Kinsella, assistant professor of political science at Lander and adviser to the university’s chapter of the South Carolina Student Legislature. Kinsella’s nominator wrote, “He has worked diligently in making SCSL a better club and organization for future Bearcats ... He challenged us to find topics that we didn’t know much about and become masters in them.”

Lander University Organization of the Year Award: Presented to Zeta Tau Alpha, recognizing the student organization which, through its activities and projects, has had the most significant positive influence on Lander and the surrounding community. The award is based on the number and quality of campus events held, the amount of community service performed, involvement with campus events, and the initiative to further advance the education of Lander’s students beyond the classroom. During the past academic year, members of ZTA volunteered with numerous breast cancer awareness events, hosted an Easter egg hunt at Connie Maxwell Children’s Home, delivered Valentine’s cards to local nursing home residents and helped raise Christmas gift donations for the Tommy Clause program.

James “Curtis” Harkness Diversity Award: Presented to North Charleston resident and political science major Kierra Brown. The award is named after Lander alumnus Curtis Harkness, who served as team captain of the 1982-84 Lander men’s basketball team and later worked in Student Affairs, developing diversity programs and trainings that had a positive influence on many students. The award recognizes a junior or senior who has typified model citizenship, outstanding student leadership and high academic achievement, and who has been the most effective in advancing the concerns of multicultural students.

New Student Leader Award: Presented to Sara Hix, of Greenville, a business administration major. This award recognizes first-year freshmen or transfer students who have been actively involved in contributing time and energy to learning leadership and serving the Lander community. Hix, who is active with Phi Mu, Lander Professional Business Society and the Peer Educator program, was described by her nominator as personable, funny and involved. “She is a prime example of a freshman who is eager to serve this campus and community ... Her positive presence, smiling face and friendly personality put the icing on the cake for her.”

Transfer Student Award: Presented to Marty Dennis, a mass communication and theatre major from Greer. The Transfer Student Award recognizes the unique role of transfer students to the campus community and is given to students who transferred with sophomore standing or above and have completed a full year of course work at Lander. The recipients must have demonstrated a quick, successful, seamless transition to the institution and will have taken full advantage of his or her time spent at Lander. Dennis’ nominator wrote, “Marty came into Lander feet-on-the-ground running. He is the perfect example of a leader.”

The Betty Williams Unsung Hero Award: Presented to Doug Mikeal, a computer information systems major from Columbia. Named in honor of Lander alumna and former librarian Betty Williams, the award is presented to students who, through their behind-the-scenes involvement in student life, have exemplified a commitment to enhancing Lander campus life. Mikeal, a student worker in the Special Events Office on campus, “is always willing to come in early and work late hours to make every program that he is involved in successful,” his nominator wrote.

Hall of Leaders: Presented to a select group of seniors who have demonstrated outstanding involvement with campus life and extracurricular activities, and who, through this service, have exemplified a commitment to the positive enhancement of the Lander campus. Students selected for this award have given selflessly of their time and leadership to campus organizations, have made a significant contribution to the campus community, and have encouraged and motivated others in their organizations. Receiving the Hall of Leaders Award for 2014 are:
  • Kierra Brown, of North Charleston, political science;
  • Kenneth Calliham, of Waterloo, exercise science;
  • Erin Garland, of Seneca, business administration;
  • Emily Lowery, of Forest City, N.C., special education;
  • Melanie McCrea, of Andrews, mass communication and theatre; and
  • Morgan Wingler, of Boiling Springs, mass communication and theatre.
Members of Delta Sigma Theta
Lander University’s chapter of Delta Sigma Theta received the American Democracy Project Student Organization of the Year for Civic Engagement Award, the Community Impact Award, and the Excellence in Programming Award. Accepting the awards on the group’s behalf are members, pictured from left: Yolanda Mack, of Cross; Kimberly Davis, of Newberry; Carleisha Gilliam, of Boiling Springs; Talesha Seibles, of Winnsboro; and Melanie McCrea, of Andrews.
Presidential Ambassadors Winner
Pictured, from left, are: Amanda McCombs, Lander assistant director of Admissions; Presidential Ambassador of the Year Award recipients Haley Wilson, of Clinton, and Lorenzo Myers, of Hampton; and Jennifer Mathis, Lander dean of Enrollment Services.
Partners in Healthcare Winner
Pictured, from left, are: Kim Shannon, director of Lander’s Wellness Center; and Partners in Health Care Award recipient Keller Ridgeway, outreach coordinator with Beyond Abuse in Greenwood.
RA Award Winner
Pictured, from left, are: Jalysa O’Conner, residence life coordinator with Lander’s Housing and Residence Life; and Melanie McCrea, of Andrews, recipient of the 2014 Resident Assistant of the Year Award.
Campus Recreation Award Winner
Pictured, from left, are: Matthew Gilstrap, assistant director of Lander Campus Rec/Intramurals; Leah Fifelski, of Midland, Mich., recipient of the Campus Recreation Student Employee of the Year Award; Ryan Spigner, of Hanahan, recipient of the Campus Recreation Intramural Participant of the Year Award; and Trent Kline, director of Lander Campus Rec/Intramurals.
Organization of the Year
Lander’s chapter of Zeta Tau Alpha received the university’s Organization of the Year Award for 2014. Accepting the honor on the group’s behalf are members, pictured, front row from left: Heather Lynch, of Greenwood; Sarah Lynch, of Clover; Emily Craft, of West Columbia; Hannah Merritt, of Piedmont; and Morgan Wingler, of Boiling Springs. Second row, from left: Emily Lowery, of Forest City, N.C.; Cortney Lollis, of Anderson; Chandler Hepler, of Ninety Six; Taylor Craft, of Laurens; and Abby Miller, of Lexington.
Harkness Award
Pictured are, from left: Kierra Brown, of North Charleston, recipient of Lander University’s 2014 James “Curtis” Harkness Diversity Award; and Shelby Dominick Reed, director of Lander Student Activities.
New Student Leader Award
Pictured, from left, are: Sara Hix, of Greenville, recipient of the Lander University New Student Leader Award; and Shelby Dominick Reed, director of Lander Student Activities.
Transfer Student Award
Pictured, from left, are: Lander University Transfer Student of the Year Marty Dennis, of Greer; and Shelby Dominick Reed, director of Lander Student Activities.
Hall of Leaders
Lander University Hall of Leaders inductees for 2014 are, pictured from left: Melanie McCrea, of Andrews; Kierra Brown, of North Charleston; Kenneth Calliham, of Waterloo; Emily Lowery, of Forest City, N.C.; Morgan Wingler, of Boiling Springs; and Erin Garland, of Greer.
Unsung Hero Award
Pictured, from left, are: Doug Mikeal, of Columbia, recipient of Lander University’s Betty Williams Unsung Hero Award; and Shelby Dominick Reed, director of Lander Student Activities.