News Releases

Lander University students honored for academic excellence, extracurricular service

May 13, 2009

Lander University recently honored its cocurricular standouts for the 2008-2009 academic year, presenting student life awards to the university's top students and student organizations. The awards were announced during Lander's annual Academic and Student Life Awards Banquet in Horne Arena.

Lander President Dr. Daniel Ball presented exercise science/pre-occupational therapy major Sonia Michelle Berry with the prestigious President's Award, given annually in recognition of unique exemplification of the ethic of service to the university community. A Belton resident, Berry is the current Miss Lander University and she has served as a Presidential Ambassador, an officer with Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and a member of the Academic Honor Council.

A Who's Who Among College Students recipient and member of the Alpha Chi Honor Society, Berry has been heavily involved in her hometown and surrounding communities. She has volunteered with numerous organizations and services, including Habitat for Humanity, Connie Maxwell Children's Home, Wesley Commons and Meals on Wheels. She has acted as a role model for youth through her service as a tutor in local schools. Berry has also acted as a mentor with Westview Elementary School's Big Sister Program and with Sisters of Excellence, a program promoting leadership and academic excellence for girls in Anderson County.

Sociology major Zackary Freeman of Starr and business administration major Allison Devine of Inman were named Lander University Man and Woman of the Year.

A Presidential Ambassador, Freeman has served in officer positions with the Rotaract and Sociology clubs, and he is involved with the Residence Hall Association at Lander. He is a member of Alpha Kappa Delta International Sociology Honor Society and the Blue Key National Honor Society.

Devine has held leadership positions with Phi Mu Fraternity, the Lander Professional Business Society and the Lander Dance Company. She also served as a new student orientation leader and Presidential Ambassador. She is a member of the Blue Key Honor Society and was named to Who's Who.

Lander's Greek Man and Woman of the Year awards went to music major Durrell Jules of Columbia (29229) and business administration major Amber Jenkins of Pageland.

Jules is a member of the Student Alumni Association and is a recipient of the university's music award. He has served as president of the Omicron Nu chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity and as principal percussionist with the Lander University Wind Ensemble.

Jenkins, a recipient of Who's Who, has served as vice president and service chair with Zeta Tau Alpha Fraternity. She has been active in numerous community service events, including Relay for Life, the Susan G. Komen Foundation and the Race For The Cure.

Other student life awards presented at the banquet included:

  • Student Organization of the Year - Gamma Phi Beta Sorority;
  • Student Organization Program of the Year - The First Annual Panhellenic Spring Fashion Show (NPC);
  • Community Service Award - Rotaract Club;
  • Resident Assistant of the Year Award - Dori Loy of Simpsonville;
  • Student Organization Adviser of the Year - Joe Franks, Lander University director of counseling and adviser to Blue Key Honor Society; and
  • Employer Excellence Award - Kristiaan de Roos of Wells Fargo Financial.