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Wilson Award, Distinguished Service Awards given at Student Honors ceremony

April 7, 2008 -- Rachel Leigh Smith of Jonesboro, a senior at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, was named today as the recipient of the R. E. Lee WilsonPerry Wilson presents the R.E. Lee Wilson Award to Rachel Leigh Smith of Jonesboro. Award for 2007-2008 at the 75th annual Student Honors Awards Ceremony in the Student Union Auditorium.

The Wilson Award, ASU’s most prestigious student award, is presented annually to the most outstanding graduating senior.  The Wilson Award committee's selection from among the nominees is based upon character, determination, involvement and academic achievement.

Smith will graduate in May with a bachelor’s degree in English
with a minor in women's and gender studies from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.  Additionally, she has taken extensive courses in media and public relations to better assist those student organizations in which she has been involved. While at ASU, she maintained a 3.95 grade point average, with roughly one-third of that work being completed in the Honors College. She twice served as secretary for the Student Government Association and acted as senior representative for the Honors College Association after having served as that organization’s president in her junior year. She served as president of the Future Alumni Network (FAN), worked with the Future Alumni Network as an alumni ambassador, was a member of their Leadership Board, and twice was their vice president of public relations. Additionally, she served as president of the Association of Women in Communications.  Smith also served A-State through her commitment to campus organizations that included the ASU Literary Club, Colleges Against Cancer, Tribal Leaders, Black History Month Planning Committee, the Model United Nations, the UCP Telethon, and the Angel Tree Fundraiser. She was one of four students who planned, organized and attended the Global Student Leader trip to China her junior year. Although a resident of Jonesboro, Rachel resided on campus her entire college career to live the on-campus experience.

Smith is the daughter of Wesley and Mallory Smith of Jonesboro. Her advisor is Dr. Deborah Chappel.

The Wilson Award is presented at the annual Student Honors Ceremony during Convocation of Scholars week, and is the highlight of the annual event. The award is named in honor of R. E. Lee Wilson, a member of the institution’s Board of Trustees from 1917 to 1933. This year, Little Rock attorney Perry Wilson, great-great-grandson of R. E. Lee Wilson, presented the award.

The Wilson Awards have been presented since 1934. Wilson was dedicated to ASU’s development in the early days, and a member of his family has presented the award each year.  Perry Wilson, great-great grandson of R. E. Lee Wilson, presented this year’s award medallion. Hazel Coleman Dickey, who received the Wilson Award in 1961, presented Smith a check from the Wilson Fellows to continue her education.

ASU Chancellor Dr. Robert L. Potts presented the Distinguished Service Awards, which are based on scholarship, contributions to student life, and involvement in university activities.

The recipients of the annual Distinguished Service Award for 2008 were Evette Allen, Andrew Geswein, Candice James, Cathy Naylor, Tera Ramsay, Rachel Smith, and Andrew Wilson.

All of the Distinguished Service Award winners have numerous achievements in leadership roles, campus activities and academics.  In addition to Smith, here are some highlights about each award recipient:

Evette Allen of Arkadelphia
Allen will graduate in May with a bachelor’s degree in Communications Studies from the College of Communications.
She has been very involved in the Student Activities Board for more than three of her college years, serving on numerous committees and working on special events. This year she served SAB as vice president. She has also been active in her sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha, where she served as both president and vice president. Her other campus activities include the Future Alumni Network, the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, the NAACP and the Black Student Association. She was an alumni ambassador, a member of the Strong-Turner 3.0 Club since 2004, and she was a Global Student Leader in May 2007, one of five ASU students who traveled to Egypt and Africa. She was chosen ASU’s Homecoming queen this past fall. Allen is a native of Arkadelphia in Clark County, and is the daughter of Mr. Roy Allen and Mrs. Barbara Allen. She will graduate in May with a Bachelor of Arts degree. Her advisor is Dr. Thomas Baglan.

Andrew Geswein of Huntington, Indiana
Geswein majored majored in Radio-Television in the College of Communications. His campus involvement includes membership in Sigma Pi fraternity, the National Broadcasting Society and the Honors College. He has been a resident assistant for three years, and has been a tireless volunteer for organizations including the American Red Cross following Hurricane Katrina, the Make-a-Wish Foundation, the American Cancer Society, the Miracle Rodeo and was a volunteer for the United Cerebral Palsy telethon. Last fall, Geswein was chosen to be one of four communications students who traveled to Kuwait. He has been among the most productive ASU-TV student staff members in its history, having served as a director, camera operator, editor and virtually every other crew position in more than one hundred ASU-TV productions. Additionally, ESPN and ESPN regional production personnel have requested his services during several events in this region. In May, he will graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in Communications. Geswein is the son of Carl Geswein of Wynne in Cross County, and Betty Freeman of Scott City, Missouri. His advisor is Mike Doyle.

Candice James of Bryant
is a Graphics Communications major in ASU’s College of Communications. Additionally, she is a collegiate athlete, having run ASU cross country, indoor and outdoor track since August 2003. She was a volunteer for the ASU Track Community Youth Track meet for two consecutive summers, was a member of Gamma Epsilon Tau, where she served as president during the 2006-07 school year, and participated in the College Republicans and the ASU Newman Catholic Center. She has been named to the Chancellor’s List, the Sunbelt Conference Commissioner’s List, and the ASU Athletic Director’s Honor Roll each semester of her college career. She was a first-team selection for the ESPN magazine’s Academic All-Track and Cross Country Team in May 2007. James will graduate in May with a Bachelor of Science degree. She is the daughter of Sandy Miller of Bryant in Saline County, and her advisor is Pradeep Mishra.

Cathy Naylor of West Memphis
Naylor is a marketing major with an emphasis in management in ASU’s College of Business. She has been actively involved with her sorority, Alpha Omicron Pi, where she has served as vice president of both administration and academic development. Additionally she served the Student Government Association in various capacities, including acting as Chief of Staff her senior year. She was a member of the Marketing Club, where she served as vice president for programs, was an admissions ambassador, and was on the National Panhellenic Council. She also served on four shared governance committees, and was named to the Chancellor’s List six of the last seven semesters. Naylor has also been a tireless volunteer in the community, having served the NEA Clinic Charitable Foundation at several events, the Autism Awareness Walk, the Buddy Walk, the American Cancer Society Relay for Life, the Miracle Rodeo, the Jingle Bell Run, and the Strike Out Arthritis softball tournament. In May, she will graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business. Naylor is the daughter of Robert and Beckie Naylor of West Memphis in Crittenden County, and her advisor is Dr. Sarath Nonis.

Tera Ramsey of Trumann
Ramsey majored in Communication Disorders in ASU’s College of Nursing and Health Professions. During her college career, she was named to the President’s List five semesters and the Dean’s List for two semesters. Additionally, she has been a member of three honor societies on campus, as well as the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and the Golden Key National Honor Society. She was an active member of Alpha Gamma Delta Sorority, where she held positions on the Campus Relations Committee and the Finance Committee, and was a Chapter Council Member. Her campus service also includes working on the Student Leadership Board, serving as a Tribal Leader, as a member of the Future Alumni Network, and as a Greek 101 Facilitator. She has been a member of the National Student Speech and Hearing Language Association since 2005. Ramsey was a Global Student leader in May 2007, one of five ASU students who traveled to Egypt and Africa. She will graduate in May with a Bachelor of Science degree. Her parents are Lee and Sandra Watson of Trumann in Poinsett County, and her advisor is Dr. Richard Neeley.

Andrew J. Wilson of Harrison
Wilson majored in Radio-Television in the College of Communications. He has been an active member of the ASU Herald student newspaper for more than three years, where he held positions as multimedia director, opinions editor, arts and features editor, sports editor, and copy editor, serving as the Herald’s editor-in-chief this fall.  Wilson was the first student to incorporate video coverage into the Herald’s website. He has also been extensively involved in ASU-TV, having served as host and analyst on “Sports Talk;” analyst, co-producer and co-creator of “ASU Gameday;” and a producer, anchor and reporter on “A-State News.” He was a member of the ASU Piano Society, the ASU Honors College Association, has tutored and served as a Big Brother to area youth, and performed clean-up work in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Last fall, he was chosen to be one of four communications students
who traveled to Kuwait. Wilson represented ASU at numerous national and regional collegiate journalism conferences, and has assisted in recruiting high school students to this university. He will graduate in May with a Bachelor of Science degree. Wilson is the son of Douglas and Laurie Wilson of Harrison in Boone County, and his advisor is Dr. Mary Jackson-Pitts.



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