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Wilson Award, Distinguished Service Awards announced April 12

April 12, 2010 -- The ASU-Jonesboro student honors awards for 2010 were presented Monday, April 12, at the 77th annual Student Honors AwardsFrom left, ASU Chancellor Dr. Robert Potts, Anna Callaway, and Perry Wilson gather shortly after Wilson presented Callaway with the 2010 Wilson Award, ASU's highest student honor. Ceremony.  The event was highlighted by the announcement of the Wilson Award and the Distinguished Service Awards, ASU's highest student honors.

The great-great-grandson of R. E. Lee Wilson, Perry Wilson, an attorney who lives in Little Rock, presented this year's award. He said, "One of the most difficult jobs on campus is performed by the Student Honors Awards Selection Committee, who must choose just one individual to honor with the Wilson Award, an individual who best exemplifies qualities of character, determination, involvement, and academic achievement."  This year's R. E. Lee Wilson Award, the university’s highest honor for a student, was presented to Anna Callaway.

Callaway, the 124th winner of the Wilson Award, is from Warren in Bradley County. She majors in radio-television in the College of Communications and will graduate in May with a bachelor of science in radio-TV. She was named to the President's List, Chancellor's List and Dean's List each semester since Fall 2006, while working as ASU-TV station manager, Student Activities Board president, Camp Raider counselor, and ASU residence hall assistant, being voted "Most Likeable R.A." by her peers. She was accepted into honor societies for both journalism and political science, was named to “Who's Who Among Students in American Colleges and Universities,” and was selected to be an ASU Global Student Leader, representing ASU in Italy from September 2008 through April 2009. She served ASU as an Orientation Leader (voted "Most Energetic," "Most Spirited," and "Favorite O.L."), was an Admissions Ambassador, and was Character Education coordinator at Camp Raider. As a Diamond Doll, she helped support the ASU baseball team, and was active in her sorority, Chi Omega. She helped raise money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Race for the Cure, Have-A-Heart Wish-A-Thon, Down Syndrome Association, Random Acts of Kindness Foundation, Women's Crisis Center, and United Cerebral Palsy. She was also voted Miss ASU 2009, Miss Congeniality 2008 and 2009, Homecoming Queen 2008, and the Sweetheart of Sigma Chi. Anna Callaway's parents are James and Terri Callaway of Warren.

The Wilson Award honors the memory of Mr. R. E. Lee Wilson of Wilson, Arkansas, who was a member of the ASU Board of Trustees from 1917 until his death in 1933. Mr. Wilson believed strongly in higher education and was instrumental in the growth and development of the campus. In 1932, Wilson Hall was completed with his help and was named for him. The first Wilson Awards were presented in 1934 and at that time, were given to the top male and female students on campus. This practice continued until 1981, when only one student received the award. Former Wilson Award winners have endowed a fund to present a $1,500 fellowship to be used for additional education by each current year's winner.

Distinguished Service Awards are presented annually to graduating seniors who, through their service to the student body and to ASU, have demonstrated outstanding qualities of leadership and citizenship.  Nominations for these prestigious awards are submitted by faculty, advisers to student organizations, and other members of the ASU community. A committee comprised of students, faculty, staff and past Wilson Award recipients make the final selections. Along with Callaway, the Distinguished Service Awards, which honor students who have provided service to Arkansas State University, were Ryan Beaird, Anne Marie Cason, Sharnea Diggs, Adam Jackson, Lark Little, and Jervonne Newsome.

From left, Wilson/Distinguished Service Award winner, Anna Callaway, and Distinguished Service Award winners Jervonne Newsome, Adam Jackson, Sharnea Diggs, Lark Little, Anne Marie Cason, and Ryan Beaird.

Ryan Beaird comes from Sikeston, Missouri. He majors in business management in the College of Business and will graduate with honors in May with a bachelor's degree in business management. He has been named to the President's List and Chancellor's List each semester since Fall 2006, was honored with the Most Outstanding Junior Award for Achievement in Business Studies in 2009, and was named to “Who's Who Among Students in American Colleges and Universities,” being selected as ASU'sMost Outstanding Who's Who.” After serving as a Student Government Association senator each year while at ASU, in March 2008 he was elected Student Body president, and in March 2009 was re-elected. Apart from his duties as SGA president and serving on the Student Union Advisory Council 2007-2010, he was pledge class president and later vice president of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, also serving as Pike community service chair. He was chosen to be part of the Global Student Leadership program, traveling to Switzerland, Italy, Germany and France to meet with international peers. He organized and directed Northeast Arkansas' “Focus the Nation” participation (“Focus the Nation” being a national nonprofit forum on clean energy), and served on the Northeast Arkansas United Way Board of Directors 2008-2010. Ryan Beaird is the son of Jim Beaird of Sikeston and Nikki Vaught, also of Sikeston.

Anne Marie Cason
is a native of Bryant in Saline County. Her major is pre-professional biology in the College of Sciences and Mathematics. She will graduate in May with honors with a bachelor of science in biology. Academically, Anne Marie is a recipient of a University Honors Scholarship, the highest offered at ASU. She maintains a 4.0 GPA and has been named to the Chancellor's List each semester since Fall 2006. As a Student Government Association senator, she was SGA representative on the Undergraduate Curriculum council. She has served as philanthropy coordinator for her sorority, Alpha Gamma, and has been active as one of the Diamond Dolls, supporting ASU baseball. On a dental mission to the Ivory Coast in Africa, she assisted two local dentists run free dental clinics. She is a volunteer for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation fundraising gala, was a volunteer/participant in Relay for Life, and was a presenter in the Growing Healthy program, guiding elementary school students in making positive life choices. She volunteered in 2008 to help restore homes in New Orleans destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. Anne Marie Cason is the daughter of Randy and Susan Cason of Bryant.

Sharnea Diggs
, from Little Rock in Pulaski County, majors in political science in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. She was selected to represent ASU as a Global Student Leader on a visit to Italy, was named to “Who's Who Among Students in American Colleges and Universities,” and was voted ASU's Centennial Homecoming Queen by her fellow students. She served as president of ASU's Student Activities Board, providing programs for the university community, and was Student Activities Board Multicultural Enrichment director. She was also Student Leadership Board vice president along with serving on the Student Government Association, Honors College Association, Student Union Advisory Council, and the Lecture Concert Series Committee. She was active in her sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha, and served as National Pan-Hellenic Council parliamentarian and judicial chair. Her volunteer work includes Circle K International, Colleges Against Cancer, and Circle of Trust, mentoring female African-American students. She was involved in 'Up Til Dawn' to benefit St. Jude's Children's Hospital, the Angel Tree Foundation, United Cerebral Palsy Telethon, and she acted as an academic note-taker for ASU Disability Services. Sharnea Diggs is the daughter of Billy and Regina Diggs of Little Rock. She will graduate in May with a bachelor's degree in political science.

Adam Jackson
is from Blytheville in Mississippi County. He carries a double major, in history and in philosophy, both in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. He has been named to academic honors societies including Pi Alpha Theta history honors society, the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, and “Who's Who Among Students in American Colleges and Universities.” He was included on the Chancellor's List each semester since Fall 2006, as well as the Athletic Director's Honor Roll since Fall 2007. He was awarded both the University Honors Scholarship and the V. C. Kays Educational Scholarship for Academic Excellence. Jackson has served as president of the Pre-Law Club, and was parliamentarian for the Honors College Association. He was a Student-Athletic tutor as well as a Structured Learning Assistance facilitator, and served as Student Government Association senator for the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. In addition, Jackson was a walk-on for the ASU Track and Field Team, and was responsible for leading group workouts when the coach could not be present. Adam Jackson is the son of Jim and Linda Jackson of Blytheville. He will graduate in May with bachelor's degrees in history and in philosophy, both in honors.

Lark Little's
hometown is Jonesboro in Craighead County. She majors in nursing in the College of Nursing and Health Professions. She will graduate in May with a bachelor of science in nursing. While pursuing her nursing studies, Little worked as a staff assistant at the ASU Leadership Center. She was active with her sorority, Alpha Omicron Pi, as assistant recruitment chair and ritual chair, also serving as president of the National Panhellenic Council in 2007 and 2008. She served as an Orientation Leader from 2006 through 2009, working with incoming students and their parents. She represented the College of Nursing and Health Professions as a Student Government Association senator and chaired the Student Services committee. As 'Up Til Dawn' executive board advocacy chair, she helped raise money for St. Jude's Children's hospital, and she planned and conducted events while serving on the Student Leadership Board. She was a Global Student Leader selected to represent ASU in Europe, and she chaired the Student Centennial Celebration Week to mark ASU's 100th anniversary last year. She was named to “Who's Who Among Students in American Colleges and Universities,” was voted Hardest-Working Orientation Leader, and was a four-year recipient of the ASU Chancellor's Scholarship. She has volunteered at numerous charitable events including ASU Relay for Life, assisted in ice storm disaster relief in 2008, and was a volunteer at this year's Northeast Arkansas Mass Flu Clinic, serving hundreds of people in the pouring rain.  Lark Little’s mother is Kathryn Blackman of Jonesboro.

Jervonne Newsome
is a native of Jonesboro in Craighead County. She majored in both political science and philosophy in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. Among her honors are the Arkansas Head Start Recognition for Academic Achievement, Academic Recognition from the National Scholar Honors Society and Golden Key International, and the Strong-Turner Alumni Chapter Academic Achievement Award. She served as vocal director and musician for ASU's United Voices Gospel Choir and was team captain for ASU's award-winning Moot Court team. In 2009, Newsome, along with Lilian Pacheco, won the inaugural South Central Regional Moot Court Championship Tournament, held at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock’s William H. Bowen School of Law and brought home the Robert R. Wright III Trophy. Newsome was also named the top-ranked speaker at the 2010 Baylor School of Law Undergraduate Moot Court tournament. She has acted as a mentor for at-risk youth through Mid-South Health Systems and utilized her speaking skills as a youth motivational speaker for several organizations. She founded a youth ministry that provides safe activities and events for young people such as Summer Jam and Fun Fest. She was named to the Chancellor's List for her high GPA, and along with pursuing a career in law, took on the challenge of also earning a second major. Jervonne Newsome, who graduated cum laude in December, is the daughter of Christopher and Marilyn Newsome of Jonesboro.

The Student Honors Awards kicked off ASU's Convocation of Scholars events for 2010, which will run through April 27 this year to accommodate various activities related to ASU's Centennial celebration.

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