We Are All Webster: Building community from many identities, owning our biases, infusing diversity with inclusion | Webster University

24th Annual Student Leadership Awards Ceremony


Friday, April 28, 2017
Student Leadership Awards Ceremony

It is my pleasure to welcome you to the 24th Annual Student Leadership Awards Ceremony.  This is a wonderful event that brings together some of our most outstanding student leaders, clubs, and organizations; their friends and family who support their involvement; dedicated staff members who create an environment in which student leaders can thrive; faculty advisors who help guide student organizations; and loyal alumni who have returned to help recognize those students who continue their legacy of leadership in campus life.

As President, I am very appreciative of the important role that all of you play in making this a vibrant and engaged student community.  We know that student learning and development achieved through meaningful involvement outside the classroom is crucial to our students’ success beyond graduation.  Leadership skills, teamwork, creativity, communication skills, critical thinking, problem solving, ethical reasoning, and working with diverse populations are skills that are in high demand by employers.  And this set of skills, developed through your campus involvement, will enable each of you, as global citizens and graduates of Webster University, to change the world for the better.

You all made the right decision to step forward and get involved, and I am very happy to help and honor and recognize all of you for the contributions you have made to student life at Webster. 

Bert Walker, the former chairman of Stifel Nicolaus, who also served as the U. S. Ambassador to Hungary from 2003-2006.  Ambassador Walker’s generosity is well-known to the Webster University community, as the George Herbert Walker School of Business and Technology bears his name.

Ambassador Walker served Webster University as Chairman of the Board of Trustees from 1987-1992.  The Board of Trustees established the Walker Award for a graduating senior who has demonstrated academic achievement and leadership.

Please welcome Ambassador George Herbert Walker III to introduce the recipient of the 2017 Walker Award.

This year, we once again had a large batch of very strong nominations.  The ten nominees for the Walker Award are:  Anna Cruzen, Abby Contreras, Jared Campbell, Michaela Finnerty, Angela Karas, Hafsa Mansoor, Ashley Schmied, Cameron White, Caroline Wiley, and Jessica Wright. 

The list of nominees is a very impressive group, with a wide array of significant leadership experiences and stellar academic achievement.  Six of the nominees had a cumulative GPA of above 3.90.  The committee of faculty and staff spent a great deal of time reviewing the impressive accomplishments of these ten nominees, before selecting one student to receive the award.

This year’s recipient has had significant involvement in a wide variety of leadership activities during their four years at Webster, while maintaining an extremely impressive grade point average, with not a single grade below an A-.  Their leadership involvement has included highlights such as: orientation leader, connection leader, Delegates’ Agenda presenter, member of the conduct and sexual offense hearing boards, producer for the Title IX student training course, Webster LEADS, member of the planning committee for the Diversity and Inclusion conference, resident assistant in housing for two years, playwright and director, performer and director in Surfacing, volunteer writer for Odyssey Online, and president of the Student Ambassadors.  This student has certainly left their mark and made a true difference on campus through their leadership.

Our recipient also did internships with That Uppity Theatre Company and the Missouri Botanical Garden, assisted with a number of theatrical productions on and off campus, and studied abroad in London.

Drawn from one of our recipient’s two nominations are comments such as, “This student is a shining example, one of those students who comes along every now and again who lights up every area in which they are involved. This student’s endless enthusiasm for Webster, and fathomless appreciation for the student experience has transferred to so many others.  This fair and inclusive leader’s love for the University is infection. Beyond all that this student has done, they are deserving of this award because of all the small ways in which they have mentored and supported other students. They have grown leaps and bounds over the past four years. This student can do anything they set their mind to. This student is compassionate and has truly loved all Webster students.  He is Webster’s Ellen DeGeneres.”

This year’s recipient of the Walker Award is a double major in advertising/marketing communications and theatre studies and dramaturgy, with a minor in scriptwriting, from Branson, Missouri.  Please join me in congratulating Jared Campbell.