Highest Senior Honors To Central Methodist Trio

Each May during Central Methodist University-Fayette Commencement ceremonies, a special day for graduating seniors is made even better when they are announced as recipients of the highest student honors CMU presents.

The E.P. Puckett Field House, filled to overflowing, rang with applause as Jennifer Long was presented the Selecman Award on its 60th anniversary, Jamie Gisburne received the Human Relations Award, and Parker Johnson was given the Victoria Award this past Saturday (May 13) by CMU President Roger Drake.

Long, of Cave Creek, Ariz., graduated in December with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. Gisburne graduated on Saturday with Bachelor of Science degrees in both Communications and Computer Science, and is from Fort Myers, Fla. A Richmond, Mo. resident, Parker Johnson was awarded a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science on Saturday.

Identities of the recipients, nominated by CMU faculty and staff, remain top secret until announced by President Drake during Commencement.

Jennifer LongJennifer Long, Selecman Award

The Selecman Award is regarded as the most prestigious award given to a CMU graduating senior. It was established in 1957 by the late United Methodist Church Bishop Charles C. Selecman, a former student at Central Methodist.

Bishop Selecman directed that the award go to the student who has displayed the highest levels of the following characteristics: good citizenship on the campus, scholarship, religious leadership, moral and spiritual qualities, and outstanding achievement.

In Jennifer Long, the 2017 Selecman Award recipient fits the criteria and then some. An outstanding student in CMU’s rigorous Biology program, her list of awards reads like a small novel. A perennial member of the Dean’s List, she is in Sigma Epsilon Pi honor society limited to the top 10 percent of the senior class, and as a freshman was inducted Alpha Lambda Delta for the top 10 percent of that class.

Memberships include Beta Beta Beta biology honor society, Alpha Epsilon Delta pre-med honor society, and Kappa Mu Epsilon math honor society. Long received a Spring Foundation Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Scholarship through the Missouri Colleges Fund. She also graduated from CMU’s Honors Program in December.

But Long doesn’t just shine in the classroom. Originally recruited to CMU to play volleyball, she has served the University as a tutor and as a teaching assistant. She has been a member of the campus Fellowship of Christian Athletes chapter and the Navigators. Long also volunteered in the community, taking therapy dogs to the Fayette Caring Center and helping at Coyote Hill, a local foster home.

Long spent last summer on a student exchange internship in Warnemunde, Germany doing scientific research on seals and sea lions.

Jamie GisburneJamie Gisburne, Human Relations Award

The CMU Human Relations Award was first given in 1953. It was established by Mrs. Martha Smith Luck to honor the student “showing the most promise in human relations and human adjustment.”

This prize is awarded annually to the student who “attempts to develop the ability to get along with others and work with others -- the ability to understand the other fellow, develop liaison techniques…in the area of human relations and understanding.”

Jaime Gisburne has done just about everything a student can do during her years at CMU. She was elected Student Government Association President in 2015, and re-elected the following spring. A member of the varsity golf team, she has been team captain the last two years. Gisburne served as editor-in-chief of the Ragout, CMU’s yearbook.

She served the Admission office as a student Ambassador for more than two years, involved in campus ministry, was an orientation leader helping new students adjust to life at CMU, a disc jockey for KCMU Eagle Radio, and a member of the Collegian student newspaper staff. It’s been difficult to look around the Central campus and not see Gisburne.

With such a high level of involvement, one might think it came at a sacrifice in terms of academic performance. In Gisburne’s case, nothing could be further from the truth: she was a regular on the CMU Dean’s List, graduated Saturday with academic honors, and completed degrees in both Computer Science and Communications.

Parker JohnsonParker Johnson, Victoria Award

CMU’s Victoria Award is given annually to a graduating student who, in the opinion of the faculty and students, best exemplifies the ideals and purposes of Central. The award is given in memory of Victoria Beecroft Cutter, and was established in 1979 by her late son, Dr. Walter Cutter, Central Class of 1928.

Parker Johnson completed his Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science on Saturday, and was one of only eight graduates of the CMU Honors Program. He also picked up a minor in Music at CMU.

Many at the University know Johnson best not from the classroom or computer lab, but from the CMU stage. He was active in several music ensembles and made multiple appearances in the Little Theatre, starring in numerous dramatic and comedic roles and earning CMU theatre awards.

A regular on the Dean’s List, Johnson worked for the CMU Office of Admission, helping to bring new students to the University. He also was a recording engineer for CMU’s Music Ministry program.

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