Opening Convocation Honors Students, Faculty

The event that officially heralds the beginning of the academic year at Central Methodist University is Convocation, which took place on Thursday, Aug. 24. It is an occasion to welcome all students, especially the new freshmen to campus for their first year.

In addition, Convocation honors several students and a professor who has shown outstanding work from last year. This year, five students were recognized, Taylor Ellebracht, Molly E. Lyons, Quizonte Falls, Allison Jordahl, and Alexandra Hudelson. The outstanding faculty award was presented to Dr. James “Tiger” Gordon.

The CMU Concert Band, led by Prof. Roy Vandelicht, opened the Convocation by performing “Flourish for Wind Band” by Ralph Williams during the processional and recessional.

The Rev. Kayla Kelly, campus minister for CMU, led the invocation and later gave the benediction.

Speakers included Pres. Roger Drake; Provost Rita Gulstad; Professor Greg Thurmon, recipient of the 2016-17 United Methodist Church Exemplary Teacher Award; and Martha Bradley, president of the CMU Student Government Association.

Taylor Ellebracht from Boonville was awarded the Tau Kappa Epsilon Outstanding Freshman Female Award. The award is presented to a female student in good academic standing who exemplifies dedication, involvement, and commitment to the mission and goals of CMU. Ellebracht is a sophomore majoring in biology. Her interests include intramural sports, honor society, and student government.

Molly E. Lyons from New Franklin was awarded the Demaree Prize. This honor is given to the freshman student having the highest scholastic average from the prior year. Molly is majoring in English and enjoys basketball, music, and literature.

The Kim Everett Outstanding Freshman Male Award went to Quizonte Falls from Marshall. It goes to a male student who demonstrates a genuine concern for CMU, diverse involvement on the campus, leadership, active concern for fellow students, and academic scholarship. Quiz, as he known on campus, is majoring in music education. He is interested in instrumental and vocal music, theatre, and Greek organizations.

The Kim Everett Award was established in memory of a young man who served as president of his freshman class at Central, but who died in a tragic accident at the beginning of his sophomore year.

Allison Jordahl was honored with the E.E. Rich Award. It is given to the female student judged the most outstanding in scholarship and leadership. Allison is from Rantoul, Ill. She majoring in elementary education, and her interests include honor societies and softball.

The Omicron Delta Kappa (ODK) Outstanding Freshman Leadership Award was given to Alexandra Hudelson. It is presented to an outstanding student who demonstrates campus leadership. Recipients are nominated by the faculty and selected by the members of ODK. Alexandra has picked up enough hours to jump from a freshman to a junior at CMU and is consistently on the honor roll. She is from Old Monroe, Mo., and is majoring in accounting.

In addition to the student awards, one special honor is bestowed on a faculty member during Convocation The Carolyn and Tad Perry Fellow Award was established in 2012 by the current chair of the CMU Board of Trustees, Dr. Tad Perry, and his wife, Carolyn. It honors a faculty member who has gone the extra mile for Central students and has shown a commitment to student experiences, growth, and achievement.

President Drake presented this award to Dr. James “Tiger” Gordon, professor of chemistry. Gordon has been a mainstay at CMU since 1993 and is currently chair of the Science, Computer Science, and Math Division. He is beloved by his students and greatly respected by the faculty and staff.

Gordon earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in chemistry from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville and his Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry from Iowa State University.

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