Purdue's top students to be honored at spring commencement

May 8, 2014  

Christina B. Burke

Christina B.Burke 
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue University will honor some of its highest academic-achieving graduating seniors during spring commencement ceremonies on May 16-18.

The university's top female and male students are Christina B. Burke from the College of Health and Human Sciences and Austin M. Childs from the College of Science.

Burke, of Naperville, Illinois, who majored in pre-professional health sciences, has been awarded the 2014 Flora Roberts Award. After graduation, Burke will be attending medical school at Campbell University School of Osteopathic Medicine in North Carolina. The award is presented annually to the outstanding senior woman to honor scholarship, leadership, character and service to the university community. The award is made possible through a bequest from Flora Roberts, a member of the Purdue class of 1887. The recipient receives a $500 award, medallion and her name inscribed on the award marker on Purdue Mall.

Austin M. Childs

Austin M. Childs 
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Childs, of Acworth, Georgia, who majored in statistics and mathematics, has been awarded the 2014 G. A. Ross Award. After graduation, Childs will be attending graduate school at Stanford University to study statistics. The award is presented annually to Purdue's outstanding graduating senior man. G.A. Ross, a 1916 graduate, stipulated that the award go to a graduating senior man demonstrating high standards of academic achievement, outstanding leadership, strength of character and contribution to Purdue. The recipient receives a $500 award, medallion and his name inscribed on the award marker on Purdue Mall.

Burke and Childs, along with the following student awards, will be recognized at the May 2014 commencement ceremonies.

The France A. Córdova Award for Leadership in Action was awarded to Stephanie D. Nitschmann of Pittsburgh who majored in psychology in the College of Health and Human Sciences. This award honors a graduating student who has demonstrated exceptional leadership during his or her Purdue career. The student must have held successful leadership roles at Purdue, working in partnership with staff and faculty to move the university forward, while maintaining a minimum 3.0 grade point average. The award winner receives a certificate, a cash award and their name inscribed on a plaque.

The Louis Sudler Prize in the Arts was awarded to Jasmine D. Morris of Indianapolis, who majored in chemical engineering in the College of Engineering. The prize is awarded to an outstanding senior who has demonstrated excellence and the highest standards of proficiency in the visual or performing arts. The late Louis Sudler, a Chicago businessman and supporter of the arts, endowed this award. The recipient receives $1,000 and a certificate.

Kenneth Tan Siew Kheng of Penang, Malaysia, who majored in chemical engineering in the College of Engineering, received the Martin C. Jischke Outstanding International Student of the Year Award. This award was established by president emeritus Martin C. Jischke to honor an international Purdue student who demonstrated leadership qualities and achieved academic accomplishments through further research, publications or presentations, and participated in service projects. The award is granted to a graduating senior who has attained a minimum 3.0 GPA, demonstrated leadership qualities, achieved academic accomplishments and participated in service projects. The recipient receives a cash award along with their name inscribed on a plaque in Schleman Hall.

The three students who were awarded the Charles O. McGaughey Leadership Awards are Jessyca Allen of Walkerton, Indiana, who majored in animal production in the College of Agriculture; Rachel Svetanoff of Valparaiso, Indiana, who majored in biochemistry in the College of Science; and Michael Welling, of Fort Wayne, Indiana, who majored in computer engineering in the College of Engineering.

McGaughey, a 1939 Purdue graduate, established the awards to honor students for leadership potential. To be eligible for these awards, students must have completed a minimum of two years full-time study at Purdue and achieved at least a 3.0 graduation index. Recipients are selected on the basis of their contributions to the university and the community. Each honoree receives a crystal paperweight commemorating the award and $3,345 as an acknowledgment of their superior leadership abilities, scholarship and appreciation of basic American values.

Kelsey L. Tuholski, of LaPorte, Indiana, who majored in crop science in the College of Agriculture received the Amelia Earhart Scholarship. This scholarship was reinstituted in 1999 after Doreen Buranich Simmons, a 1971 Purdue graduate, committed to see the scholarship return to Purdue after learning of its demise in the 1970s. Her gift became the catalyst for Joan Russell Dudding to honor the university and Amelia Earhart by funding the scholarship on an ongoing basis. The Amelia Earhart scholarship is awarded to a junior or senior with a GPA of 3.20 or higher who demonstrates leadership, determination, ability and potential in academic and/or community activities. 

Writer: Amy Patterson Neubert, 765-494-9723, apatterson@purdue.edu

Source: Nicole Zimmerman, commencement coordinator, 765-494-6157, nzimmerm@purdue.edu

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