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Community Voices, May 2015

The month of May is a time to reflect on and celebrate the many accomplishments of our outstanding students at Southwest Minnesota State University.  It is the culmination of not just one academic year, but for many of our students it is the time when they reach that pinnacle of their college career and achieve their academic goal - a college degree. This month 695 students were rewarded for their hard work and commitment as they received their various degrees from SMSU. Along the way many of them took the opportunity to excel beyond the classroom and were involved in a club, organization or co-curricular activity to broaden their Southwest Experience.

Senior Nick Dorman was honored at the American Forensic Association's National Individual Events Tournament by being named to the 2014 All-American Team.  Nick was one of only 16 students from around the country to receive this prestigious honor. He competed in five events at the national competition including Informative Speaking, Communication Analysis, Prose Interpretation and Dramatic Interpretation. Nick graduated this spring with a double major in Communication Studies and Chemistry.  To top off his time at SMSU, he was also selected by the SMSU Alumni Association as the Outstanding Senior at our commencement ceremony.

The SMSU Enactus team, formerly know as Students in Free Enterprise, finished in the top eight at the National Competition in St. Louis, Missouri matching the team's highest placing ever.  The team also received the first place Walmart Women’s Economic Empowerment Project award for their "Bright Future" project, which centers around helping individuals with troubled pasts find employment.  SMSU was represented on the presentation team by Lee Holt from Windom; Amanda Heesch from Sioux Falls, SD; Aaron Lange from Marshall; Amy Marroquin from Carver; Craig Fischer from Ghent; and Paige Patterson from Eagan.

It was an incredible year for the SMSU Women's volleyball team and they continue to make headlines. Junior student-athlete Whitney Burmeister from Lakefield was named the 2015 NSIC Willis R. Kelly Scholar-Athlete Award recipient.  This award, now in its 30th year, recognizes the NSIC's top female scholar-athlete. Whitney is not only a great player on the court, but she is an excellent student as well, earning a 3.98 grade point average majoring in exercise science.  She has been on the Dean's List every semester at SMSU and has been an Academic All-NSIC honoree the last two years.

These are just a few of the remarkable accomplishments of our students this year. We are proud of all of our students at SMSU. Our hope for each of them is that they come to SMSU and not only receive an excellent education, but that they have a full, meaningful experience in which they develop into great citizens and future leaders.

Published in the Marshall Independent, May 28, 2015

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