University News

WIU Names College Scholars, Academic Convocation Speaker

December 8, 2003


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MACOMB, IL - - Six Western Illinois University graduating seniors have been named College Scholars for their overall academic excellence.

They will be recognized at the Fall 2003 Academic Honors Convocation, scheduled for 4 p.m. Friday, Dec. 12 in Western Hall. Each Cecile A. Christison Sterrett College Scholar will receive a medallion and a $150 cash award from the WIU Foundation. Departmental Scholars, Honors Scholars and graduate candidates who have earned academic distinction throughout their Western Illinois career also will be recognized at the Convocation.











Hilary Snodgrass.

Hilary Snodgrass.

Whitney Wooderchak.

Whitney Wooderchak.

Natalie Wells.

Natalie Wells.

Brad Diebold.

Brad Diebold.

Jason Hawkins.

Jason Hawkins.

Katie Fox.

Katie Fox.



Hilary Snodgrass from Geneseo, the Honors Scholar in management and a Summa Cum Laude (highest honors) graduate, has been named the Honors Convocation student speaker. Her speech is titled “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles.”

Snodgrass earned numerous academic honors and was involved in several professional organizations throughout her Western Illinois career. She is the current president of Golden Key International Honor Society, treasurer of Sigma Iota Epsilon honorary management fraternity, membership chair of Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Society and holds membership in Western’s Hospitality Administration Association, Western Management Association and Society for Human Resource Management. Hilary is the daughter of Barry and Lorrie Snodgrass.

Whitney Wooderchak from Auburn, a chemistry major and microbiology minor, is the College of Arts and Sciences College Scholar, the Chemistry Departmental Scholar and Honors Scholar and a Summa Cum Laude graduate. She was also named Western Illinois’ Student Laureate of the Lincoln Academy of Illinois, a statewide honor, earlier this fall. Wooderchak was a member of Western’s Illinois Centennial Honors College, conducted biochemical research, was treasurer of the Chemistry Club, held membership and served in several honor societies and participated in the Marching Leathernecks Band and Jazz Band. The daughter of Wood and Kitty Wooderchak, Whitney will begin her Ph.D. studies in biochemistry at Utah State University in January 2004. Her goals include university teaching and research.

Natalie Wells from Mount Morris, a management major, is the College of Business and Technology (CBT) College Scholar, the Management Departmental and Honors Scholar and a Summa Cum Laude graduate. The CBT Lincoln Laureate nominee, Wells has served as treasurer of the Western Management Association, secretary of Sigma Iota Epsilon honorary management fraternity and communications coordinator for Inter-Hall Council. She was a member of Western’s Illinois Centennial Honors College and completed a study-abroad semester in The Netherlands. The daughter of Lenny and Barbara Wells, Natalie will be interning with Walt Disney World, Orlando, FL, following graduation. Her goals include working for an international business.

Brad Diebold from Oswego, a law enforcement and justice administration major with minors in French, sociology and military science, is the College of Education and Human Services College Scholar and a Cum Laude (honors) graduate. A former active duty U.S. Army infantry soldier (1997-2000), Diebold is a Cadet Battalion S3 officer in Western’s Bulldog Battalion with duties for planning and operations of cadet training. He recently was recognized as the General Creighton Abrams Award winner as the top ROTC cadet in the nation. Diebold will be commissioned a second lieutenant in a Dec. 12 ceremony on campus. His career plans include becoming a military intelligence officer, pursuing a master’s degree and eventually working as an agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Brad is the son of Wayne and Donna Diebold.

Jason Hawkins from Antioch, a music/choral education and trumpet performance major, is the College of Fine Arts and Communication (COFAC) College Scholar, the Music Departmental and Honors Scholar and a Summa Cum Laude graduate. The COFAC Lincoln Laureate nominee and member of Western’s Illinois Centennial Honors College, Hawkins has served on the music department student council and talent grant committee and has been part of the University Wind Ensemble, University Singers, Jazz Studio Orchestra, Madrigals, Opera Workshop, Marching Band and Concert Band. His service activities include president of the WIU chapter of the American Choral Directors Association, president of the WIU Choral Union, music director and warden of the WIU chapter of Phi Mu Alpha. Hawkins also has performed with the Knox-Galesburg Symphony Orchestra, the Rockford Concert Band, Wheaton Municipal Band and the St. Charles Singers. The son of Alan and Christine Hawkins, Jason plans to teach choir at the high school level before earning a master’s and doctorate in choral conducting.

The Rev. Dwight Ford, originally from Rock Island and presently a student in the Harvard Divinity School (Cambridge, MA), is the School of Extended and Continuing Education College Scholar. He is in the Western’s Board of Trustees Bachelor of Arts degree program, which offers adult students options to create a personalized program of study. Ford was previously an associate pastor of the Greater Antioch Baptist Church in Rock Island, where he has been an active community member as part of the Longview Clergy Association, Longview Mobilization Project, Community Pride Organization, the Hawthorne Irving Elementary School Guest Speaker Program and Boy Scouts of America urban youth specialist. As a participant in Western’s 2002 Learning the Lead program, a four-week intensive academic program followed by an eight-week field placement with professional mentors, Ford worked at U.S. Congressman Lane Evans’ Rock Island Office. A U.S. Marine Corps veteran who served in the Persian Gulf War, Ford’s future plans include developing a non-profit organization dedicated to community renewal, economic development, excellence in education, political consciousness, cultural identification and spiritual enlightenment.

Katie Fox from the 5700 block of S. Nagle, Chicago, is the College Scholar in the Illinois Centennial Honors College, the Elementary Education Departmental and Honors Scholar and a Summa Cum Laude graduate. She has served as president of Western’s Early Childhood Organization for Students and membership chair for Mortar Board, was a tutor of the America Reads Program and a volunteer for the New Parent Program at MacArthur Early Childhood Center in Macomb. Fox was a presenter at the WIU Pre-K-8 Science Update Conference and was nominated to receive an Outstanding Preservice Teaching Award. Fox is currently student teaching in a state-funded Pre-K program for at-risk children. Her goals are to teach Pre-K or kindergarten in Chicago.

Posted By: WIU News (U-Relations@wiu.edu)
Office of University Relations