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Matt Barr is pictured holding his Lincoln Academy of Illinois Student Laureate certificate. Barr is joined by (left) Assistant Vice President for Student Services/Director of Athletics Tim Van Alstine and College of Business and Technology Dean Tom Erekson. Photo courtesy of The Lincoln Academy of Illinois.
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Matthew Barr Named WIU's Lincoln Student Laureate of Illinois

December 9, 2009


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Matthew Barr (Belvidere, IL), a premier Western Illinois University student-athlete, is the University's recipient of the 2009-2010 Lincoln Academy of Illinois Student Laureate Award.

The prestigious Lincoln Academy of Illinois Student Laureate Award is presented annually to an outstanding senior from each of Illinois' four-year degree-granting institutions to honor them for overall academic excellence and extracurricular activities.

Barr, a senior accountancy major and a Fighting Leathernecks quarterback, received the Student Laureate Medallion, a certificate of achievement and a check for $150 at an awards ceremony Nov. 7 in the Old State Capitol in Springfield. It included articipation in a processional of state, civic and academic leaders, with an appearance by Governor Pat Quinn, president of the academy, who presented the awards. Barr also participated in a luncheon held at the Executive Mansion.

"It is truly an honor to be named Western Illinois University's Student Laureate. It means the world to me to know people are paying attention to the hard work I have put into school and my extracurricular activities over the years," Barr said.

"Being a student-athlete at a Division I institution (Football Championship Subdivision, formerly known as Division I-AA) has allowed me to both learn the necessary skills to become an exemplary student and reinforce the attributes that have been instilled in me since I was young. Among these attributes are leadership, initiative, time management and a competitive drive that will not let me settle for mediocrity," he added. "This kind of award feeds my desire to work more diligently in the pursuit of a Master's of Accountancy degree at Western, and to have a successful career."

Barr, voted a team captain in 2008 and 2009, has been the starting quarterback since the 2007 season. He started four games this year, but he suffered a season-ending injury against Southern Illinois University, forcing him to the sidelines for the remaining seven games of the 2009 season. Barr was awarded player of the week honors this fall by the College Sporting News National Football Championship and the Missouri Valley Football Conference after the season's opening win at Sam Houston State, where he set the second-best passing game yardage in Western Illinois history, throwing for 437 yards and three touchdowns.

During his sophomore year, Barr lead the league's best rushing offense and its second-best scoring offense, while throwing nine touchdowns and completing 51 percent of his passes. He was named to the 2008 CoSIDA Academic All-District Team and to the Missouri Valley Football Conference All-Academic First Team; and he as awarded the Robert Blaha Sr. Scholarship for the outstanding combination of academics, team leadership and overall contribution to the team.

As a redshirt-freshman, Barr was named to the Gateway Conference All-Newcomer Team, while ranking high among WIU freshman and single-season awards. He was also the winner of the Dr. Frank Sorenson Award for Academic Achievement, given to the Leatherneck with the highest cumulative grade point average, and he received a Gateway Commissioner's Academic Excellence Award.

"Matt has definitely mastered time management. His hard work, initiative, perseverance and dedication will be driving forces behind him achieving success in all areas of life," said Susanna Pendergast, accountancy instructor and graduate Master of Accountancy program adviser.

Barr has been involved in SCIMA (Student Chapter of the Institute of Management Accountants), where he has participated in volunteer activities and weekly business and professional meetings. His volunteer work includes teaching Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD) at St. James Catholic Parish (Belvidere, IL) and tutoring accounting students and teammates. Barr has also served as an assistant coach for football and basketball clinics for six-to-18 year-old youth.

He is a member of Beta Alpha Psi, the international honorary organization for financial information professionals; and he was part of the Spring 2009 team that placed second in the Best Practices Competition at the Beta Alpha Psi regional meeting in Indianapolis. Barr plans to continue his graduate education in accountancy at Western Illinois University, after graduating in Spring 2010.

"The accounting department at WIU has helped me mature professionally. My time in accounting classes, Beta Alpha Psi and SCIMA has shown me what is required of accountants and of CPA's in the business world when it comes to knowledge of the field, career advancement and ethics," Barr said.

He is the son of John and Pamela Barr of Belvidere.


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