University News

WIU Names College Scholars, Academic Convocation Speaker

April 30, 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 for their high achievement at the Spring 2003 Academic Honors Convocation on Friday, May 9. 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 graduates who have earned academic distinction throughout their WIU career also will be recognized at the Convocation.

Lacie Westbay.Lacie Westbay from Knoxville, a finance major with Pre-Law Honors and Spanish minors, has been named the Honors Convocation student speaker. Her speech is titled "How Did We Get Here; Where Can We Go?"

"This year, I felt that it would be best to lighten to mood of the speech," Westbay said. "I intend to deliver a motivational, reflective speech noting the obstacles we, as Honors students, have faced and overcome. In addition, I will note a few of the personal character traits that have been derived from our experiences and how that will make us successful."

Westbay is co-founder and president of the Legal Association of Western Illinois University Students (LAW) and co-founder and vice president of Western’s Golden Key International Honors Society; president of Beta Gamma Sigma; president of the Student Honors Association; a member of the Illinois Centennial Honors Council; secretary of Western’s chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management; and is an active member of Phi Kappa Phi and Mortar Board. Westbay is graduating in three years as a Pre-law Honors Scholar with Magna Cum Laude academic distinction. She will marry in July and enter Marquette University Law School this fall to study for a career in international corporate law. Lacie is the daughter of Steve and Jeannie Westbay.

James James "JC" Gumbart from Macomb, majoring in physics and mathematics with a minor in computer science, is the College of Arts and Sciences College Scholar, a Summa Cum Laude (highest honors) graduate, an Honors Scholar and the Physics Departmental Scholar. He is among only 52 students nationwide - - and the sixth consecutive WIU student - - to receive a Phi Kappa Phi Graduate Fellowship, which includes an $8,000 stipend toward the first year of graduate study.

Gumbart has been researching magnetics, currents and magnetic fields with physics faculty mentors Mark Boley and James Rabchuk. He has presented his research findings at seminars and conferences including most recently at the National American Physical Society Conference in Austin, TX. He has served as vice president of the Society of Physics Students, treasurer of Western's Mathematical Association of America, a research and lab assistant, a physics tutor and is a member of Sigma Pi Sigma and Kappa Mu Epsilon. JC is the son of Jim and Cindy Gumbart. He will begin working toward a doctorate in physics at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in Fall 2003.

Troy Brainard.Troy Brainard from German Valley, a computer science major and mathematics minor, is the College of Business and Technology College Scholar, a Summa Cum Laude graduate, an Honors Scholar and the Computer Science Departmental Scholar. He is a member of Phi Kappa Theta Fraternity and has been inducted into three prestigious honor societies: Phi Kappa Phi, Golden Key and Upsilon Pi Epsilon. Brainard is also a member of the Army National Guard and is a petroleum supply specialist for Blackhawk helicopters. Troy is the son of Neal and Lisa Brainard.

Laura Powers.Laura Powers from Macomb, an elementary education major, is the College of Education and Human Services College Scholar, a Summa Cum Laude graduate, an Honors Scholar and the Elementary Education Departmental Scholar. Throughout her Western career Powers has received more than 10 academic excellence scholarships as well as music talent grants. She was a four-year student worker in Western's curriculum and instruction department, tutored for the Math Education Resource Center (MERO) and served as a counselor for Western's Summer Music Camps and as a faculty assistant for Western's Girls Plus Math Camp. Powers played in several WIU music groups including Wind Ensemble, and Marching Band and is a member of the Student Education Association, Alpha Upsilon Alpha, Kappa Delta Pi and Phi Kappa Phi. She will marry in June before settling in the Chicago area to pursue teaching. Future plans include earning a master's degree in reading. Laura is daughter of Don and Kathy Powers. Her father is a professor in WIU's curriculum and instruction department.

Clint Singley.Clint Singley from Santa Fe, NM, a music business major with a marketing minor, is the College of Fine Arts and Communication College Scholar, a Summa Cum Laude graduate and the Music Departmental Scholar. Singley served an internship this spring in the National Council Auditions office of the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. He interned in the Donor Benefits and Stewardship program of the Santa Fe Opera in Summer 2002 and will intern again there this summer. A four-year Presidential Scholar at Western, Singley studied piano, organ and voice; performed in numerous ensembles including Madrigal Singers and Western's top choral ensemble, University Singers; sang roles in the opera workshop and was a semifinalist in the 2000 National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) state competition. He has been active in the Wesley Foundation's Aldersgate summer ministry team and Praise Band. Singley serves as treasurer of Western's Music Business Association and is a member of Phi Kappa Phi, Opera America and the American Choral Directors Association. His future plans include earning an MBA degree. Clint is the son of Stan Singley and Kathy Parkhill of Santa Fe, NM.

Carla Oliver.Carla Oliver from Roseville, a secretary IV in Western's foreign languages and literatures department, is the School of Extended and Continuing Education College Scholar. She is in Western's Board of Trustees Bachelor of Arts degree program, which offers students the options of applying for academic credit by preparing a prior learning portfolio, successfully completing proficiency exams and combining prior college credit with individually selected courses to create a personalized program of study. Oliver was able to complete her associate's degree at Carl Sandburg College while working toward the BOT-BA degree at Western. In addition to her work at WIU, Oliver works part-time as a pharmacy technician and as an elected clerk in Roseville. She is a member of the Western Organization for Women (WOW); Phi Kappa Phi, Alpha Sigma Lambda and Phi Theta Kappa honor societies; and a WIU Civil Service Dean's List honoree. Carla has two children: Rebekah Oliver of Springfield, who will earn a master's degree the same day her mother earns her bachelor's degree; and Ryan Oliver of Roseville, a full-time worker and student at Carl Sandburg College.

"The many options of study in the BOT-BA program have allowed me to reach what seemed at first an unattainable goal," Oliver said. "It was a privilege to learn from many knowledgeable, kind and supportive faculty at WIU; and I enjoyed the interactions with the 'younger' students and other nontraditional students in the classroom environment. I'm looking forward to continue working at WIU and enrolling in graduate courses."

Joshua Smith.Joshua Smith of Loves Park, a philosophy major with Pre-Law Honors and Spanish minors, is the Illinois Centennial Honors College Scholar, a Summa Cum Laude graduate, an Honors Scholar and the Philosophy Departmental Scholar. He earned the prestigious Keith Webb Memorial Pre-Law Honors Scholarship and received the College of Arts and Sciences Student Council Honorary Recognition Award for Humanities. This spring a panel of his peers named Smith the Outstanding Moot Court Attorney at the annual statewide Model Illinois Government simulation. Last year he and a student colleague were named the Outstanding Moot Court Team. Smith is co-founder of the Legal Association of WIU, serving as its executive director of financial affairs; president of the Student Council of the College of Arts and Sciences; and vice president, and former president, of the Associated Students of Philosophy. He also has volunteered in the office of State Representative Rich Myers and Western's Disability Support Services. Smith will enter law school this fall to work toward his goal of being a practicing attorney, possibly in constitutional law. Joshua is the son of Dennis and Cynthia Smith.

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