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Honoring exceptional students and donors at the annual Student Recognition Brunch

by The College of Education / Nov 7, 2013

Honoring exceptional students

Each year the College hosts the Student Recognition Brunch to celebrate the achievements of our students and the generosity of our alumni and friends. This year, 132 awards totaling $318,000 in scholarships and awards were given to undergraduate and graduate students.

Dean Mary Kalantzis thanked both students and alumni for their support and their passion. In her comments, she celebrated a spirit of giving: the way students give their all in pursuit of their dreams, the way faculty give students valuable knowledge and skills, how families give their love and support, and in the way donors give of their financial resources.

"All of these gifts have a powerful impact in these students’ lives," said Kalantzis. "Your generosity tells a story of belief -- belief in the work and mission of the College, belief in the amazing potential and future of the students in this room."

Throughout the event, students connected with their donors -- many of whom are alumni of the College -- over conversations about their plans for their future, their favorite professors, and their appreciation for the financial support.

Connie Atkins, who created the John McGill Memorial Scholarship and the Connie McGill Atkins Scholarship for undergraduate students, has not missed a student recognition event in all the years since she began her support of the College.

“I think the education of our young people is the most important thing that we do," said Atkins. "We have to support all students at all levels in every way we can. This is a wonderful way to encourage future teachers."

The support these donors provide makes it possible for Education students to pursue their dreams -- to conduct research, to travel for study abroad, and to become teacher leaders in their communities around the globe. To learn more about how to support students and programs, contact Lisa Denson-Rives at or 217-300-2752. To make a gift to the College, use this online form.