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Four graduates take top honors at APSU commencement

May 21, 2003

Four students were singled out for special honors from among the 680 candidates for graduation during the May 9 Commencement ceremony.

Katrine Tidemann Jensen, Nashville, received the coveted Drane Award. Brooke Armistead of Elmwood, Tenn., was presented the Halbert Harvill-Civitan Citizenship Award. Todd A. Staley of Clarksville was named Mr. Governor, and Louise Morales, Smyrna, is this years Madame Governor.
May 21, 2003

Four students were singled out for special honors from among the 680 candidates for graduation during the May 9 Commencement ceremony.

Katrine Tidemann Jensen, Nashville, received the coveted Drane Award. Brooke Armistead of Elmwood, Tenn., was presented the Halbert Harvill-Civitan Citizenship Award. Todd A. Staley of Clarksville was named Mr. Governor, and Louise Morales, Smyrna, is this year's Madame Governor.

The William McClure Drane Award is presented to the student chosen by the faculty as the top baccalaureate graduate. Faculty selection of the Halbert Harvill-Civitan Citizenship Award is based on character, scholarship, leadership and service to the University.

Nominees for Mr. Governor and Madame Governor are evaluated on their contributions to APSU through leadership, diversity and service. The Governor Awards go to graduating seniors with a 3.0 cumulative GPA who applied for the honor and were selected following an interview by a committee of faculty, staff and students.

Jensen, this year's Drane Award recipient, graduated with an overall 3.92 GPA and a major in chemistry. She served as president of Chi Epsilon Mu, the fifth-largest chemistry club in the nation. She coordinated 14 “Kids & Chemistry” shows during her senior year, in addition to preparing and leading “Kids & Chemistry” training sessions for 35 new students. She served as vice president of Del Square Psi physics club during her sophomore year.

For four consecutive years, Jensen received the Academic Honors Scholarship. She also received the Academic Tutoring Scholarship, the Durward Harris Premedical Scholarship and the John A. Hageman Award for the highest GPA in the biology department during her junior year. She received the 2002 American Chemical Society Award in Analytical Chemistry and the 2003 American Chemical Society Award in Physical Chemistry.

This year she won first place from the Tennessee Academy of Science for presentation of her research. She made scholarly presentations at the American Chemical Society (ACS) Meeting in New Orleans and the Student Affiliates of ACS at Murray State University.

She is a member of the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, Pi Mu Epsilon Mathematical Honor Society, TriBeta biology honor society and Gamma Beta Phi honorary.

Jensen was a four-year volunteer at Room in the Inn for the homeless. She volunteered as a helper during harvest on farms of low-income families and helped build a community playground. She was a mentor to a child with mental and social disabilities. She raised $1,500 for the American Leukemia Society by participating in a marathon.

Armistead, recipient of this year's Halbert Harvill Civitan-Citizenship Award, is the daughter of Steve and Rene Armistead, Elmwood. During this year's NCAA tournament, she burst into the national spotlight as the never-say-die leader of the women's basketball team. Yet Armistead's academic prowess, leadership skills and service to others equal her athletic accomplishments.

A four-year powerhouse on APSU's basketball team, Armistead was picked by the San Antonio Stars during the third round of the Women's National Basketball Association draft, becoming the first OVC player ever to be selected in the draft.

During her last three years, she was named to the first team of the Ohio Valley Conference. This season she was chosen as the OVC Player of the year and a Verizon Academic All-American. She was named Verizon Academic All-District during her previous three years at APSU. She was named to the Commissioner's Honor Roll, President's List, Dean's List and the Athletic Director's Honor Roll.

Graduating with a 3.8 GPA, Armistead was named the OVC Women's Basketball Scholar-Athlete. She also received the Governors Club Academic Achievement Award, which goes to the graduating senior with the highest overall GPA, and was named this year's Joy Award recipient.

Active in her church, Armistead was a four-year volunteer for Special Olympics and the local Read-to-Kids Program. She was a volunteer for Adopt-a-Highway, a community-wide clean-up effort, and she assisted with APSU's Plant the Campus Red initiative.

Mr. Governor for 2003, Todd A. Staley, is the son of Dean and Melva Staley of Clarksville. A political science major, he graduates with a 3.7 cumulative GPA and an Honors diploma. He plans to attend law school and perhaps enter the political arena in the future.

Staley has been active in his fraternity, Kappa Sigma, serving in numerous offices, including as this year's president. In addition to his activities within the local Kappa Sigma chapter, he was appointed by the Supreme Executive Committee (national) as a legal intern for the Kappa Sigma Legal Commission, and he was elected to the Undergraduate Advisory Committee (national).

He was active in Gamma Beta Phi Honor and Service Organization and was tapped to Alpha Lambda Delta freshman honorary, serving as secretary. He also was named to Pi Sigma Alpha, Omicron Delta Kappa and Order of Omega, all honorary societies.

He has served since May 2001 as a Student Government Association senator. He has been active in College Democrats and Governors Ambassadors. He was a New Student Orientation leader and now is co-coordinator of the APSU Transitions Program, supervising 20 orientation leaders, developing group projects and instituting a training program.

Among his many honors, Staley received Awards for Academic Excellence for the past four years and was chosen Outstanding Student Leader and Outstanding Greek Leader in 2001-02. He was named Greek Man of the Year and Brother of the Year, both for 2002-03. He received the 2003 Governor's Pride Leadership Award and the 2003 John Burgess Award for Excellence in Political Science.

Staley has an extensive list of worthwhile community projects in which he has invested his time and energy. A few examples are collecting money for the American Leukemia Society, donating blood to the American Red Cross, participating in First Christian Church's food drive and raising money to help injured animals for the Humane Society.

Asked what criteria he would use to choose Mr. Governor, Staley said, “Mr. Governor should…represent the best of the student body as a well-rounded individual. A high grade-point average… with high campus involvement. Mr. Governor should be proud to be an Austin Peay student and eager to promote the University.”

This year's Madame Governor, Louise Morales, was the recipient of the Drane Award at the December 2002 Commencement. Morales was in the news recently as one of only five recipients of the 2003 Harold Love Community Service Award, which is sponsored by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission. The award honors five students for community service and leadership.

The daughter of Maureen Boom of Smyrna and formerly of Clarksville, Morales is pursing a master's degree in corporate communication at APSU. Last December, she received a bachelor's degree in computer science and information systems.

Morales is editor-in-chief of the student newspaper, The All State. She served as president of the Student Government Association and, in that capacity, was on the President's Cabinet. Also, as SGA president, she was chosen as the student representative to the Tennessee Board of Regents.

In Spring 2002, she was named Student Leader of the Year, Student Greek Leader of the Year and recipient of the Vice President's Excellence in Leadership Award.

A consistent Dean's List scholar, Morales was president of Pi Nu Spanish Honor Society, Alpha Lambda Delta and Order of Omega honor societies and Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honorary. She is a member of the International Student Organization and Governors Ambassadors, in addition to being an Orientation leader.

A few of her community volunteer efforts include assistance with the Spanish Language Festival, Story Time at local elementary schools, the Teddy Bear Drive for the Clarksville-Montgomery County Fire Department and Special Olympics.

Asked why she would like to be chosen Madame Governor, Morales said, “I have devoted myself to Austin Peay these past five years and have loved every minute of it. Austin Peay has given me something no other university could havea family. It would be an honor to be chosen as Madame Governor.”