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Four graduates take top student honors at Commencement

5/12/2002
May 13, 2002

Reflecting the emphasis on student success by Austin Peay's faculty and staff, four graduates took top honors during Commencement ceremonies May 10.

The William McClure Drane Award goes to the student chosen by the faculty as the top overall baccalaureate graduate. The faculty also selects the recipient of the Harvill-Civitan Award, which is based on character, scholarship, leadership and service to the University. Mr. Governor and Madam Governor nominees are evaluated on their contributions to APSU through leadership, diversity and service.

All of this year's recipients are Tennessee residents. Kristi Holancin, McKenzie, received the Drane Award. Clarksville resident Martha Eckert was presented the Harvill-Civitan Award. Madame Governor is Lesley Elaine Hewitt, Springfield, while Dennis Devine, Mount Juliet, is Mr. Governor.

Graduating with a perfect 4.0 GPA, Holancin received the Academic, Academic Honors and Presidential scholarships, as well as Alpha Delta Pi Scholastic Award for four consecutive years. She was a member of the President's Emerging Leaders Program and was named to the Dean's List all four years.

She received the Tri Beta Senior Biology Award and was named Outstanding Greek Athlete her sophomore year. She was tapped to membership in Beta Beta Beta Biological Honor Society, Omicron Delta Kappa Leadership Society and Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society. She held several leadership positions in Alpha Delta Pi Sorority.

She was a work-study student at APSU and also worked at a local restaurant. Despite these demands, Holancin found time for volunteer service. In addition to such on-campus efforts as "Help an Elf," she volunteered at Methodist Hospital in McKenzie and at Clarksville's Gateway Hospital. She was a fundraiser for Saint Jude Children's Miracle Network, Camp Rainbow Dream Factory and the Red Cross.

Chosen to receive the Harvill-Civitan Award, Eckert is a member of Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society and treasurer of Sigma Delta Pi. To attend APSU, she received several scholarships, including the Academic Honors Scholarship.

This Dean's List Scholar participates in the Voices of Triumph Choir and is an usher for AP Playhouse. She was named the Heritage Program's Outstanding First-Year Student and Outstanding Graduate and the Outstanding Graduate in Foreign Languages.

A four-year member of the National Peace Corps Association, she worked as a volunteer for the Tennessee State Senior Games, Queen City Road Race, American Heart Association Telethon and Clarksville Riverfest.

Hewitt is an outstanding example of the best attributes of Madam Governor. Her 4.0 GPA indicates a commitment to academic excellence, as does her membership in such honoraries as Phi Kappa Phi, Omicron Delta Kappa, Sigma Beta Delta, Gamma Beta Phi and the Financial Association Honor Society. At this year's Academic Honors Day, she received the Outstanding Graduate in Accounting Award, Wall Street Journal Outstanding Business Student Award and Financial Executives Institute Award.

Her leadership is reflected in her service as president and secretary of the Institute of Management Accountants, treasurer of Chi Omega Women's Fraternity and treasurer of the APSU National Panhellenic Council.

She is a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity and participates in the Robertson County Relay for Life. She prepared mercy kits for Afghan children, adopts an Angel Tree Child each year, delivers Thanksgiving meals to people in need and always participates in the North Crest Medical Center Parkinson's Disease Walk-A-Thon. Locally, she raised money for Crisis Call Line, Girls Home, Safehouse and the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Devine, APSU's 2002 Mister Governor, has served as executive secretary of the Student Government Association and assisted Austin Peay as a member of the Governors Ambassadors. He served as president of Alpha Kappa Psi and is a member of Alpha Lambda Delta and Sigma Phi Epsilon.

He volunteered his time to help with many service projects, both on campus and off. In Fall 2001, he was an active and vocal participant in a three-day Diversity Workshop.