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Three grads walk away with top honors

5/14/2001
May 14, 2001

For the first time in history, the top four student awards were presented today during Austin Peay State University Commencement exercises.

In the past, the Drane Award was the only student award given at graduation, with the Harvill Civitan Award and the Mr. and Madame Governor Awards presented during other end-of-year ceremonies.

The William McClure Drane Award is presented to the student chosen by the APSU faculty as the top baccalaureate graduate. Faculty selection of the recipient of the 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.

Kimberly Grant, Clarksville, was doubly honored, receiving both the coveted Drane Award, as well this year's Madame Governor Award. Michael Wall, Clarksville, was named Mr. Governor. The recipient of the Harvill Civitan Award was Melanie Arnold, Erin.
Grant, the daughter of Danny and Kaye Grant, graduated with a 3.97 GPA, majoring in language and literature with a minor in communication. She was on the Mock Trial Team for four years, serving as team captain, vice president and president. She won many individual awards in regional mock trial competitions, including Best Attorney. She also was assistant coach for the Northeast High School.

Grant was a President's Emerging Leaders Scholar, Dean's List Scholar and a recipient of the Presidential and Claiborne-Woodward scholarships. A Governors Ambassador and Homecoming Queen in 1999, she was a member of Chi Omega Fraternity's local chapter, serving also through the National Panhellenic Council.

A member of the varsity women's tennis team, Grant was named Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year and received the Ohio Valley Conference Academic Medal of Honor.

She was a volunteer for the GORE 2000 Campaign and worked as a White House intern with Vice President and Mrs. Al Gore. She also worked as a volunteer for Flying High, Afternoon with the Arts and the Read Aloud Program.

Grant participated in study-abroad opportunities in England and Quebec. She was a member of several honoraries, including Phi Kappa Phi, Omicron Delta Kappa, Sigma Tau Delta English Honorary and Laurel Wreath.

This year's Mr. Governor, Michael Wall, is the son of Carl and Sue Wall of Clarksville. A political science major, he completed undergraduate coursework in December and has been working in the state legislature in Nashville.

During APSU's annual Awards Day in late April, Wall received a fellowship from the National Lambda Delta Academic Honor Societyóone of only 20 students nationwide selected to receive this prestigious award.

The $3,000 fellowship will be used to attend law school. Although Wall has been accepted to several law schools, he is waiting until all letters of acceptance are received before he decides where he will enroll.

Wall was president of the Student Government Association (SGA) during his senior year at Austin Peay. As such, he was appointed by Austin Peay's president to serve as the student representative on several campus committees. As SGA representative on the President's Cabinet, he garnered the respect of other Cabinet members, including Dr. Ronald Gupton, professor of mathematics, who represented the faculty as Faculty Senate president on the Cabinet.

In his letter of nomination, Gupton wrote: "I am impressed by how broad (Michael's) interests are and the high quality of his work. For one to be as involved outside the classroom as Michael has been and to produce near perfect scholarly work is truly extraordinary."

Melanie Arnold, daughter of Mary and Barry Arnold of Erin, earned a baccalaureate degree in nursing. She was a Dean's List Scholar and Academic Honors recipient. She received the Gateway Medical Center Scholarship, Martha Caldwell Charlet Scholarship and the Goodlark Educational Foundation Scholarship.

She served a two-year term as president of the Student Nurses Association (SNA) and was a delegate to the Tennessee Association of Student Nurses and a volunteer for the National Student Nurses Association Convention. In addition to numerous church-related activities, Arnold was a member of the University Programming Council. A varsity cheerleader for one year, she played several intramural sports.

Her list of community projects includes performing with the Christians in Action Community Choir and working with the SNA's Red River Project, Food Drive and Distribution project and Help-an-Elf program.