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Honors College recognizes students, faculty and alum in annual Convocation Ceremony

Honors students at the 2024 Van D. and Barbara B. Fishback Honors College Convocation.
Honors students at the 2024 Van D. and Barbara B. Fishback Honors College Convocation in the Woster Celebration Hall.

Each year, the Van D. and Barbara B. Fishback Honors College at South Dakota State University hosts a convocation to recognize students, faculty, staff and alumni for their contributions to and achievements in the college, the SDSU campus and beyond. 

This year’s convocation ceremony was held March 21 at the Woster Celebration Hall. 

The Honors College offers a flexible option for students of any major to participate in its curriculum and programs. From a living-learning community on campus to student organizations and research opportunities, the Honors College at SDState offers opportunities for students to expand their educational opportunities. 

Awards and recognitions are given to individuals who represent the values and mission of the Honors College in their studies, work and actions. 

Dan Kemp, professor emeritus in mathematics, was awarded the General Myrna Hennrich Williamson Award in Honors, an award highlighting innovation and excellence in honors education. 

The namesake of the award is Brig. Gen. Myrna H. Williamson, a Gregory native who retired as the senior female general in the U.S. Army and graduated from SDSU with a degree in English. 

Kemp’s 42-year career included teaching the honors calculus sequence, for which he was known for his engagement with students. Kemp and his wife, Michele, have endowed both a scholarship and professorship within the Honors College, leaving an even larger legacy on the program. 

Student awards

The Land-Grant Mission Award honors students who exhibit a clear commitment to the land-grant mission of SDSU. Awarded students have demonstrated the values of outreach, education and access. 

Hunter Eide and Nicole Schilling with their Land-grant Mission Awards.
Hunter Eide and Nicole Schilling with their Land-Grant Mission Awards. 

The 2024 honorees were Hunter Eide and Nicole Schilling. 

Eide, a senior human biology and pre-medicine major, serves as a Wintrode tutor and Supplemental Instruction leader. He is also a member of the first cohort of the Justice Challenge, dedicating time and experience in pursuit of the prestigious Hult Prize. 

Schilling, a senior food science major, is also active in the Justice Challenge and serves as a founding member and president of the Jack’s Cupboard Student Team. She has presented on the outcomes of Jack’s Cupboard at several conferences and venues. 

The Honors College also recognized students for representing the college through ethics. The Honors College Student Ethic Award was given to Carley Mullins and Noah Mursu. 

 Noah Mursu and Carley Mullins with their Honors College Student Ethics Award.
 Noah Mursu and Carley Mullins with their Honors College Student Ethics Awards. 

Mullins is a junior nursing and Spanish major who has a record of service in the college. He has served as a freshman representative, secretary and vice president of the Honors College Student Organization as well as a student coach for LeadState. 

She is also active in the SDSU Public Humanities Initiative, teaching Spanish to community members. 

Mursu, senior human development and family studies major with a pre-ministerial specialization, has served as an Honors College Orientation teaching assistant and the Dean’s Student Advisory Council and Midwest Honors Council. He is also active with Oasis Leadership Team and GracePoint Student Ministries as well as working with sensory friendly play at the Children’s Museum of South Dakota.

Awards and opportunities possible through support 

The Friend of the Van D. and Barbara B. Fishback Honors College recognizes those whose support makes the student’s opportunities possible in the college. 

This year, Dian and Harlan Stai were recognized for establishing the Stai Scholars Program. Harlan, a 1969 pharmacy graduate, and Dian have been supporters of the college and SDSU students through the Dian Graves Owen Foundation. 

To date, the Stai Honors Scholars and the Stai Honors Access Scholars have been awarded nearly $600,000 in scholarships to support their education. 

The Honors College recognized individual achievements in each academic college through 12 awards to 17 students, faculty and staff.