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Lamar honors six as top graduates in class of May 2011

Six Lamar University students attained perfect 4.0 grade-point averages to share Plummer Award honors as the top academic graduates in Lamar’s class of May 2011.

The class is by far the largest in Lamar history, President James Simmons said, with graduates receiving a total of 1,543 degrees.

Earning Plummer Awards as top female graduates are Nisha Dayama of Port Arthur, who earned a bachelor of business administration in accounting; Rebecca Jeanine Fenter, Beaumont, bachelor of science in family and consumer sciences; and Brittany Ross, Carrollton, bachelor of science in exercise science and fitness management and a bachelor of science in psychology (two degrees).

The male Plummer Award recipients are Patrick Brandon Greer, Sour Lake, bachelor of science in biology; Alan Edward Kondo, Fannett, bachelor of science in chemical engineering; and Joshua Dee Smith, Gunter, bachelor of science in electrical engineering.

Simmons introduced the Plummer recipients at the conclusion of morning and afternoon commencement ceremonies, where Paul Fregia, founder and president of Grandma Maud’s Inc. addressed graduates and guests. Charles Garrett, founder, president and chief executive officer of Garrett Metal Detectors Inc., received an honorary doctor of humane letters.

The Plummer Awards honor the late Otho Plummer, who was chairman emeritus of the Lamar board of regents and a board member for several decades.

Nisha Dayama is a graduate of Forest Hills High School in Forest Hills, N.Y. She is a member of Phi Kappa Phi; Beta Gamma Sigma, honor society for business students and scholars; and of Alpha Psi, national scholars honor society. Dayama was the recipient of the Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants Accounting Excellence Award, the Ben J. Rogers Outstanding Business Student Award and the Accounting Excellence Award. She earned scholarships from Lamar Accounting Department Excellence Fund and the Southeast Texas Chapter of the Texas Society of Certified Accountants. Dayama has accepted a position with a certified public accounting firm.

A graduate of West Brook High School, Rebecca Fenter is the daughter of Patty and David Burleson and is married to Isaac Fenter. She is a member of Kappa Omicron Nu, a national honor society recognizing excellence in family and consumer sciences, and the Dietetic Association. Fenter has participated in Relay for Life to benefit the American Cancer Society. She was the recipient of the Dr. Jane O. Hinchey Endowed Scholarship in Family and Consumer Sciences and a scholarship from the Annie Sells Trust Fund. Fenter will begin a dietetic internship at Lamar beginning in July 2011 and plans to become a registered dietitian. She also plans to join the Peace Corps with her husband to work in nutrition on an international level and to work privately as a nutrition consultant.

Brittany Ross, a graduate of Creekview High School in Carrollton, is the daughter of Leigh Hallock and Howard and Angela Ross. A four-year player on the Lamar soccer team, she is a recipient of the F.L. McDonald Postgraduate Scholarship presented by the Southland Conference and will enroll in Duke University’s Doctorate of Physical Therapy Program in August 2011 with the goal of becoming a pediatric physical therapist. The SLC scholarship is named for a former Lamar president and one of the league’s founders. Ross received the Bess Gentry Award as the outstanding senior woman. She is a member of Phi Kappa Phi, Colleges Against Cancer, Release Youth Ministry and served as campus chairman for the Relay for Life. She is a Mirabeau Scholar and recipient of the Dr. Myrtle L. Bell Award in Psychology.

Patrick Greer is the son of Anita and Billy Greer and a graduate of Hardin-Jefferson High School. His sister, Meghan, also a biology major, earned the Plummer Award in May 2009. Greer is a member of Phi Kappa Phi, Alpha Lambda Delta-Phi Eta Sigma freshman honor society and the National Honor Society. Other organizations include the Lamar Ambassadors, Lamar Honors Program, Student Association and American Medical Student Association. He was a Mirabeau Scholar and received the Robert C. Byrd Scholarship.

A graduate of Hamshire-Fannett High School, Alan Kondo is the son of Donna and Bill Kondo. He earned the C. Robert Kemble Award as outstanding senior man. Kondo is a member of Phi Kappa Phi; Alpha Lambda Delta-Phi Eta Sigma; Order of Omega, leadership honor society for members of Greek organizations; Tau Beta Pi engineering honor society; and Omega Chi Epsilon chemical engineering honor society. He was the recipient of the Gas Processors Association Scholarship, Charles and Susan Gordon and Julia Gordon Gray Memorial Scholarship, R.B. and Earline Christ Family Presidential Scholarship and the Chemical Engineering Alumni Scholarship. He also received the American Institute of Chemical Engineers Freshman Scholarship, Texas Rice Festival Scholarship, Lamar University Academic Scholarship, Atria Collier Park Scholarship and Outstanding Chemical Engineering Sophomore Award. He is a member of the Order of the Arrow. Kondo has accepted a chemical engineering job with ExxonMobil in Beaumont and plans to pursue a master of business administration in an engineering field.

Joshua Smith is a graduate of Gunter High School and the son of Kimberlee and Dee Smith. He is married to Loralyn Smith and has two children, Josalyn and William. Honor organizations include Phi Kappa Phi, Tau Beta Pi and Eta Kappa Nu electrical and computer engineering honor society. Smith was a recipient of the W.J. and Lela Budwine Charitable Foundation Scholarship. He plans to pursue a doctor of philosophy in electrical or energy engineering.