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Campus leaders, organizations honored

The Lamar University Department of New Student and Leadership Programs honored student organizations, student leaders and advisors during the 35th annual Toast to Leadership banquet April 23. Since 1980, the Toast to Leadership banquet has been held to recognize student leaders and the faculty and staff members who advise and guide the student organizations in their efforts.

Recognized with the top annual student leadership awards were: Maegan Collins, Nederland; Lauren Richardson, Beaumont; and Kollin Kahler, Waco.

Two organizations were recognized with community service awards. Lamar’s Division of Information Technology, directed by Priscilla Parsons, and the student organization, EMPOWERMENT – The Xi Colony of Delta Xi Nu Multicultural Sorority, under president Ashley Hernandez, were recognized for donating the largest number of items to the 18th Annual Food Drive. The Signing Cardinals were recognized as the most improved student organization and the Education Initiative was named the student organization of the year. The Melvin F. Brust Outstanding Advisor award was given to Kevin Dodson, dean of the Honors College.

Collins, a junior political science major, received the Ann Shaw Award. She is a member of the Student Services Fee Committee, College of Arts & Sciences Student Faculty Relations Committee, Rotaract and Student Government Association. She holds an internship with the Texas Legislative Internship Program. She also dedicates service time to the Cristin and Katie Grubbs Foundation, Bruised But Not Broken organization, American Cancer Society’s Bark for Life and the Southeast Texas Food Bank. Collins has been a Peer Advisor and STARS political science wingman/mentor.

Richardson, a senior biology major, was recognized as recipient of the Bess Gentry Award. She is a McNair Scholar and is conducting research with the University of Texas Medical Branch. Her work has been published twice in the scientific journal Oncotarget. She is a member of Alpha Delta Pi serving as director of standards and ethics, chaplain and membership vice president. Her charitable interests include the Hands Up Ministry, the Ronald McDonald House in Galveston, March of Dimes and For Love of Children organization. 

Kahler received the Robert C. Kemble Award. An exercise science major with minors in biology and chemistry, he is the founding president of the Spirit and Traditions committee, starting punter and team captain for the Lamar University football team. He represented Lamar University and Texas at the Quiz Bowl Team national competition. Kahler was co-student committee chair for Homecoming and implemented campus events such as Food Fest, Fusion Fest and Lamar’s Got Talent. He is the reigning Homecoming King. He served on the NCAA advisory committee and the student-faculty relations committee for grade appeals. He received the prestigious David J. Beck Fellowship award.  Kahler’s volunteer service includes Christus St. Elizabeth Hospital, Save Our Children Counseling and Girls Haven Gumbo Fest.