BEEBE — The Arkansas State University-Beebe Office of Student Life honored some of the year’s most outstanding residential students during the annual Student Life Impact Awards banquet held on Wednesday, April 19 in the Dr. Eugene McKay Student Center.

The annual event is an opportunity for the residential community to reflect and celebrate the completion of another year.

Recognized at this year’s event were graduating residents who have earned the distinction of National Residence Hall Honors, recipients of the Merle McKinney Housing Legacy Award, outgoing resident assistants, and recipients of the peer selected Vanguard Spirit Award.

Vanguard Spirit Award

Nominated by residents and selected by the on-campus student leadership team of resident assistants, the Vanguard Spirit Award is presented annually to one student from each residence hall who significantly contributed to campus life in a non-scholarship role. Asia Simmons of Jacksonville and Andrew Rodgers of Romance were recognized with the 2023 Vanguard Spirit Award.

“This year, two individuals were universally recommended by their peers, and unanimously selected by the RA staff, for their encouraging attitude, continual engagement in campus life and wellness, and to always volunteer to help others,” said Zackery Tucker, dean of students.

Merle McKinney Housing Legacy Award

Each year, the dean of students recognizes the members of the resident assistant staff “retiring” with four or more semesters of service with the Merle McKinney Housing Legacy Award. Merle McKinney was the earliest known full-time housing professional employed at ASU-Beebe. It is believed Mrs. McKinney was hired by President A. Loyd Collin in 1932 to supervise the newly constructed “Girl’s Dormitory” and to serve as the matron of the Junior Agricultural College of Central Arkansas. In 1955, McKinney served as the college’s cafeteria manager until her retirement in 1957. Bayley Webster of Marvell and Deshawn Thomas of Jacksonville were each recognized for four semesters of service to on-campus housing as resident assistants.

In addition to Thomas and Webster, the following outgoing resident assistants were recognized for their service to on-campus housing: Taylor Binkley of Beebe; Karen Gallegos of Alexander; Edward Holtz of Beebe; and Erica Owens of Salem.

National Residence Hall Honors

Each year, the office of student life recognizes graduating residents who have a current cumulative GPA of a 3.00 or higher with the National Residence Hall Honors. Student recipients are presented light blue and silver honor cords to wear during their commencement ceremonies, and the qualification to join the National Residence Hall Honor (NRHH) Society when transferring to a chartered four-year university. Residents who are members of NRHH their junior and senior year of college qualify for scholarships.

Those selected for this honor are as follows: Meredith Allen of Searcy; Mallory Baker of Patterson; Taylor Binkley of Beebe; Benjamin Byrd of Heber Springs; Emmie Driskill of Beebe; Jade Fahr of Harrisburg; John Fetherston of Sherwood; Cayse Fowler of Ash Flat; Karen Gallegos of Alexander; Trevor Gumm of Fayetteville; Mary Ingram of Houston; Elanna Jett of Searcy; Rueben Lybrand of Carlisle; Erica Owen of Salem; Logan Pattillo of Jacksonville; Cade Smith of Des Arc; Deshawn Thomas of Jacksonville; Bayley Webster of Marvell; and Zane Wuelling of Cabot.

Student Life Impact Awards

The Student Life Impact Awards are presented annually to a faculty and staff member who have significantly contributed to the campus student life. Penny Cook, instructor of education, received the Student Life Faculty Impact award and John Morris, multi-media specialist for distance education, received the Student Life Staff Impact award.

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