LAWRENCE — While thousands of new University of Kansas graduates will celebrate the personal achievement of earning their degrees at the 142nd Commencement on May 18, four outstanding seniors will also be recognized with 2014 University Awards for the time they spent on Mount Oread serving and leading their classmates.
Alexandra Null and Dat Quoc Hoang are recipients of 2014 Agnes Wright Strickland Awards, and Lindsey Mayfield and Daniel Sanchez are recipients of 2014 Alexis F. Dillard Student Involvement Awards. All four are excellent examples of how involved students give back to the KU community and beyond during their time in Lawrence.
The Agnes Wright Strickland Award was established in 1953 in memory of Strickland, a member of the Class of 1887. The annual awards, which include lifetime memberships in the KU Alumni Association, go to graduating seniors in recognition of their academic records, demonstrated leadership in matters of university concern, respect among fellow students and indications of future dedication to university service.
Alexandra Null, from Medicine Park, Okla., graduated in December with a degree in applied behavioral science and organizational behavior management. She chose KU because she wanted to be actively involved with organizations like KU Hillel. During her time in Lawrence, she became a leader not only with Hillel but also with the greek community as president of Kappa Alpha Theta.
“As an involved undergraduate, I was passionate about leadership development and creating positive growth on campus. This award is a huge honor and challenges me to continue creating change amongst communities I care about and to give back to KU in the future. Winning this award was surprising and humbling, and I’m thankful for the support, love and courage I received from advisers, professors and friends.”
Dat Quoc Hoang is an international student from Hanoi, Vietnam, who will graduate with a degree in economics. He has served as a resident assistant, president of his scholarship hall, a student senator and a four-time recipient of the International Merit Award. International Student Services has called Dat “one of the best ambassadors you could hope to encounter.”
“The most rewarding experience for me is being an orientation leader for you at KU International Student Orientation. Since my freshman year, I have been involved with seven different orientations and have met hundreds of awesome people. I have learned many interesting things from them, and my knowledge of the world has been improved greatly. Orientation Leader was my first job on campus, and it definitely built a solid foundation for me. I consider it the first beautiful path in my long journey to receive the prestigious Agnes Wright Strickland Award.”
The Alexis F. Dillard Student Involvement Award goes to two graduating seniors with a minimum 3.0 GPA who have been actively involved in campuswide activities or efforts and whose contributions have been significant, but they have gone largely unrecognized. The award was established in 1993 by Dillard’s family and friends to remember and honor him.
Lindsey Mayfield, from Overland Park, will graduate with a degree in journalism, and she has left her mark on KU through her leadership and advocacy for student journalism, in particular KUJH-TV. Her leadership also extended to the University Daily Kansan, Mortar Board Senior Honor Society and the KUnity and Colors of KU retreats.
“I have experienced so many forms of diversity, culture, activism, ideologies, interests and career paths. I am really going to miss being surrounded by so many different opportunities to grow and learn about other ways of life. I hope new students know that, even though the transition to college can be terrifying, you can be successful if you continue to be brave and put yourself out there, even when it seems like you’re getting nowhere," she said.
Daniel Sanchez, Lenexa, is graduating with a degree in global and international studies and Spanish. He has managed to balance superior academic achievements with an impressive list of leadership activities, including the Dean’s Student Advisory Committee for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Student Union Activities and many others. Sanchez was also a Founding Father for the Gamma Mu Chapter of Alpha Tau Omega at KU.
“Although KU is large, the size creates multitudes of opportunities to be involved. KU encourages students to speak up and shape their KU experience. As a student, I was easily able to match my interests and get involved. The most rewarding experience for me at KU is being a member of ATO, and I am humbled and honored to know that my hard work over the past four years is recognized by members of the University. I share this award with all the students that work to help KU be a welcoming place for everyone.”
Agnes Wright Strickland Awards: Alexandra Null and Dat Quoc Hoang.
Alexandra Null is a peer leadership consultant and student intern at the Student Involvement and Leadership Center and program adviser at the Kansas Union. She served as president of Kappa Alpha Theta and in a variety of leadership roles for KU Hillel. She has taken leadership mission trips to Israel and eastern Europe. She was a 2013 Ex.C.E.L. finalist and won the 2012 William R. Nelson Panhellenic Leadership & Involvement Award. She graduated in December 2013 with a bachelor's degree in applied behavioral sciences. She is the daughter of Tom and Lynn Null.
Dat Quoc Hoang is a four-time recipient of the International Merit Award, a recipient of the Marietta K. Jackson Scholarship and a recipient of the Grace Pearson Alumni Scholarship. He has served as president of Grace Pearson Scholarship Hall, social chair for the International Student Association, orientation leader for International Student Services and as a resident assistant for Student Housing. In October 2013 he was a National Resident Hall Honorary recipient. He is the son of Tien Hoang and Hanh Le.
Alexis F. Dillard Student Involvement Award: Lindsey Mayfield and Daniel Sanchez
Lindsey Mayfield has served on the Student Alumni Leadership Board, Student Union Activities, as a student ambassador, greek ambassador, and she has studied abroad in London. She is a member of the University Honors Program, a Watkins-Berger scholar and a past recipient of a Kansas Association of Broadcasters scholarship. From 2011-2013 she was an education blogger for U.S. News & World Report, and in 2013 she appeared as a guest on NBC’s "Today" Show. She is the daughter of Tom and Julie Mayfield.
Danny Sanchez has served on the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, the 2013 Homecoming Steering Committee, Student Union Activities, the Hispanic American Leadership Organization and the Blueprints Leadership Conference planning committee. He has studied abroad in Barcelona, Spain, and participated in Alternative Breaks in Kissimmee, Fla.; Des Moines, Iowa, and Chattanooga, Tenn. He is a recipient of the Warner Ferguson Scholarship and the Big 12 Award in Leadership. He is the son of Tony and Penny Sanchez.