Last Modified:

May 15, 1998


Eight students at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls have been chosen to receive the Chancellor's Award, the University's highest non-academic honor. The award is given to a group of students who demonstrate outstanding leadership and service to the University.

The recipients are: Wendy Gruber, an agriculture education and marketing communications major from Durand; Richard Herod III, a business administration and marketing communications major from St. Paul, Minn.; Kris Koch, an elementary education major from Marshall, Minn.; Karen Kubes, a social work major from New Prague, Minn.; Isaac Mbiti, a mathematics and economics major from Nairobi, Kenya; Lisha McLean, a speech communications major from River Falls; Renee Schuetzle, an elementary education major form Northfield, Minn.; and Nathan Thompson, an English major from River Falls.

The eight recipients were selected by faculty, staff and their student peers through the Student Senate.

According to Chancellor Gary A. Thibodeau, the eight recipients are truly gifted. "They are recognized as leaders among their student colleagues, as well as the institution's faculty and staff."

Gruber was recognized for her involvement in Alpha Tau Alpha, the Agricultural Education Society, the Association of Women in Agriculture,the Dairy Club, the Earth Consciousness Organization, and the Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow.

During her junior year, Gruber attended California State University-Fresno on the National Student Exchange Program, where she was a member of the Barking Bulldogs Forensics Team and the Dairy Club. She also completed an internship with the International Programs Center in the UW -RF College of Agriculture, Food & Environmental Sciences.

She co-hosts CAFES -TV, a weekly television program, and is co-editor of the FencePost, a bi-annual alumni newsletter. Gruber was recently inducted into the honor society of Phi Kappa Phi and is involved in community activities, such as the Special Olympics, community and campus clean-up, and the Newman Center.

Herod was honored for his impact in student organizations while gaining valuable applied work experience. His involvement in campus activities include Student Alumni Association, Habitat for Humanity, Johnson Hall Community Counsel, R.O.A.D. Crew, Gay/Straight Alliance, and campus tour guide. He has recently held leadership positions including Student Alumni Association president and Gay/Straight Alliance vice president.

Herod has successfully completed four internships, including one at the 3M Company in St. Paul where he worked on planning an international trade show with the Disney Company. He currently works at Saturn of St. Paul as the finance assistant, and aspires to work as a marketer in the Kris automotive industry.

Koch was cited for her involvement in student activity and leadership positions, including president of the Student Senate. She competed in varsity gymnastics, was a resident assistant and the senior resident assistant for Hathorn Hall. She worked in the Programming Room, helping campus leaders plan activities in their residents halls and organizations.

Koch served as the Leadership Development and Programming Board Chair and was appointed to serve on the Long Range Planning Committee for Student Life Facilities. Koch was elected by the Student Association to serve as their student president during which she served on various committees and was the official representative for the Student Association.

Koch also teaches aerobics for the life fitness program on campus, coaches gymnastics and track for the River Falls High School and teaches religious education classes in the community.

Kubes was recognized for her involvement with numerous campus activities. She served on Student Senate for three years and for two years was vice president. Through her Senate work, she chaired several committees including the Shared Governance Implementation Committee that implemented major changes to student participation in the shared governance structure on campus. She also chaired the Student Shared Governance Committee and was in charge of recruiting and appointing students on the different committees throughout the community. She was named the "Student Senator of the Year."

Kubes has been a campus tour guide for two years and was appointed to be a R.O.A.D. Crew leader. Recently, she was selected to represent UW-RF at the 9th annual National Service Learning Conference in the Twin Cities. She is also involved in the community through many organizations including the American Red Cross. She plans to pursue a career in social work and continue her education.

Mbiti was cited for his activities in many areas of student life. In the past he served as Crabtree Hall Council Treasurer and on various Reach for the Future subcommittees. He is president of the African-American Alliance and is a resident assistant in May Hall. He works with the Multicultural Committee of the United Council of Univerisyt of Wisconsin System Students, which coordinates events such as the Day of Action Against Hate Crimes. He also works with the Campus Diversity awareness committee which is responsible for UW-RF's annual multicultural diversity festival, Unity in the Community.

Mbiti recently gave a presentation on International Student Experiences at the UW System Undergraduate Teaching Improvement Council Conference in Madison. He presented a research paper at the recent American Multi-Cultural Student Leadership Conference where he was awarded first place in the research paper category for his work titled "The Evolution of the Mask." He works as a math and economics tutor and hopes to attend graduate school.

McLean was recognized for her numerous leadership positions in a diverse range of activities. She has chaired the Women's Equality Group for the past two years, bringing "Take Back the Night" to a successful yearly event. She has served as president of the Falcon Cheerleading Team, Student Senate Director of Affairs and Academic Services, and Secretary for the Diversity Awareness Committee.

McLean held an internship in Bismarck, N.D., in a unit dealing with crisis intervention, domestic violence, and sexual assault. After graduation in December, McLean plans to pursue a career in higher education.

Schuetzle was recognized for her unselfish attempts to make a difference on the UW-RF campus. She serves as the chair of the Student Academic Success Center Advisory Board and works in conjunction with the Student Senate to improve the services offered by the Academic Success Center. Schuetzle is a student representative working on the Learn and Serve America Implementation Team to establish an office and academic component of Service Learning on this campus. She has worked to revive and establish both the BACCHUS/GAMMA and Tomorrow's Educator's organizations and now holds the position of vice president in both groups.

Schuetzle was a member of the Academic Success Center Planning Team, vice president of the McMillan Hall Council, two-time R.O.A.D. Crew leader, and four-year varsity tennis player and senior captain. She has volunteered with Special Olympics for over two years and at the Hayden Heights Elementary School in inner city St. Paul.

Thompson was cited as a valuable member of the campus community for his efforts in the English department, on Student Senate and as a tutor. He founded Sigma Tau Delta, the International English Honor Society, and has been its chapter president for the past two years. For three years, he has been on the editorial staff of the campus literary magazine, Prologue, and has worked on the Student Reading Series since it began two years ago.

As a member of the Diversity Awareness Committee for over a year, Thompson played a key role in implementing the yearly campus diversity festival, "Unity in the Community." He has been a member of the University's Student Senate for a year and a half, during which he has worked primarily to meet the needs of students of color, women, gay and lesbian students and other traditionally under represented groups. He recently won the United Council Multicultural Issues "Director of the Year" award for these efforts.

Thompson has also served as a writing tutor in the campus writing center and has been a disc jockey on the campus radio station, WRFW.

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