Mindy Miller, of Granite City, graduate student in the Department of Social Work and recipient of the first Sir Foundation Scholarship at SIUEEach spring, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville’s College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) recognizes student achievement at its annual Honors Day Convocation. With COVID restrictions still in place, the 2021 Honors Day ceremony took place virtually in April, where a total of 287 distinguished CAS students were recognized, culminating in 358 awards and scholarships.

SIUE’s largest single gathering outside of commencement recognizing student achievement, Honors Day celebrates the scholarships and awards of outstanding students throughout nearly two dozen departments and programs within the College.

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“Many of the recipients of these awards and scholarships have overcome tremendous obstacles to achieve success at SIUE,” said CAS Dean Kevin Leonard, PhD. “All of you have endured challenges unlike those encountered by any other students in the University’s history. Yet, you persevered through these hardships to continue on your journey of intellectual and self-discovery, developing into knowledgeable and capable communicators, critical thinkers, problem solvers and good citizens. Your effort and dedication have led you to this moment of recognition.”

CAS student representative Mindy Miller, of Granite City, graduate student in the Department of Social Work and recipient of the first Sir Foundation Scholarship at SIUE, spoke of the challenges of the past academic year.

SIUE College of Arts and Sciences Dean Kevin Leonard, PhD.“This past year has been a very challenging and trying year for all of us, not only academically but also professionally and personally, as well,” Miller said. “The uncertainty of what the next day held for not only our families, but the entire world, was at times too overwhelming to comprehend. I want to take this time to commend all of my fellow students on continuing to get the job done academically during a global pandemic.”

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A traditional celebration provides an opportunity for these students and the scholarship sponsors to meet one another. Despite not being able to gather together this year, there was no shortage of appreciation for the support of scholarship sponsors.

“On behalf of my fellow students, I would like to thank each and every one of our donors for your generosity,” said Miller. “Being a scholarship recipient helped ease the financial burden and afforded the opportunity to continue our education in the midst of the unknown. One gift will trickle into a multitude of gifts for generations to come as a result of your selfless giving and compassion to students. Thank you for supporting our educational endeavors.”

Leonard also recognized the support of scholarship donors. “I would like to express our sincerest gratitude to our scholarship and award sponsors. Your generous contributions make it possible for us to support our students and transform their lives. We cannot thank you enough.”

Leonard ended with a congratulatory message for the students by saying, “On behalf of the faculty and staff of the College of Arts and Sciences, I want to say that we could not be prouder of the hard work and determination that have resulted in your academic achievements.”

Seven students received awards from two different departments, and many received three total awards. There were 15 new scholarships and awards presented for the first time this year. To view the virtual Honors Day 2021 ceremony presentation, program, dean’s welcome and student speech, visit siue.edu/cas-honors-day.

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