LAWRENCE — Many words come to mind when describing 2014 University Awards recipients Emily Frese, Benjamin Jang, Samuel Logan and Autumn Smith, among them adventurous, driven and dedicated. The four University of Kansas seniors graduate at the 142nd Commencement, leaving behind them a history of commitment and hard work at KU.
Because of their stellar accomplishments and high academic achievements, these four are being honored with one of three prestigious University Awards as part of Commencement — the Class of 1913 Award, the Caryl K. Smith Student Leader Award and the Kathryn Nemeth Tuttle Award.
The Class of 1913 Award is given to a deserving senior man and woman who have demonstrated stellar academic achievement. The award, established by the Class of 1913, states that students “who, by their evidenced intelligence, devotion to their studies and personal character, give promise of such usefulness to society” shall be recipients of the annual gift.
Class of 1913 Award winner Emily Frese, Council Grove, who will earn her degree in human biology, will graduate with a 4.0 GPA and will enroll in the KU School of Medicine in the fall. When she first came to KU she knew she wanted to explore but was not sure where to start. During her four years, she’s participated in activities ranging from KU DanceSport to Engineers without Borders. She was also a Scholar in Rural Health.
“My parents have been very important in encouraging me to experience the amazing opportunities at KU. The people I have met living in KU’s scholarship halls have also inspired me to go experience and do things I love and things that seem a little scary,” said Frese.
Class of 1913 Award winner Ben Jang, Wichita, who will earn his degree in cellular biology, will also attend the KU School of Medicine after graduating with a 3.98 GPA. In his nomination letter, Jang noted his journey to KU began with his childhood, where he would help his father sell socks in a loud, smoke-filled flea market in his hometown.
“I didn’t know what I wanted to do until I was about halfway through college. It was through reaching out and being involved that I knew medicine was my calling,” said Jang. “I volunteer with my mother, a nurse, to visit patients who are homebound. Having this responsibility, I firmly believe that it is an honor to have the responsibility to look after someone’s life.”
The Caryl K. Smith Student Leader Award was established in 1993 by the Panhellenic Association in honor of the former dean of students, Caryl K. Smith. The award goes to an outstanding greek leader with high academic achievement and commitment to his or her chapter, the national organization, as well as the greek, university and Lawrence communities.
Samuel Logan, Leawood, who will earn his degree in strategic communication, is the 2014 Caryl K. Smith Student Leader Award winner. Logan has held numerous leadership positions at KU while maintaining a 3.77 GPA. This spring, he was the executive director of Rock Chalk Revue, raising almost $70,000 for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Douglas County.
“Everything I did from leading campus groups, studying in India, majoring in strategic communications and being a swim coach complemented each other perfectly. I gained the perspective on how to work with others rather than just how to manage others. That made the process and friendships I have something that I’ll never let go of,” said Logan.
The Kathryn Nemeth Tuttle Student Scholar Award, established in 2012, is given to a senior living in a scholarship hall who has demonstrated academic focus. The award is designed for a student who is an exceptional representative of what distinguishes the scholarship hall student: commitment both to academic excellence and the cooperative ideal of the scholarship hall system.
2014 Kathryn Nemeth Tuttle winner Autumn Smith, Lewis, who will earn her degree in cellular biology, is a Douthart Scholarship Hall resident and has served as president of the All Scholarship Council since the end of her sophomore year. Next fall, after graduating with a 3.85 GPA, she will join Frese and Jang at KU Medical Center. Smith was also a Scholar in Rural Health.
“My time in the scholarship halls and at KU has taught me to reach higher and dream bigger. While I may say that I am pursuing a career in rural family medicine, what I really mean is that I am pursuing a career in people. I am pursuing a career in success and failure, diversity and community, love and loss, the very things that define my experiences within the scholarship halls at KU,” said Smith.
Class of 1913 Award Recipients: Emily Frese and Benjamin Jang.
Emily Frese is a National Merit Scholar, KU Chancellor’s Club Scholar, and a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi honor societies. She also received second place in the 2012 Linkugel Speech Contest and was a regional student of the month for National Residence Hall Honorary. Frese has studied abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and traveled to Bolivia with Engineers without Borders. She is the daughter of Dr. Daniel and Donna Frese.
Ben Jang is a teaching assistant for biology classes, a Peer-Led Undergraduate Supplement Leader and a Student Mentor. Jang was also an intern at the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America and a research assistant with Dr. Alexander Moise. He is currently a Center for Community Outreach Coordinator for Jubilee Café, a Taekwondo master and instructor at Korea America Tae Kwon Do, and a member of the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society. He is the son of Peter Jang and Jooyoung Lee.
The Caryl K. Smith Student Leader Award: Samuel Logan
Samuel Logan is a member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity and the executive director of Rock Chalk Revue. He is a former off-campus student senator and KU Greek Marketing Promotions director. Logan is the recipient of the American Advertising Federation of Kansas City Foundation Scholarship and a head swim coach at Indian Hills Country Club in Mission Hills. He has also interned in account management and brokerage. He is the son of Fred and Carol Logan.
The Kathryn Nemeth Tuttle Student Scholar Award: Autumn Smith
Autumn Smith is president of the All Scholarship Hall Council, desk assistant and tour guide at the Crawford Community Center, director of leadership for the National Residence Hall Honorary and former summer intern for KU Housing. Smith has served on the student housing advisory board, the student rights committee, scholarship hall selections committee and the student health and campus safety advisory boards. She is a member of the Golden Key International Honor Society, a Watkins Berger Scholar and a Student Organization Member of the Year for the Jayhawk Choice Awards. She is the daughter of Kevin and Patricia Ford.