Student and faculty leaders receive honors from Yudof

by Jeremy Taff

University President Mark Yudof shook hands with students Wednesday night at the President’s Annual Awards Program in Coffman Union’s Great Hall.
At the banquet, 119 students and five staff and faculty members received awards. Fifth-year senior Terri Wenkman and junior Andrew Robert Toftey won this year’s highest student leadership honor, the Donald R. Zander Award.
Wenkman works at the Program Against Sexual Violence and plans to continue this spring after she graduates. While at the University, she has been a new student weekend counselor, was involved in Project Motivation’s Big Buddy program and worked in the admissions office. She said receiving the award ends her college career with a bang.
“I think it means I’ve actually touched the lives of a lot of the people around me,” Wenkman said. “It’s just touching.”
Wenkman said she receives inspiration from her siblings. Her 10-year-old brother David has epilepsy and a learning disability. Katie, her 20-year-old sister, is a sophomore at the University.
“They’ve helped me through some tough times,” Wenkman said. “Those two have made me what I think being a leader is all about.”
Toftey, a geography major, has been a student representative to the Board of Regents for two years. He also is co-chairman of New Student Weekend. Though his University days aren’t finished, he said his grades will receive more emphasis next year.
“It’s time to step aside and let people do the neat things that I have gotten to do,” Toftey said. “It’s been a ton of fun.”
Yudof stressed the importance of student leaders and requested their assistance in helping him achieve his goals for the University.
“I need your help,” he told them, “to make this University more service oriented, more humane.”
While Yudof needs their assistance, students said their success depends on understanding, and committed faculty and staff.
Five faculty and staff members received Gordon L. Starr Staff and Faculty Awards for fulfilling their commitment to the students.
Among other award winners were former Minnesota Student Association President Jigar Madia and former Vice President Bridgette Murphy. Madia received an Alumni Association Student Leadership Award and his fellow officer won a President’s Student Leadership and Service Award.
Gophers men’s basketball player Quincy Lewis won a Campus Involvement Center Student Involvement Award. Forty students were given these new awards for positively impacting campus.
“It’s an honor,” Lewis said. “And it’s not something I had to play basketball to get.”