By Heather Leiphart, Student Reporter
The University will recognize 100 graduating seniors as servant leaders at a special ceremony in Chapel on the Hill Friday. Dr. Dwayne VanRheenen, Provost, initiated the event ten years ago and will preside over the ceremony for the last time in light of his pending retirement.
“A servant leader is a student who intentionally seeks out opportunities to help other people,” VanRheenen said. “It’s not to brag on them; it’s to say that you’ve been a model, and we really appreciate you.”
He likened the students’ service activities to Jesus washing his disciples’ feet, both being great examples of humility and service, he said.
“I think that a Christian university ought to think not only about the development of the head and the mind, but also the whole person,” VanRheenen said. “Here at ACU, we want servant leaders as well as students gifted intellectually. We celebrate a lot in the institution about minds and we want those minds to also have hearts and hands that serve.”
Rita Harrell, Volunteer and Service-Learning Center Administrator, said that many of the nominated students work “quietly behind the scenes, interacting in students’ lives and encouraging them,” and may not be the names that one always hears around campus. Servant-leadership involves more than traditional volunteering, she said.
“Its not just about doing acts of service, but also about being an example so that by your acts of service you’re actually leading others to a life of service as well,” Harrell said. “There’s a whole A to Z range of what students will be highlighted for, such as Meals on Wheels and volunteering for the Special Olympics.”
Every graduating senior nominated online for the recognition will receive a certificate, barring disciplinary reasons, Harrell said. Dr. Money will deliver the key address, and students Abby Trejo Rice, senior biology major from Ulysses, Kan., and Jeremy Tatum, senior social work major from Abilene, also will speak.
Following the service, a reception will take place in the rotunda outside the chapel where light refreshments will be served. Space is limited, but nominated students are encouraged to bring a faculty or staff mentor, friend or family member.