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Hays High grad wins FHSU's Torch Award


By The Hays Daily News

By The Hays Daily News

Layne Krizek from Hays was named on Friday as the recipient of the Torch Award as the outstanding graduating senior from the Class of 2012 at Fort Hays State University.

The next day, Krizek, a 2008 graduate of Hays High School, graduated summa cum laude at the 2012 FHSU commencement ceremonies in Gross Memorial Coliseum, receiving a bachelor of business administration degree in finance.

Krizek was one of more than 3,000 graduates to receive degrees at either the associate, bachelor's or graduate levels on Friday and Saturday.

With graduation numbers rising, separate ceremonies were held for graduates and undergrads for the second consecutive year.

This year's graduating class of 3,153 is nearly 500 more than a year ago and almost two and a half times as many of the class of 2005 just seven years ago.

The Torch Award was announced at Friday's annual graduate and faculty Brunch, sponsored by the FHSU Alumni Association. Also announced were winners of the Pilot Award for outstanding faculty member and the Navigator Award for outstanding faculty advisor.

Jill Arensdorf, associate professor of leadership studies and chair of the Department of Leadership Studies, was the Pilot Award recipient, while Cole Engel, instructor of economics, finance and accounting, received the Navigator Award as outstanding faculty advisor.

Krizek has held numerous leadership positions in departmental and college organizations, became a licensed insurance customer service representative with the state of Kansas while still a full-time student, and was a member of the 2011 national championship financial planning team.

Pilot Award winner Arensdorf was nominated by five students.

Arensdorf has been extensively active on campus, in such activities as Faculty Senate, the L3 Live and Learn community, numerous departmental and university committees, the American Red Cross, the Kansas Youth Leadership Academy and Jana's Campaign.

Navigator Award candidates are nominated, interviewed and selected by graduating seniors. One nominating senior praised Engel, writing: "Mr. Engel is actively involved with my class selection process ... and double-checks to make sure I am taking classes in the right order and on time. He also is constantly checking with me on how my classes are going. His door is always open to any student with a question."

The Alumni Association instituted the Torch and Pilot awards in 1974 to emphasize the importance of excellence in teaching and learning.

The Torch Award candidates are nominated by members of the faculty on the basis of classroom excellence, participation in professional organizations and involvement in student or civic activities. The Pilot Award is given on the basis of classroom excellence, ongoing research and service activities. Candidates are nominated by graduating seniors. Nominations for the Navigator Award are also made by graduating seniors in a process conducted by the Student Government Association.