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Voss named Torch Award winner; Duffy wins Pilot Award

5/16/2014

Special to The Hays Daily News

Jordan Voss, Colby, was named as the recipient of the Torch Award as the outstanding graduating senior from the class of 2014 on Friday at Fort Hays State University.

He will receive a bachelor's of science degree in chemistry with magna cum laude honors at commencement, which begins at 10 a.m. Saturday in Gross Memorial Coliseum.

The announcement of the Torch Award came at the annual Graduate and Faculty Luncheon, sponsored by the FHSU Alumni Association. The Pilot Award for outstanding faculty member and the Navigator Award for outstanding faculty advisor also were announced. All three recipients will sit on the platform and be recognized at commencement.

Cheryl Duffy, professor of English, was the Pilot Award recipient, and Karrie Simpson Voth, professor of art and design, was the recipient of the Navigator Award.

Marcy Aycock, a 1984 graduate of FHSU and president of the FHSU Alumni Association, introduced Voss, a 2010 graduate of Colby High School, who was selected from 49 nominees.

Aycock quoted one faculty member who said, in support of Voss's nomination, "As a student in my classes, Jordan's native intelligence combined with his creativity and fine communication skills to bring him right to the top and keep him there throughout."

"One reason why I feel Jordan is the perfect choice for the Torch Award is that he possesses all the attributes needed to be a role model for younger students: intelligence, dependability and initiative."

Another faculty member wrote, "The best predictor of future performance is past performance. I expect great things from Jordan and that he will be a Torch awardee that Fort Hays will be proud of."

Voss has served as a coordinator of chemistry magic shows for local area youth, volunteers at Hays Medical Center, and has participated in clinical observation at the Mayo Clinic and Hays Medical Center. As a recipient of a K-INBRE Star Trainee research grant, he has initiated a research project designed to understand the role of a particular chemical in the development and progression of cancer and other related diseases.

He has served as president of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and the American Medical Student Association Premedical Club and also has been inducted into the Fort Hays Honor Society and Phi Kappa Phi. He has also served as Chemistry Club treasurer and as a chemistry lab assistant and tutor.

Aycock also introduced the Pilot Award winner.

"Dr. Duffy is one of the most passionate teachers I've had in all my years of schooling," said one student quoted by Aycock. "She loves the subject and uses her extensive knowledge and enthusiasm to inspire every student in class."

"She takes the time to get to know each student individually in order to serve his or her needs. Every lesson is unique as she is constantly finding new ways to present information in order to keep students engaged at all times."

Duffy was a leader in bringing the principles of service learning to Fort Hays and was recognized for the work by being named the Kansas Service-Learning Faculty Member of the Year in 2003.

Carolyn Campbell, a Wheat Ridge, Colo., senior who serves as campus relations director for the Student Government Association, presented the Navigator Award to Simpson Voth.

The award was created in 1998 to recognize an outstanding academic advisor based on how closely he or she adheres to the university goals for academic advising. Candidates are nominated, interviewed and selected by graduating seniors.

Campbell quoted from one student's nomination of Simpson Voth: "My advisor helps students above and beyond the call of duty. I encourage those making the selection to consider this advisor as an asset to this university and to countless advisees."

"It is evident that this year's recipient has a true interest in student success, and is accessible and available," Campbell said. "She is inspired by students, serves as their advocate and works to connect with each of them on an individual level."

The Alumni Association instituted the Torch and Pilot awards in 1974 to emphasize the importance of excellence in teaching and learning. They are presented every year at the Graduate and Faculty Luncheon in advance of commencement.

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.

The Alumni Association, established in 1916, is dedicated to identifying and serving the needs of more than 57,000 graduates living throughout the United States and 70 foreign countries. For more information, contact the Alumni Association at (785) 628-4430 or alumni@fhsu.edu.