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Two students receive Appalachian Distinguished Leadership Award

LeadershipAwards_t.jpgBOONE—Seniors Brittany Burdine of Charlotte and Peter A. Rowe of Hickory have received the Appalachian Distinguished Leadership Award.  They were honored during this year’s Recognition of Student Leaders award ceremony at Appalachian State University held April 15.

Brittany Burdine and P.A. Rowe_t2.jpgAppalachian Distinguished Leadership Award winners for 2011 are seniors Brittany Burdine, left, and P.A. Rowe. (Photo by Marie Freeman)

The Appalachian Distinguished Leadership Award, which is not given every year, recognizes students considered exemplary leaders.

“We tell our students that being here is not just taking, but giving back, and the students here today to be honored have given back in so many different ways,” said Dino DiBernardi, associate vice chancellor for student development.  “We talk to our students about leaving a legacy.  They stand on the shoulders of the people that came before them and the students that come after them will stand on these students’ shoulders.”

Burdine is a senior communication major.  She has served as the Student Government Association director of public relations, president of Club Council, leadership educator, vice president of Club Council, and resident assistant for two consecutive years.  Burdine’s nominator said, “She is a multitalented, effective student leader.  She is an academic talent with extraordinary passion for leadership development.  She encourages new members of club council while holding members accountable.”

Burdine decided to attend Appalachian after visiting campus and feeling its sense of community.  “I got the sense this is where I’m supposed to be.  It was like being at home while being away from home,” she said.  She got involved around campus after serving as a resident assistant her sophomore year.  After that, she joined other organizations because she loved helping other students, she said.

“I enjoy being there for other students, especially knowing that I can go to them when I have a problem.  It’s also important to get information to students that they need, and my positions have allowed me to do that,” said Burdine.

When asked what she gets out of leadership and student involvement, Burdine said the relationships she built and learning how to work with a diverse group of students have been the most important lessons she has learned.

“It means a lot to have received the Distinguished Leadership Award.  It’s a high honor being recognized for doing something I love doing, but there were so many people that I couldn’t have done anything without,” said Burdine.

Rowe is a senior finance and banking major.  He has served as vice president of Beta Gamma Sigma, Student Government Association president and member of the university’s Board of Trustees.  He was a William R. Holland Fellow for Business Study in Asia and Walker College of Business Walker Fellow; Phi Gama Delta founder and member; and member of Omicron Delta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, Phi Eta Sigma and Gamma Beta Phi honors and service fraternities.

Rowe’s nominator said, “Over the last two years, he has continued to build a legacy that will be difficult to forget.  His commitment to academic excellence is a testament to how well he balances his life, course load and co-curricular involvement.  He is a true scholar, leader, student advocate and has managed to participate in countless university committees.”

Rowe came to Appalachian because family members had come here, but also because it offered the opportunities of a large university while keeping the feeling of a smaller school.  He began getting involved on campus as a Plemmons Leader Fellow.  “It was expected that we got involved with some other organization and explore our interests and options,” said Rowe.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with the Student Government Association,” he said.  “I have learned so much about the university and what it takes to run it.  I get to make an impact and represent the students as well as use my knowledge to help others.”

Rowe said he has gained a lot through involvement and leadership during his time at Appalachian.  “It has enhanced my experience at Appalachian.  I’ve met new people and gotten a larger picture of what goes on in the university.  I’ve also enjoyed helping people to make a dream or an idea reality.”

Rowe has enjoyed being able to work on university projects and getting to know people, some of whom were not involved but changed their minds.  He said, “I’ve spurred others to get involved when they weren’t really sure if they wanted to.  It’s a small part of a large endeavor, and it’s nice to look back and see that I played a role in something larger.”

He added, “I don’t feel like I’ve earned the Distinguished Leadership Award because I’ve done what became natural to me, but it means a lot.”

Burdine and Rowe also received the Ronny L. Brooks Award for Outstanding Leadership.

The award ceremony also honored Aileen Alge, Laura Hege, Kristin Johnson and Elliot Kimball, as recipients of the Ronny L. Brooks Award for Outstanding Leadership; the Bobby L. Dunnigan Award for Outstanding Service recipients Michelle Henderson, Lauren Large, Katie Letcher and Kourtney Madden; the Gregory S. Blimling Award for Outstanding Graduate Student in Student Development recipients Megan Corkery, Rebecca Driesen, Lisa Erin Noel, Kate Pritchard, Alexander Swartz and Sarah Towne; and Student Employee of the Year Award winner Ivan Penado.

During the ceremony, 53 students were named to Who’s Who Among American College Students, a national honors programs that recognizes students for exemplary leadership and scholastic achievement.

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