Thursday, April 14, 2005
Three students honored with OU’s top awards
By Rebecca Wyatt, OU Web Writer
For their services to the campus community, Steven Townsend and Laura Cowham were recognized by the OU Board of Trustees as the 2005 Alfred G. and Matilda R. Wilson Award recipients and Jonathan Parks as the 2005 Human Relations Award winner. The Alfred G. and Matilda R. Wilson Awards and the Human Relations Award are the top honors given at OU to three graduating seniors who have contributed as scholars, leaders and responsible citizens.
The Wilson Awards were developed by Matilda Wilson, founder of Oakland University, and the school’s first chancellor Woody Varner. They were first awarded in 1965 to students who made contributions to campus life and demonstrated interest in social problems at OU and the community. The Human Relations Award, first given in 1990, annually honors a graduating senior who has contributed to campus growth by improving intergroup relations.
Besides being recognized by the Board of Trustees at their April 6 meeting, the award recipients will be honored at a special dinner and during the winter 2005 commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 7.
Townsend, a chemistry major, has served as a student researcher in the Department of Chemistry, performing scientific analysis involving the study of damage processes in DNA and synthetic organic chemistry. He also has served as an instructor in the chemistry supplemental instruction program, a tutor in the Academic Skills Center and a peer mentor for the Center for Multicultural Initiatives.
He has been involved in resident life as a resident assistant, orientation group leader, orientation assistant and orientation intern responsible for the creation of the new student online orientation guide.
Townsend is a recipient of the OU Trustee Academic Success Scholarship and the Keeper of the Dream Award. He also is a member of the Golden Key International Honour Society.
“During my time at OU, I’ve had the opportunity to work with Student Affairs and Academic Affairs,” Townsend said. “When I found out I won I was happy and thankful for the people who have guided me over the years.”
Cowham, a member of OU’s women’s soccer team and an elementary education major with endorsements in math and language arts, received the top student athlete scholar award from the OU Athletics Department, Golden Grizzlies Excellence in Academics Award and the Metro Detroit Ford Dealers Female Scholar Athlete Award. She was named to the Mid-Continent Conference All-Academic Team, Mid-Continent Conference All-Tournament team and the College Sports Information Directors of America Academic All-District IV University Division Women’s Soccer Team.
Cowham served as team captain of OU’s women’s soccer team and president of the Student Athlete Advisory Council. She is a member of the OU Academic Conduct Committee, Student Advisory Council, and OU Gender and Equity Committee and has volunteered for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Special Olympics, American Heart Association, and March of Dimes.
Cowham said her goal was to “increase student body pride and connect the student athletes with the student body.”
Parks, a communication major, has demonstrated leadership by serving two consecutive terms as student body president. He also served as Student Congress scholarship chair, assistant to the president of the Association of Black Students, and mentor in the King/Chavez/Parks and AmeriCorps programs.
Parks’ dedication to race relations also was recognized through the Sidney Fink Memorial Award for improving race relations.
“I feel honored, but at the same time, I feel privileged to be in the company of those who applied,” Parks said. “I’m also honored to be in the company of those who have received the award before me.”