By Anna Hall, The Brunswick News
As the spring semester comes to a close for students at College of Coastal Georgia, attentions have increasingly focused on final exams, graduation and the launching of new careers and professional lives.
But as seniors at the college look to their futures, school officials have taken a moment to reflect on the here and now, recognizing graduates who have continually excelled in their academic pathways.
And that's a new tradition the college will continue for years to come.
Late last week, school administrators ushered in their first class of inductees into the college's new Student Hall of Fame, an honor described by Vice President for Student Affairs Jason Umfress as the "single highest honor bestowed on any student at CCGA" due to the multi-dimensionalskills required to win the award.
"Students will have the opportunity to demonstrate excellence in leadership in a number of ways. It is our hope that being named to the Hall of Fame will be an additional goal for them and will reward students who work hard," he said.
Inducted into the 2016 class of honorees were Hannah Carmichael, Jennifer Jenkins, Jessica Fujimoto, Kara Neisen, Robert Mydell and Stephanie Scott.
Now planned to be an annual rite for senior students at the college, the Hall of Fame project grew out of the former Excellence in Leadership Award, which Umfress said was seen as an award for the ultimate leader on the college's campus.
"Honestly, one of the most difficult decisions I had to make my first year in my role was what student I was going to award this to," Umfress said. "(In my first year), we had three very deserving candidates who demonstrated leadership in very different ways. It takes a different type of leader to be president of a student club, than it does to co-lead a research project with a faculty member, than it does to be captain of a sports team, than it does to be a full-time student and single parent. I pulled some people together and we brainstormed a better way to honor and recognize students' contributions to the campus in the varying ways they demonstrate leadership. The establishment of the Student Hall of Fame was the result."
Each of the five students earning the honor this year offers a vast variety of skills, talents and attributes which make them deserving of the award, Umfress said.
The five honored students, Umfress said, are clear examples of how dedication, devotion and motivation can create successful college careers. Each of the five students awarded the recent honor is more than deserving of the bright spotlight shone in their direction, he said.
"I imagine (the Hall of Fame recognition) becoming one of the most treasured honors and important traditions on campus," Umfress said. "It will be this group of students who will be some of our most successful alumni and valued citizens of their communities. I can't think of a more deserving group of students to be the inaugural Hall of Fame inductees. These students have truly demonstrated what it means to be a Mariner and have impacted our campus community in ways beyond measure."