The Gustavian Weekly

Night of Distinction awards students and groups | The Gustavian Weekly

By Kristi Manning- Staff Writer | May 13, 2016 | News

The 5th annual Night of Distinction was held this past Sunday, May 8 at 7 pm in Alumni Hall. As a part of Honors Weekend, this awards banquet was a a celebration of Leadership, Service, and Achievement for Gustavus students who have contributed and shown exceptional involvement in these areas at Gustavus Adolphus College. Around 150 award winners where in attendance, and invitations were sent to over 300 individuals.

This years Night of Distinction had a few changes from previous years, with the program being shorter: around ninety minutes in length, and the full booklet listing the award winners being handed out at end of the program rather than at the beginning.

“The goal this year was to have a program, and to create more engagement for the program in general,” Assistant Dean of Students in Dean of Students Office, Megan Ruble said.

The awards presented spanned seven different areas of campus involvement and leadership, including Fraternities and Sororities, the Diversity Center, Campus Activities, Residential Life, Community-Based Service and Learning, Gustavus Ambassadors, the Dean of Students Office, and for the first time this year Religious and Spiritual Life Awards. The last award and most prestigious of the awards presented were The Paul Magnuson Student Leadership and Service Awards.

“The goal this year was to have a program, and to create more engagement for the program in general,” Assistant Dean of Students in Dean of Students Office, Megan Ruble said.

This award was established in 1991 by Hon. Paul Magnuson ’59 the chief judge of the U.S. Federal District Court in St. Paul. This award recognizes students, groups, and events that have given significant contributions to the Gustavus Adolphus College campus. The Magnuson award was given to two student organizations, three student events, and seven student leaders.

The organizations to receive this award were Colleges Against Cancer and Fair Trade Gustavus, and the student events receiving the award were Africa Week, Senior Prom, and Spread the Love Food Pack.

The individual winners of the Magnuson awards were Seniors Logan Boese, Kaitlin Kwasniewski, Hayley Nemmers, Samuel Panzer, Jace Riggin, Leah Soule, and Junior Herchran Singh.

This year, multiple students were nominated for the award, and the students who received the Magnuson Award are a diverse group of individuals..

“For Magnuson we had more nominees than in the past. I noticed that this year of the seven individuals who were nominated they represented five states: North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota. There were also ten different majors represented by our seven different honorees,” Ruble said.

Senior Communication Studies and Political Science Major, Jace Riggin was one of the seven individual students to receive the Magnuson Award. He also received multiple other awards including, Champion of Lutheran Social Justice Values, Order of Omega, Outstanding Senior Award through the Diversity Leadership Council, and being recognized as part of the Sunday Worshiping Community Leadership Team.

Riggin has worked hard in his four years at Gustavus to get where he is today. His advice for students looking to be honored in the coming years is

“Find what you are passionate about and work hard at it, take time to get to know others and learn from them, find a mentor, be honest about your abilities and your goals, ask questions, know your values and what gets you through difficult times, practice gratitude, and lastly know that no task or job is below you.” Riggin said.

All of the students recognized at this year’s Night of Distinction have dedicated themselves to the college, and display the qualities that are true to what Gustavus stands for as an institution of higher education. They represent and exemplify what we strive for as a community here at Gustavus, and have helped to form Gustavus into a place of outstanding service and leadership.