News - Graduating Seniors Goodnight and Steele Honored

Graduating Seniors Goodnight and Steele Honored

Greenville University celebrated the accomplishments of two outstanding graduating seniors during Commencement exercises last Saturday, May 12. Laura Goodnight received the newly established President’s Award for Character and Service, and Kellie Steele received the President’s Citation for academic excellence.

Laura GoodnightConsistent Christ-like Spirit

The President’s Award for Character and Service goes to a graduating senior who demonstrates dedication to a life of Christian character and service displayed through examples of selflessness, generosity of service, nobility of character, personal integrity and commitment to Christian faith. The selection process begins with nominations from G.U. faculty and staff.

Laura Goodnight (pictured at left) was recognized for “a consistent Christ-like spirit” as she engaged in curricular and extracurricular activities, including leadership on the Lady Panthers basketball team.

“Laura would consistently ask the coaches how she could better serve the team,” said Assistant Woman’s Basketball Coach Brian Reinhard. “She thinks deeply about how her actions affect and influence others, and as a result, holds herself to high standards.”

An accounting major, Laura comes from Bothell, Washington. During her time at Greenville University, she served as executive financial administrator for student government and president of the student alumni committee. She tutored peers through the University’s business department, and community youth through The Simple Room. Laura was a member of MOSAIC and also worked in the University’s Office of Development.

Laura achieved a 4.0 GPA in her major while embracing service. She plans to pursue advanced studies in taxation at the University of Washington.

Triple Major and Perfect GPAKellie Steele-grad

Each year, the University presents the President’s Citation to a graduating senior who has demonstrated the highest academic achievement in the context of a Christian liberal arts program.

This year’s awardee, Kellie Steele (pictured at right with VP for Academic Affairs Brian Hartley) of Metamora, Illinois, plans to attend medical school. She majored in biology, chemistry and Spanish while maintaining a 4.0 GPA; she also successfully defended her senior honors thesis entitled “Cultural Sensitivity in the Doctor/Patient Relationship.”

Kellie has been called a “bilingual ambassador of Christ.” She is a veteran of multiple trips abroad including the Dominican Republic, where she used her medical knowledge and skills assisting in a clinic. She wants to help improve challenging doctor/patient relationships for those who struggle with language and cultural barriers.

Recommending Kellie for this award, Professor of Chemistry Daryl Cox said, “In each class she has been in, she has clearly been the top student. She asks the tough questions, the ones that require me to spend time reading the current literature to find the answers.” 

He notes that she scored in the 97th percentile “on one of the most difficult and feared normed tests in our field, the American Chemical Society standardized test in organic chemistry.” 

Vice President for Academic Affairs Brian Hartley concluded the presentation saying, “Kellie, on behalf of the faculty and administration, thank you for pointing the way and modeling to our entire community what it means to live a transformed life committed to character and service and grounded in the love of Christ Jesus.”

Learn More

2018 Baccalaureate Service with Rev. David Hawkins
2018 Commencement Service – Morning Celebration
2018 Commencement Service – Afternoon Celebration


Your gift to The Greenville University Fund provides the scholarships that help students make it to Commencement day. Click here to give.

This story was published on May 16, 2018

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