For the students who made up the Mizzou '39 class of 2012, no path to the award was exactly the same.
Some were specialized science majors and others served as Missouri Students Association senators and in various capacities both on and off campus. But on Saturday night, all 39 award recipients gathered together to be honored by MU and the Alumni Association at the Reynolds Alumni Center.
Selection committee chairman Wally Pfeffer said he was stunned regarding this year's selected students.
“Because I get to read all the applications, I get to see their activities on campus and off campus,” Pfeffer said. “I’m always particularly moved by what they consider some of their most influential moments that really bonded them to Mizzou in their career here, and even more importantly the mentors that they had, that made such a difference in their lives here at Mizzou.”
The 39 chosen students were introduced during halftime of the Missouri men's basketball victory over No. 6 Baylor on Saturday at Mizzou Arena. After the game, the mentors, students and their families were given a reception and a banquet in the Reynolds Alumni Center.
Christy Brethorst, vice president of the Alumni Association Student Board, said she was blown away with the accomplishments of the selected students.
“We have such a unique and diverse class (that has) so many different talents and skills that they’ve contributed over their four years here,” Brethorst said. “They completely embody what it means to give to Mizzou, the university (and) the community above all.”
Pfeffer said members of the Alumni Association Student Board make themselves ineligible for the award.
“They consider this their award, which they give to their fellow students,” Pfeffer said.
Pfeffer said this year’s class was just as extraordinary as previous ones.
According to the Mizzou ’39 program, the Alumni Association Student Board created the award in order to honor distinguished seniors for their service and leadership. Students who applied for the award went through an application and interview process. Upon receiving the honor, each recipient also designated an MU faculty member who they felt should be recognized for their educational impact on them.
“It’s nice to receive this honor and to be recognized for all the work I put into the university,” senior Lauren Fischer said. “But it’s also nice to have your mentor recognized as well.”
Fischer, a biochemistry major from Columbia, served as president of the Biochemistry Club as well as being a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma, Omicron Delta Kappa and the Golden Girls.
Fischer’s mentor, biochemistry professor Shari Freyermuth, said she was proud to have supported Fischer for the award.
“I know she’s going to go far, and I’m just very excited for her and proud that I could be a part of her life while she was here at MU," Freyermuth said.