By Sam Fleury and guest contributor Molly Borgmeyer

Photos by Kimberly Gayle Photography  



More than 150 students, faculty and staff filled the Cherry Hill Event Center for the annual Columbia College Student Affairs 2015 Night of Recognition. The event, which took place on April 28, honored the best and brightest students and organizations from Columbia College’s main campus.

The evening started with hors d’oeuvres and a chance for all in attendance to network, share stories and take photos in the scenic area of Cherry Hill. The attendees were then welcomed by Faye Burchard, dean of Student Affairs, who served as the mistress of ceremonies for the event.

“This annual event serves as an opportunity for you, our campus leaders who are always planning the events, to attend an event without having to plan it,” Burchard said. “It is truly a joy to witness so many leaders in our college community enjoying one another’s company and taking a moment to celebrate their achievements during these last days of the semester.”

Prior to the individual and group awards presentations (which are listed below), the college’s student community consultants, resident assistants and head residents, Student Activities Commission, SAC @ Nite, the Homecoming Steering Committee and Registered Student Organization were recognized by the Student Affairs staff. The students involved in these organizations have completed 1,638.5 service hours, valued at $36,276.20 according to the nonprofit coalition, Independent Sector. Additionally, the students have donated over $3,000 in monetary donations or items to local community organizations.

The evening wrapped up with a video presentation featuring photos from different events and activities held throughout the year. Below is a complete list of the award winners and photos of each honoree from the evening. Congratulations to all nominees and honorees!


Rogers Gate Award

Alyssa Johnson

Mitchel SmithNightofRecognition_2

*Rogers Gate is the most recognized symbol of Columbia College. It was built to honor Joseph Kirtley Rogers, third president of Christian College and is a pillar of education in the Columbia community. This award honors senior students who, throughout their collegiate career, has distinguished themselves as outstanding Columbia College citizens and maintains high standards of scholarship, service and leadership within their community. Being nominated for this award is an honor in itself, and each of the nominee’s achievements are worth of celebration.



Service Project of the Year

Cougarden Community Garden – International Club

2015 Night of Recognition-151

*This award honors the commitment of an organization or group of students that work together to provide service to their community. The purpose of the Cougarden Community Garden is to offer an opportunity for international students to network with each other and learn more skills. Additionally the food that is harvested will be donated to people and organizations in need.




Program/Event of the Year

Show Choir, a Capella and Drumline Showcase – Columbia College Music Program2015 Night of Recognition-156

*This award recognizes a group of students who developed and sponsored a program or event that has enriched the academic and co-curricular lives of Columbia College students. This showcase was the first collaborative performance with the new music degree and it was the first opportunity to show students, faculty, staff and community members the spirit and enthusiasm of the Columbia College music department, while simultaneously providing great entertainment.



Advisor of the Year

Ken Akers – Collegiate DECA

*This award acknowledges an advisor who demonstrates outstanding commitment and dedication to advising his or her student group. “Mr. Akers is a driving force behind DECA, Constantly encouraging us and molding us into the leaders we are by taking time out of his busy schedule to coach us,” members of the Collegiate DECA Chapter said. From one individual’s personal experience, it was stated that, “No one has cared so much, or worked so hard to see someone else succeed.”


Student Organization of the Year

Columbia College Student-Missouri State Teachers Association2015 Night of Recognition-171

*This award recognizes a student organization that has excelled through membership, leadership and participation and has made a consistent contribution to student life at Columbia College. Members of MSTA raised over $2500 for various community needs and recorded approximately 150 hours of service, not including the unrecorded hours of tutoring and volunteerism completed as needed. Additionally, through three successful community projects, inclusion has been key, drawing in local businesses, faculty and staff of Columbia College as well as surrounding schools and community members. Columbia College Student MSTA members have also assisted in planting potential chapters at multiple colleges and universities throughout the state of Missouri.


Friend of Student Affairs Award

The Columbia College Bookstore2015 Night of Recognition-176

*The Columbia College Bookstore received multiple nominations for this specific award and all
nominators agreed on one main point: The bookstore is focused on making educational resources attainable for all students. Nominators noted the employees of the bookstore often go above and beyond their required duties to make sure that everyone is taken care of, which is of specific importance to students who work with Disability Services to obtain resources crucial to their individual needs.


True Blue Award

Lauren Jaeger2015 Night of Recognition-182

*This award recognizes a student who not only embodies the core values of Columbia College, but also is an ardent supporter and cheerleader of the institution.






Servant Leadership Award

2015 Night of Recognition-190

Abbie O’Brien

*This award honors a student who has devoted his or her time to improving the community they live in by volunteering generously with a cause or group they are passionate about.




Emerging Leader Award2015 Night of Recognition-204

Anthony John

*The Emerging Leader Award recognizes a student who is an up-and-coming leader on campus, demonstrated through their scholarship, leadership, involvement and service to Columbia College.