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Aubrey Harris, recipient of the Madam Governor Award (left), and Jesse Brewer, recipient of the Mr. Governor Award (right), pose with Gregory Singleton, Associate Vice President and Dean of Students (center). Josh Vaughn | Photo Editor

Aubrey Harris, recipient of the Madam Governor Award (left), and Jesse Brewer, recipient of the Mr. Governor Award (right), pose with Gregory Singleton, Associate Vice President and Dean of Students (center). Josh Vaughn | Photo Editor

» By Chaseton Donahoe
Staff Writer

Many awards were presented to students as well as student organizations that have been involved in campus volunteer work, philanthropy, community service and other activities promoting education and school pride at the Student Organization and Leader Awards ceremony on Thursday, April 11, in the UC ballroom.

The event had a large turnout, and over 40 awards were presented, including the Division of Student Affairs Valor Award, the Mr. and Madam Governor awards, and the Vice President’s Excellence in Leadership Award.

This year’s winners of the Valor Award were Michelle Swallows and Tracey Starek. The Division of Student Affairs Valor Award is given to students who have demonstrated action, belief, and steadfastness in the face of adverse situations.

“My experience here has definitely made me into who I am today,” said Jesse Brewer, SGA president and winner of this year’s Mr. Governor Award. “I’ve been able to meet new people, and they’ve become some of my best friends. Make sure you get involved in something. There’s always something you can find that you’ll enjoy. If you don’t get involved, you are losing a lot of the experience.”

The Vice President’s Excellence in Leadership Award this year was presented to Joseph Marler. It is awarded to students who have excelled academically while being involved on campus and exhibiting leadership skills.

Zac Gillman won both one of the Governors Rising Leaders awards as well as the Student Organization Member of the year. The Outstanding Student Veteran Award for this year was presented to Stacy Gardner for military service and maintaining high academic achievements.

“Each of these people has their own private pathways that they’ve been following,” President Tim Hall said. “I have seen them day-in and day-out, and seen the ways they’ve risen above those private pathways to participate at the university and make it a better place. It’s a stronger place. One of the reasons that it’s the fastest-growing university in Tennessee is because of our students’ engagement, labor, and service.”

Updated on April 17, 2013 at 12:20 p.m.