Victoria student wins Torch Award as outstanding senior

Cody Scheck, Victoria, was named today as the recipient of the Torch Award as the outstanding graduating senior from the class of 2015 at Fort Hays State University.

He will receive a Bachelor of Business Administration with Summa Cum Laude honors at the College of Business and Entrepreneurship Commencement, which begins at 6 p.m. today at Gross Memorial Coliseum.

The announcement of the Torch Award came at the annual Graduate and Faculty Luncheon, sponsored by the FHSU Alumni Association. The Pilot Award for outstanding faculty member and the Navigator Award for outstanding faculty advisor were also announced. All three recipients will be recognized at Commencement.

Dr. Keith Dreiling, associate professor of mathematics, was the Pilot Award Recipient, and Jessica Heronemus, instructor of accounting, was the recipient of the Navigator Award.

Dr. Diane Scott, a 1988 and 1990 graduate of FHSU and president of the FHSU Alumni Association, introduced Scheck, a 2011 graduate of Victoria High School, who was selected from 46 nominees.

Scott quoted one faculty member who said in support of Scheck's nomination, "Cody has demonstrated a level of work ethic, academic achievement, leadership and moral character that are rarely paralleled by other undergraduates. Specifically, Cody's experiences align very well with the criteria for the Torch Award: leadership, high personal standards and scholarship."

Another faculty member wrote, "Over the last four years, I have come to know Cody quite well as a student, advisee and through his extensive involvement in campus organizations. He is an outstanding student who demonstrates a high level of self-motivation and a strong desire to learn. He will do great things and will always be loyal to his alma mater."

Scheck has served as a senator in the Student Government Association, as an officer in the Alpha Kappa Psi business fraternity and as a freshmen orientation assistant. He was a group leader both for the university and the Board of Regents in higher education advocacy in the state Capitol. He has participated as a tax return preparer and final reviewer in the FHSU Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, which provides free tax preparation help to the public.

He has been a tax preparer and accounting intern at Adams, Brown, Beran & Ball CPA firm in Hays and served as an intern for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation in Hays and Washington, D.C. This summer, he will be a tax intern for Koch Industries in Wichita and will return to FHSU in the fall as a graduate teaching assistant and student in the MBA program.

Scott also introduced the Pilot Award winner. "Dr. Keith Dreiling stimulates intellectual curiosity, is always well prepared and displays professional behavior … the list goes on and on," said one student quoted by Scott. "He would be a remarkable candidate for this award."

The student continued, "He is the most charming, hilarious, hard-working mathematician I have ever met. He is always positive and enthusiastic, and students love him."

Ulises Gonzalez, Garden City junior and current SGA vice president and president-elect for 2015-2016, announced Jessica Heronemus as the recipient of the Navigator Award.

The award was created in 1998 to recognize an outstanding academic advisor based on how closely he or she adheres to the university goals for academic advising. Candidates are nominated, interviewed and selected by graduating seniors.

Gonzalez announced that Heronemus was not present because she was in St. Lucia as a sponsor for 22 Fort Hays State students who were participating in service-learning trip as part of the Everybody's Business Learning Community.

The Alumni Association instituted the Torch and Pilot awards in 1974 to emphasize the importance of excellence in teaching and learning. They are presented every year at the Graduate and Faculty Luncheon in advance of Commencement.

The Torch Award candidates are nominated by members of the faculty on the basis of classroom excellence, participation in professional organizations, and involvement in student or civic activities. The Pilot Award is given on the basis of classroom excellence, ongoing research and service activities. Candidates are nominated by graduating seniors. Nominations for the Navigator Award are also made by graduating seniors in a process conducted by the Student Government Association.

The Alumni Association, established in 1916, is dedicated to identifying and serving the needs of more than 60,000 graduates living throughout the United States and 70 foreign countries. For more information, contact the Alumni Association at 785-628-4430 or

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