McMurry Seniors Honored at Spring 2018 Commencement

  Gary Ellison
  Thursday, May 24, 2018 1:45 PM
  Archives 2017 - 2018

Abilene, TX

McMurry Seniors Honored at Spring 2018 Commencement

Four McMurry University seniors received special recognition at the 2018 Spring Commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 12.

Brett Banks, a Christian ministry major with a minor in sociology from Abilene, Texas, is the winner of the Harry Soladay Memorial Award.

Since 1957, the Harry Soladay Memorial Award has been given to an outstanding graduating senior at McMurry University.  To qualify for this award, the student must have demonstrated outstanding service to McMurry, must have actively been involved in religious life both on campus and in a local church, and must be employed in addition to their studies and activities.

Banks has provided strong leadership for several organizations on campus. He became the first McMurry student to be trained as a peer leader and a coach with Interfaith Youth Core, an organization working towards an America where people of different faiths, worldviews, and traditions can bridge differences and find common values to build a shared life together.

Banks has not only made a difference on campus with the Better Together Alliance student organization, but has been involved in the community with the Abilene Interfaith organization as well.  During his time at McMurry, this student has also worked with Heavenly Rest Episcopal Church in the children’s and youth ministries and their Refugee Ministry program, with Hendrick Hospice Care, and is currently a part-time pastor at Trent United Methodist Church in Trent, Texas. This fall, he will be attending Brite Divinity School at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas.

Symphony Munoz, a sociology major with a minor in criminology, is the winner of the Ginny Carlson Memorial Award.

The Ginny Carlson Memorial Award has been given to an outstanding senior woman at McMurry University since 1967.  The qualifications for this award are a grade point average of 3.0 or better, outstanding activity and leadership in the service of McMurry, and high religious, moral, and ethical behavior.

Munoz has earned numerous awards and recognitions during her time at McMurry. Some of these include being the three-time Outstanding Sociology Major, being awarded the Dr. Sandra Harper Women’s Leadership Award, and earning athletic All-Academic Awards in two successive years and several other awards as a member of the War Hawks Tennis Team. 

She has been involved in several social club leadership positions with Delta Beta Epsilon, served as an Orientation Peer Leader, a senator with McMurry Student Government and a multi-year member of the McMurry Marching Band and Wind Ensemble.  She is also an honors program participant earning her degree in just three years.

James “Trey” Spivey, a theater major with a primary interest in technical theater, scene design and lighting design, is the winner of the W. Anthony Hunt Memorial Award.

An honors program graduate from Belton, Texas, Spivey was a multi-year member of McMurry Student Foundation, an orientation leader, peer leader and student co-director of the new student orientation program, vice president of Alpha Phi Omega, the national service fraternity, a member of the men’s social club Eta Epsilon Iota and internal campus events chair with the Campus Activities Board. This year, he was involved in helping to re-establish Alpha Psi Omega on campus, the national theatre honor society.

Nathan Elders, a mathematics major with a minor in curriculum and instruction from Abilene, is the winner of the Don Allen Memorial Award.

The Don Allen Memorial Award is given to the outstanding non-traditional graduating senior, male or female, at McMurry University.  To qualify for this award, the student must have a grade point average of 3.0 or higher while working and maintaining a home and/or family. The student must be of high ethical and moral character and have been a credit to McMurry University.

Elders transferred to McMurry from Cisco College. Preparing to be a teacher, Elders has assisted McMurry faculty by occasionally substituting in the college algebra class. He also served as a mathematics tutor in the University’s Academic Enrichment Center.

Elders has coached youth sports and hopes to continue coaching in the future.

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Gary Ellison