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Houbre is Maryville College award finalist

David R. Houbre, a political science major from Knoxville, was recognized as a finalist for Maryville College’s Outstanding Senior award at the Academic Awards Ceremony held on campus April 22.

Established by the Maryville College Alumni Association in 1974 and first presented in 1975, the Outstanding Senior award recognizes those students whose overall record of academic achievement and participation in extracurricular activities stand out as most exemplary.

According to Helen Bruner, director of alumni and parent relations at the College, the purpose of the award is to recognize a senior “who has been active in a broad range of activities in college, who exemplifies an ‘ideal’ Maryville College graduate and who has the potential to be an outstanding alumnus/alumna — both as a representative of the College and in his or her service to the institution.”

Houbre, the son of Ken and Debbie Houbre of Knoxville, enrolled at Maryville College in 2002 following graduation from Knoxville Catholic High School

While at the College, Houbre has been a member of the cross-country team, the soccer team and the Student Government Association (SGA). His peers elected him “Senator of the Year” in 2005.

Elected president of SGA for the 2005-2006 academic year, he represented the student body on the College’s Board of Directors and also served as a member of the Planning and Budget Advisory Committee and the Technology Advisory and Planning Committee, both of which serve to advise the president on issues relevant to the campus. In November, he was selected to attend the Symposium on Ethics and Moral Decision Making in Hilton Head, S.C.

In presenting his advisee at the April 22 ceremony, Dr. Mark O’Gorman, associate professor of political science, spoke about Houbre and his extracurricular and academic involvements as an undergraduate.

“In political science, he is among our strongest majors and is an active and positive presence in class,” O’Gorman said. “As S-G-A president, with the constant demands of committee work, meeting with and working with college administrators, staff and faculty as the student voice, and to do it so well is a credit to his work ethic.”

Only those students with a minimum grade point average of 3.0 are considered for nomination for the award. A committee that includes student, faculty and staff representation chooses five finalists, who respond in writing to questions about their view of their future role as alumni, their goals for the future and their understanding of how the College has influenced them.

In his essay, Houbre said he plans to further his education in graduate school and earn a law degree. Based on his experience working with the Knoxville Public Defender’s Office, he feels that he “may be called to perform that type of service for those accused of crimes who cannot afford an attorney.

“I expect to represent the college in everything that I do, and I am as proud as I could possibly be to graduate from this school and to have the opportunities I have had here,” he wrote.

Several West Knox County students also received awards at the ceremony.

From Christian Academy of Knoxville: The Outstanding Performance in Structural Chemistry Award went to Matthew Murrill, a sophomore chemistry major. The award recognizes outstanding ability in the study of organic chemistry and structural analysis. He is the son of Janet Murrill of Knoxville.

From Bearden High School: Ashleigh Oatts, daughter of Thomas and Kari Oatts, took home the Verton M. Queener Award for History, which goes to the outstanding junior student in American and English History. From Farragut High School: The Agnes Thornton-Bird Endowed Memorial Award was presented to sophomore political science major Erin Mentzer, daughter of John and Brenda Mentzer of Knoxville. The award goes to a locally residing sophomore or junior woman interested in pursuing a career in the legal profession.

From Knoxville Catholic High School: English and religion major Joseph Chait, the son of Mark and Elizabeth Chait of Knoxville, was presented three awards during the ceremony: The Alexander English Prize for the best four-year record in English, the T.T. Alexander Award for the best paper written in philosophy or theology, and the Bates Bible Award for the best ability in the study of religion or philosophy.

From Webb High School: Junior music theory and composition major Andrew Lawler, son of James and Kathleen Lawler of Knoxville, received the Davies Fine Arts Award, which recognizes artistic promise and outstanding work.


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