MITCHELL — Four Dakota Wesleyan seniors were awarded the second annual Honors of Distinction awards, the university’s highest honors, during the annual Honors Banquet Friday night.
Established in 2022, the Wesleyan Honors of Distinction are awarded annually to four Dakota Wesleyan University seniors who have most notably embodied and exemplified the university’s values of learning, leadership, faith and service. One senior receives Wesleyan Honors of Distinction in each category.
To qualify for candidacy, students must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.25 or higher (3.7 for the learning distinction), as required by each award’s guidelines, and be ranked as senior status. Those eligible submit an application, and the finalists are selected by a Student Senate-appointed panel. The finalists are then interviewed by a committee of students, staff and faculty who choose the recipients.
In the category of Honors of Distinction for Learning, Natalie Gottlob, Salem, was named. Her parents are Pat and Laura Gottlob. Gottlob will be graduating with her Master’s in Athletic Training in May. She played basketball for four years; served as vice-president of the History Club where she volunteered to organize a community conversation with a Holocaust survivor sponsored by the National Holocaust Museum; was an Elisha intern, part of DWU’s relationship with the United Methodist Church; and a student athletic trainer. Gottlob is a Scholar-Athlete and recently returned from a 400 hour clinically immersive athletic training experience at the University of Kentucky Sports Medicine Clinic in Lexington, Kentucky.
In the category of Honors of Distinction for Leadership, Troy Wilhelm was selected. Wilhelm is a native of Rapid City and is the son of Brad and Robin Herman. Wilhelm is an active member of the CHAOS science club where he serves as vice-president. He has tutored chemistry and physics students for three years and is a member of the Tigers baseball team. Wilhelm is a Scholar-Athlete and was cited for Honors in Scholarship.
In the category of Honors of Distinction for Faith, the recipient was Morgan (Oedekoven) Carr, a Biochemistry major from Pierre. Her parents are Dustin and Jennifer Oedekoven. Carr is an active leader both on and off campus. She assists with a children’s youth group at Northridge Baptist Church and has facilitated several groups at her home church in Pierre. She and her family serve on annual mission trips to Juarez, Mexico, where she has traveled for eight years. She is also a co-leader of a Women’s Bible Study at DWU. Carr is a Scholar-Athlete for Cross-Country, Track and Field, received Honors in Scholarship and is a recipient of the F. Dwain Randall Scholarship, the university’s most prestigious scholarship.
In the category of Honors of Distinction for Service, the student selected was Andrea Hult. Hult is a Volga native. She is majoring in Nonprofit Administration and is the daughter of Gena Hult. Hult’s experiences at DWU have included serving as a nonprofit administration assistant for the Practical Church Leadership program, certificate programs and a local nonprofit network. She is wrapping up her term as Student Body President, has served as a resident assistant and has been a member of the Blue and White Days Planning Committee. Andrea’s list of volunteer activities is long: DWU Uganda immersion trips, As One Ministries, Salvation Army, Mitchell Food Pantry, Safe Place of Eastern South Dakota, Mitchell Caring Closet, EmBe, Love Feast, and her latest endeavor as interim director of Weekend Snack Pack. Hult is the recipient of the 2023 Bishop Armstrong Peace and Justice award; a recipient of the Betty Oldenkamp Pin for humanitarian work; and was cited for Honors in Scholarship.
The following students were also candidates for Honors of Distinction:
Wesleyan Honor of Distinction for Learning
Destiny Brockhaus, Bellevue, Neb.
Madeline Else, Holstein, Iowa
Wesleyan Honor of Distinction for Leadership
Adam DeJong, Watertown
Austin Lee, San Antonio, Texas
Wesleyan Honor of Distinction for Faith
Abby Ferris, Pierre
Matthew Schwaerzler, Tacoma, Wash.
Wesleyan Honor of Distinction for Service
Samuel Henderson, Buena Park, Calif.
Carter Max, Mitchell