Andrew Leiker named Torch Award winner; Britten given Pilot Award Farley named winner of Navigator Award as outstanding faculty advisor

Andrew Leiker, Hays, was named today as the recipient of the Torch Award as the outstanding graduating senior from the Class of 2010 at Fort Hays State University.

Leiker will receive a Bachelor of Science in physics at Commencement, which begins at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 15, in Gross Memorial Coliseum on the FHSU campus.

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

Dr. Frederick Britten, professor of communication disorders, was the Pilot Award recipient, and Dr. Greg Farley, professor of biological sciences, received the Navigator Award as outstanding faculty advisor.

In announcing the Torch Award winner, Brian DeWitt, president of the Alumni Association, said, "This individual has distinguished himself in academics, service to the university and community and, in a very major way, research scholarship."

DeWitt went on to cite Leiker's leadership in such organizations as the Physics and Math Club, as a student senator, as an Anderson VIP Ambassador and as a freshman orientation advisor. He also noted Leiker's research and professional experience, which includes a research internship at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, N.M., and a research internship at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.

The 2010 Pilot Award recipient, said DeWitt, "is described by a nominator as one who 'is extremely knowledgeable in the field of study and teaches in a clear manner that causes students to have interest and excitement in the subject as well. The recipient pushes students and expects us to work hard.' " Britten was also cited for his extensive participation in professional, university and community service and his research and publications.

Farley was introduced as the Navigator Award winner by Tyler Thompson, Derby sophomore and current vice president and president-elect of the Student Government Association. Navigator Award candidates are nominated, interviewed and selected by graduating seniors. Thompson said that nominators for Farley said he "prefers to visit with us face to face. We feel that he takes the time out of his day to help students and his advisees to get the most out of their college education. This person is always interested in how we are doing with classes and is willing to go above and beyond to help you reach you academic goals, while at the same time forcing us to make decisions on our own."

This year's Torch Award winner was selected from 33 nominees; 41 faculty members were nominated for the Pilot Award.

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 Brunch 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 46,000 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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