2013 Commencement

Mount Mercy honors students during 2013 commencement exercises

Mount Mercy University’s two highest awards for graduates were presented during the 2013 commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 19, at the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena. Benjamin Wood, a communications studies and public relations double major from Cascade, Iowa, received the Mary Catherine McAuley Award. This is the highest honor given to a student who has attended Mount Mercy for four years. Vladimir Vuković, a management major, from Ruma, Serbia, received the Mary Frances Warde Award, the highest honor given to a student who transferred to Mount Mercy.

Bruce Payne, a computer science and criminal justice double major from Sand Springs, Iowa, received the prestigious President’s Award during Honors Convocation on Saturday, May 18. The President’s Award is bestowed upon a graduating senior who has demonstrated outstanding perseverance and diligence in pursuing his or her goals.

More than 500 students graduated from Mount Mercy this spring, with 406 students completing undergraduate studies and 116 students completing graduate studies from Mount Mercy’s four graduate programs.

Sister Jean Evans, R.S.M., D.Th., of the West Midwest community of the Sisters of Mercy served as the commencement speaker during the ceremony. Christopher Reed, a history major and honors student from Marion, Iowa, was the student speaker.

Mary Catherine McAuley Award

Benjamin Wood received the Mary Catherine McAuley Award, which is presented to the graduate who, in addition to a high scholastic ranking of a 3.0 or above, has exemplified to a marked degree cooperation with administration, faculty and students; integrity in his/her personal relationships; and leadership and loyalty in furthering the ideals of Mount Mercy. The award is named for Catherine McAuley, who founded the Sisters of Mercy in Ireland in 1831.

Wood served as the editor and business manager of the student newspaper, The Mount Mercy Times; was a member of Student Government Association; was part of the first STEPS (Striving Towards Engaged and Purposeful Servant-Leadership) class at Mount Mercy; served as a resident assistant and worked at the university’s Information Desk. He participated in band, choir and theater, has been involved with the sustainability task force on campus, as well as the Green/Outdoor Recreation Club. Wood is an intern in the Office of Communications & Marketing at Mount Mercy, where he will continue working throughout the summer.

He was named to Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges. Wood was also profiled in the Corridor Business Journal as a college student making a difference in the Corridor. He has volunteered time in the community at Four Oaks the Bridge and the Catherine McAuley Center in Cedar Rapids. He will continue his education working towards his master’s degree in the fall. He hopes to pursue a career in residence life on a college campus someday.

Mary Frances Warde Award

Vladimir Vuković received the Mary Frances Warde Award, the highest honor given to a student who transferred into Mount Mercy and has acquired a minimum of 30 credit hours at the university. The award is conferred upon the graduate who, in addition to a high scholastic rating (3.0 or above), has exemplified to a marked degree cooperation with administration, faculty, and students; integrating in his/her personal relationships; and leadership and loyalty in furthering the ideals of Mount Mercy. The award is named for Mary Frances Warde, who founded the Sisters of Mercy in America in 1843.

Vuković was involved in basketball, track and field. He held two jobs on campus in public safety and facilities. A native of Ruma, Serbia, Vuković studied management and minored in economics at Mount Mercy. He’s been named to the Dean’s List, was awarded the Most Improved Player during the 2012-2013 men’s basketball season, and was part of the men’s basketball team that went to the NAIA national tournament in 2013.

He transferred to Mount Mercy after studying at a community college in Maryland for two years. After taking the summer off to return to Serbia, he hopes to return to the United States and begin looking for a job while pursuing his master’s degree. He believes the education he received at Mount Mercy has given him a unique opportunity to stand apart from others and demonstrate quality leadership skills.

President’s Award

Bruce Payne received the President’s Award during Mount Mercy’s Honors Convocation on Saturday, May 18. The President’s Award is given to the graduating senior who has demonstrated outstanding perseverance and diligence in pursuing his or her goals.

A native of Sand Springs, Iowa, Payne studied computer science and criminal justice at Mount Mercy. He was involved in Student Government Association (SGA), having served as president for two years. Through SGA, he has held positions in the senate and cabinet. He was class president all four years at Mount Mercy. Payne was involved in Criminal Justice Club, Computer Club, Band Club, and Math Club. He also served on M2AP Board, was a Student Ambassador, and actively participated in Campus Ministry activities and many committees on campus.

He held two jobs on campus, working at the university’s Information Desk as well as in the Events Office. Additionally, Payne has volunteered time on campus and in the community. He was featured as an outstanding college graduate in the Corridor in The Gazette for his campus involvement and quality leadership skills. Following graduation he plans to pursue a career in the criminal justice field.

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