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Student leaders honored in virtual Student Recognition Day

ISSUED: 21 April 2020
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens

SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — Shepherd University’s 72nd Annual Student Recognition Day was not able to take place in person this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, however a number of students are being recognized virtually for their achievements.

Two graduating seniors, Madison Hale, Martinsburg, and Justin Jennings, Inwood, are recipients of the Dr. Oliver S. Ikenberry Award for Human Service. The $250 cash award goes to one female and one male graduating student for exemplary human service to Shepherd as evidenced by campus leadership, community service, and overall achievement. Ikenberry served as Shepherd’s president for 21 years, from 1947-1968. The administration building, Ikenberry Hall, is named in his honor.

Hale, a global studies major with an environmental studies focus, was nominated by Dr. Jeff Groff, chair, Department of Environmental and Physical Sciences. 

“She is the most dedicated student I’ve ever met to the causes of environmental justice and sustainability,” Groff said. “She lives a lifestyle that is commensurate with her beliefs (e.g., she’s vegan and her consumer habits are informed by her consideration of environmental, economic, and cultural sustainability). She served as president of the Shepherd Environmental Organization helping to organize and promote outreach and community service activities for years. She is an exemplary student when it comes to efforts to advance positive social change. She is also one of the kindest and most warm-hearted people I’ve ever met.”

Jennings was nominated by two fellow students and Rachael Meads, director of student activities.

“Justin is respected by faculty, staff, students, and the greater community for his outstanding examples of service, leadership, and integrity,” Meads said. “He is a United States Army veteran and after his time in the Army, Justin returned to school, joined his fraternity, and has impacted his chapter, members, and the community with the positive change, growth, and development. All of Justin’s successes and experiences can boil down to one common theme—he is passionate about helping others.”

Danielle Stephenson, Charles Town, a political science major who plans to enter Shepherd’s Master of Arts in College Student Development program next academic year as a graduate assistant for community service, is this year’s Lowe Family Award recipient for outstanding service to the university and high academic achievement. Funded by the Lowe family of Shepherdstown, the award honors the recipient by planting a tree on the Shepherd campus.

Stephenson, who was nominated by Alyssa Roush, graduate assistant for fraternity and sorority life, has served as in various leadership positions, including Student Government Association president and vice president. She has also served as Miss Jefferson County and Miss Berkeley County, using her platform to raise money for the Children’s Miracle Network and to speak at schools about her social impact initiative “Too Smart to Start,” teaching youth how to make healthy decisions from a young age, geared around drug prevention.

A full list of all student leadership awards is available at

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