UNK MORTAR BOARD
Xi Phi Chapter of Mortar Board is a national honor society that recognizes college seniors for outstanding achievement in scholarship, leadership and service. The Xi Phi Chapter of Mortar Board was chartered at UNK in 1988 and is one of 230 chapters nationwide.
By TODD GOTTULA
KEARNEY – The Xi Phi chapter of Mortar Board at the University of Nebraska Kearney won the organization’s highest national honor – the Ruth Weimer Mount Chapter Excellence Award – at the Aug. 1-3 Mortar Board National Conference in Atlanta.
The award is presented annually to the nation’s most exceptional chapter.
UNK Senior Advisor Amber Messersmith also won the prestigious Excellence in Advising Award, which is given to the nation’s top three advisors from more than 230 chapters. The honor recognized Messersmith’s leadership, professionalism and spirit of service.
“I am incredibly humbled. It means a great deal to me to have the confidence of the students and their appreciation for the work I’ve done,” said Messersmith, associate professor in the Department of Communication. “The award is a definite highlight of my career and something I’ll always remember.”
In the nomination form submitted by students, Messersmith was credited for guiding the UNK chapter to national prominence and described as “the driving force” behind the organization.
“Dr. Messersmith makes a great effort to get to know each member. She fosters a sense of community within the chapter,” the nomination stated. “She is present at all chapter activities and never hesitates to lend a helping hand to committees.
“She also encourages us to go above and beyond what past groups have done. … Our advisor has an intense determination to be excellent. She possesses key leadership characteristics including honesty, a positive attitude, the ability to communicate, and the ability to inspire.”
The UNK chapter of Mortar Board also received the Golden Torch Award, given to 24 chapters that contribute meaningful scholarship, leadership and service to their institutions. UNK has received the recognition 15 out of the last 16 years.
In addition, UNK won nine Project Excellence awards, given to chapters for notable achievement in scholarship, leadership, fundraising, service and involvement. Projects recognized were: Faculty Appreciation Dinner, Campus Cleanup, Freshman and Sophomore recognition event, Fuel Around the Fountain, Last Lecture Series, Outstanding Freshman and Sophomore Awards, Reading is Leading program, True Blue gamedays and Veterans Day letter writing event.
“Mortar Board includes many of our most accomplished and mature students on campus. They are dependable, responsible and committed,” Messersmith said. “It is fun and rewarding to watch them grow. You see them transition through their senior years, and you can just see they are going to be successful.”