UNA holds its annual university awards


Casey Kula

Senior, Morgan Allen receives award from Dr. Ross Alexander.

Alex Hopper, News Editor

The Division of Academic Affairs, Division of Student Affairs and the Student Government Association held its annual University Awards Gala to honor students and faculty that have distinguished themselves in the areas of academic achievement, campus involvement and volunteerism.

Each department handed out academic achievement awards to graduating seniors within each major.

The winners were determined by not only classroom achievement but also were based on “character, professionalism, and potential.”

For the Department of Arts and Sciences, Charlie Gordon won his first of five awards for academic achievement in the Communication Arts major.

Gordon also won the Distinguished Academic Achievement Award, The Outstanding Volunteerism Award, LaGrange Host of the Year, and the Hall of Fame Award.

“Four years ago I never would have imagined I would be the person that could win one award at the Awards gala and definitely not five,” said Gordon.

“The Awards Gala was such a special night to celebrate the achievements of our campus community and I am truly so honored to have been included in the ranks of so many amazing campus and community servants and leaders.”

Gordon also expressed his pride for the entire UNA community throughout the struggles of the past year.

“The UNA community could have easily given up and allowed the COVID-19 pandemic to defy us but we didn’t,” said Gordon. We fought and we pushed to ensure that the experience that so many UNA students love was still alive and well.”

Gordon feels all UNA students deserve to share in his achievements as the entire campus has “succeeded together united and strong.”

Within each department, a Dean’s Award was also handed out to students who have gone above and beyond what their course work required of them.

The College of Business Dean’s Award was given to Tate Gooch. Gooch also received the University Man of the Year Award.

Gooch also acted as one of the night’s MC’s along with Senior English Lecturer Latasha Howell.

“To be recognized in any capacity at UNA is truly an honor,” said Gooch.

“Being able to hear the accomplishments of other students at the Awards Gala makes me feel so undeserving of my own awards,” said Gooch. “This university has been the largest part of my life for the past four years, and I am so thankful for all that it has provided me.”

These awards remind Gooch “how blessed he is to be at UNA.”

The Dean’s Award for the College of Education and Human Sciences went to Maria Mask for Kinesiology.

“Being a student at UNA and a part of the Kinesiology Department have been such big blessings in my life,” said Mask. “A special thank you to Dr. Waldman, my mentor at UNA, for encouraging and challenging me.”

“Thank you to all the faculty and staff for a positive experience at the University of North Alabama,” said Mask.

Apart from academic awards, the University also recognised student organizations and faculty that have impacted UNA’s campus.

Among the RSO winners were the American Marketing Association, the Student Nurses Organization, and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.

Along with Alpha Kappa Alpha Inc. being recognised, the sorority’s President Shanise Allen won The Sorority Woman of the Year Award and the Undergraduate Service Award.

“I was truly honored to receive the Sorority Woman of the Year and the Undergraduate Service Award at the 2021 University Awards Gala,” said Allen. “This showed me that hard work does pay off in the end.”

“I could not have done any of this if it wasn’t for the constant love and support from my parents.”

Allen cites the hard work and dedication the sisters of Alpha Kappa Alpha Inc. have done over the past year.

“To say that I am proud is an understatement. These ladies have worked hard to plan programs throughout the year in a virtual world, and they are truly deserving of this award,” said Allen.

“Overall, I am so honored and feel so blessed for all the awards that I received. I want to say thank you to the University of North Alabama and Roar Lions!”

Some of the faculty winners included Dr. Andrea Hunt, director for the Mitchell-West Center for Social Inclusion, and Dr. Mario Mighty, assistant professor of geography.

“I have received several awards during my time at UNA, but the W.T. McElheny award is especially important to me because it comes from students,” said Hunt.

SGA chooses the recipient for this award.

“I was honored to be recognized for my work in advancing more equitable and inclusive campus policies and practices,” said Hunt. “I always remind them [SGA] that they have a powerful voice in advocating for all students and they have a platform to affect positive change at UNA.”

This awards gala showcased the vast amount of talent UNA has in it’s students, organizations, and faculty members.