Lauren Ray, an environmental studies major from Springdale, Ark., on Wednesday was named the recipient of the prestigious Hurie Award as the outstanding member of the 2013 senior class at University of the Ozarks.
The award, announced at the conclusion of the annual Student Awards Convocation, is named for Dr. Wiley Lin Hurie, who served as president of Ozarks from 1923 to 1949. Given by the University’s faculty, it is the highest honor an Ozarks student can receive. The faculty members choose a graduate who has been an exemplary scholar, a campus leader, and a person of outstanding character.
Ray has excelled both inside and outside of the classroom since arriving at Ozarks in 2009. She has been named to the University’s academic honor roll each semester she has attended Ozarks and will graduate with Summa Cum Laude honors during the May 11 commencement ceremony. She has served as president of The Planet Club and Ozarks Outback and is a member of the Alpha Chi Honor Society.
Ray has also served as a program coordinator for the Ozarks Outdoors program and has been an strong advocate for environmental issues on campus and beyond.
"This is an incredible honor," Ray said of receiving the Hurie Award. "I’ve grown so much during my time at Ozarks and I feel like I was blessed to have come to this university. To receive this honor is just another wonderful blessing."
Ray has also been active in the Student Foundation Board and has served as a tutor in both the Jones Learning Center and Student Support Services. She has also volunteered her time in such projects as Habitat for Humanity, the Bearcat Hollow Project and the Clarksville tornado cleanup. In addition, she was elected the university’s 2013 Homecoming Queen in February.
Ray is daughter of David and Lisa Ray and the grand-daughter of Hugh Benson. After graduation, she will begin a new job as the education and outreach coordinator for the Illinois River Watershed Partnership (IRWP).
Lauren Ray, shown with University President Dr. Rick Niece, was named the 2013 Hurie Award winner during Wednesday’s Student Awards Convocation.