Indiana State University Newsroom

Four grads recognized with Rankin Awards

April 27, 2011

Indiana State University has honored four students with the Rankin Memorial Distinguished Senior Awards in recognition of their efforts to improve campus life.

Named for the university's seventh president, who served from 1965-1975, the Rankin Awards recognize outstanding seniors who have demonstrated dedicated membership and leadership ability in campus organizations and in the community. Recipients must also have a cumulative grade-point average of at least 3.25 on a 4.0 scale.

The 2011 Rankin Award recipients, who will be recognized during ISU's spring commencement May 7, are Heather Marie Bauer of Huntingburg, Elizabeth R. Neeley of Worthington, Anna Smith of Columbus and David Lee Walters of Valparaiso.

Bauer, also one of five Hines Medalists in recognition of graduating seniors with the highest grade point average, is completing degrees in psychology and criminology and criminal justice. She plans to complete a master's degree at Ball State University and later a doctoral degree in clinical psychology with an emphasis in psychology and the law in anticipation of working as a clinical psychologist for the court or prison system.

While at Indiana State, Bauer served internships at the Putnamville Correctional Facility and Vigo County Prosecutor's Office, worked as a counselor and tutor for the Upward Bound Program, a Summer Honors counselor and an academic peer advocate for fellow students in her residence hall. She was a researcher and research assistant in the psychology department, was active in the University Honors program and National Society of Collegiate Scholars and served as president of the Psychology Society and Psi Chi. Her previous awards have included the Richard G. Landini Outstanding Junior Award, numerous psychology department awards and the Residential Life Service Award. Her community activities have included Lighthouse Mission, College Mentors for Kids, American Red Cross and the Boys and Girls Club of Terre Haute.

Neeley, a chemistry major, has been involved in the American Chemical Society, University Honors program, University Honors Student Association, Pre-Medical Student Association, Tri-Beta National Biological Honors Society, Relay for Life, chemistry research, Summer Honors and Discover ISU. She has served as a student assistant for Residential Life and the Student Academic Services Center.

She has received the Indiana Top Scholar Award, the Residential Life Resident Assistant Academic Achievement Award, Residential Life Service Leadership Award, Hoosier Scholars Award, Anne Bauer Honors Book Scholarship, P.D. Wilkinson Award and was named Chemistry Student of the Year her freshman year. Her community activities have included Children's Museum and Habitat for Humanity. Neeley has been accepted to the Indiana University School of Medicine and will begin her studies there this fall. She plans to practice medicine in Indiana.

Smith, a public relations major and member of the University Honors program, will deliver the student commencement address. She has served as president of Hulman Memorial Student Union Board, founder and president of the university's dance marathon for Riley Children's Hospital, director of the Up ‘Til Dawn fundraiser for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and student advisor for the department of communication. She has been a member of the Chi Omega sorority, the Public Relations Student Society of Women, the women's soccer team and was chair of community service for Spring Week.

A member of the Missouri Valley Conference Academic Honor Roll, Smith received the Richard G. Landini Outstanding Junior Award, the Liametz Memorial Scholarship, the Brett Memorial Honors Scholarship for Study Abroad, Jeff Hardaway Award and the Daniel and Emma Avery Memorial Scholarship. Her community activities included internships with St. Jude Hospital and the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce, Chi Omega's Make a Dish for Make a Wish Foundation, Relay for Life, Bowl for Kids' Sake, Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service and Walk for Autism. Smith will soon be starting a career as a marketing and communications specialist with Cummins Inc. in Columbus.

Walters, an insurance and risk management major and a Gongaware Scholar at Indiana State, was active with the Insurance Honor Corps in the Scott College of Business, served as co-head of the career and professional development team for the Networks Professional Development Program, project leader for the sales career exploration event in the Sales and Negotiations Center, was co-head of industry relations and the Oktoberbest Golf Scramble for Gamma Iota Sigma insurance and risk management fraternity and co-head of philanthropy for the Student Alumni Association. Walters was co-host of the "Sycamore Experience" segment of former ISU basketball coach Kevin McKenna's weekly television show and was active in numerous fraternity events, including Tricycle Derby.

His awards have included the Richard G. Landini and Mark Williams outstanding junior awards, Greek Man of the Year, Mike Blackwell and Indiana Top Scholar scholarships and a two-time recipient of the Networks Financial Institute Scholar of the Year Award. His community involvement has included Haiti relief fundraisers sponsored by Alpha Tau Omega and the Wabash Valley Red Cross, Heart Walk, Ryves Youth Center at Etling Hall, Habitat for Humanity, Vigo County School Corp. Reading Program, Race for the Cure, Gamma Iota Sigma canned food drive and Valentine's Day cards for nursing home residents. Walters has accepted a position with Gibson Insurance Group of South Bend and will serve as a client executive/new business producer with a focus in middle market commercial lines property and casualty insurance.

Photos: - Heather Marie Bauer - Elizabeth R. Neeley - Anna Smith - David Walters

Media contact: Dave Taylor, media relations director, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3743 or