A Southern Illinois University Edwardsville student’s recent trip to a poverty stricken country to help give children recreational play is one reason why he won this year’s Kimmel scholarship.
Neil Abegg, a junior majoring in Human Resource Management, received the scholarship Monday night at the Kimmel Leadership Awards Ceremony.
Abegg, of New Athens, will receive free tuition for one year, according to Michelle Welter, associate director for the Kimmel Student Involvement Center. The annual scholarship program is sponsored by the SIUE Kimmel Student Involvement Center.
The award was established to recognize students for their outstanding leadership and community volunteer service contributions, in addition to academic excellence. It is named for Carol K. Kimmel, a former member of the SIU Board of Trustees who died in 2008. She was an avid volunteer for many years and a devoted SIUE supporter who dedicated her life to education.
“Though I am just one person, I know that I can make a great impact in such poverty as I saw in (Negril) Jamaica,” said Abegg, who has a 3.2 GPA and more than 100 hours in community services. The junior was one of 11 SIUE students who built a netball court at Church Hill Primary School in Negril and provided school supplies and candy to the youngsters.
Kimmel Community Service is another (non-student) category in the Kimmel Leadership Awards. This year there were four recipients, Carolyn Catalano, office support specialist in the Foreign Languages and Literature department; Barbara Kusmierczak of Collinsville, Jodi Olson, admission and records officer in the Registrar’s Office; and Dr. Eric Voss, professor in the Department of Chemistry.
Catalano plays the violin and sings every Sunday morning at Cedar Ridge Health and Rehab in Lebanon.
“The smiles and waves of nursing home residents, as well as their tears, rescue me from my blindness to how lucky I am,” said Catalano. “I want to be a bridge to help others learn to be more comfortable volunteering in elder care facilities.”
Some of the other categories where awardees were recognized Monday night included:
Photos: (Top L-R) Narbeth Emmanuel, vice chancellor for Student Affairs; Neil Abegg, Kimmel scholarship recipient; Jim Kimmel, son of Carol Kimmel; Linda Moore; and Chancellor Julie Furst-Bowe
(Bottom) Kimmel Community Service Award winners