University of Kansas announces Ex.C.E.L. Award winners, concludes 106th Homecoming celebration

Posted on Oct 1, 2018 in Campus News and News

Home on the Hill | KU Homecoming 2018 | Sept. 23-29 | 2018 Homecoming winners
Two University of Kansas students, Jose Montoya of Los Lunas, New Mexico, and Jonnette Oakes of Topeka, are winners of the 28th annual Excellence in Community, Education and Leadership (Ex.C.E.L.) Awards. The award presentation during halftime of the KU-Oklahoma State football game Sept. 29 in the David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium concluded KU’s 106th Homecoming celebration.

Jose Montoya

Montoya, a senior majoring in sport management and journalism, is president of the Multicultural Greek Council. He is a Hawk Link Honors Program graduate and participates in the Multicultural Scholars Program. He is treasurer of the music fraternity Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia and he served as vice president of the Latino fraternity Phi Iota Alpha. He is a Marching Jayhawks rank leader and press announcer for KU Women’s Tennis. He served as a sports reporter and crew member for Playmakers Central on KUJH-TV and was a volunteer crew member for Rock Chalk Video. He won the Earl Falkenstien Honor Award in 2018 and has interned in Washington, D.C., for the past two summers.

Jose Montoya of Los Lunas, New Mexico | Ex.C.E.L. Winner 2018 Homecoming winners

Jonnette Oakes

Oakes, a senior majoring in political science with a minor in business, is a member of Delta Sigma Theta sorority and served as the chapter’s president and nominating chair. She was secretary of the law fraternity Phi Alpha Delta and currently serves as vice president of outreach for the National Pan-Hellenic Council. She has been a student ambassador at KU and she assists new students as an Adidas peer mentor. She interned for the Kansas Legislature and was a desk assistant for the KU Office of Multicultural Affairs.

Jonnette Oakes of Topeka | Ex.C.E.L. winner 2018 Homecoming winners

The Ex.C.E.L. Award provides an annual $250 scholarship to two students. Nominees were selected on the basis of leadership, effective communication skills, involvement at KU and in the Lawrence community, academic scholarship and ability to work with a variety of students and organizations.

“Home on the Hill”

The theme for this year’s Homecoming was “Home on the Hill.” The event was sponsored by Crown Toyota, Volkswagen and Hy-Vee, with two locations in Lawrence, and was supported by Kansas Athletics. Students and alumni participated in several activities throughout the week, including competitions, reunions and tailgates. The Alumni Association also launched KU Mentoring, a program that provides career connections and networking opportunities for students and alumni. The program is the first phase of the Jayhawk Career Network.

The annual Homecoming celebration was organized by the KU Alumni Association and a student-led steering committee, which was chaired by Allyson Bellner, a sophomore from Marion, Iowa, majoring in biology; Ashley Dunn, a Lawrence junior majoring in communication studies; Logan Hotz, a Rose Hill junior majoring in mathematics and economics; Mary Claire McLaughlin, a junior from Ballwin, Missouri, majoring in mechanical engineering and business; and Rebecca Seldin, a junior from Deerfield, Illinois, majoring in strategic communications. They worked with Alumni Association staff members Ally Stanton, director of student programs, and Keon Stowers, assistant director of student programs.

The Homecoming parade was Thursday, Sept. 27, on Massachusetts Street in downtown Lawrence and featured KU alumni Rich and Judy Howard Billings of Lakewood, Colorado, as grand marshals. The Billings are benefactors of the annual Spirit of 1912 Award and participated in their 60th Homecoming celebration this year.

Other 2018 Homecoming event and award winners are:

Jennifer Alderdice Homecoming Award
Brianna Mears, a junior from Georgetown, Texas majoring in strategic communications

Rich and Judy Billings Spirit of 1912 Award
Howard Cohen, a 1979 School of Business alumnus, and his wife, Debra, from Leawood

Overall Winners
Greek Life
1st place: Alpha Delta Pi, Chi Omega, Alpha Tau Omega, Beta Sigma Psi
2nd place: Kappa Delta, Sigma Kappa, Theta Chi, Delta Tau Delta
3rd place: Alpha Chi Omega, Triangle, Delta Gamma, Sigma Pi

Student Life – Chalk & Rock Competition
Best Interpretation of Theme: Sellards Scholarship Hall
Best Use of Space: Watkins Scholarship Hall
Difficulty Level – Picasso: Krehbiel Scholarship Hall
Most Spirited: The Big Event
Best Incorporation of Organization: Women in Medicine

For more information about this year’s event, visit the Homecoming website.

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