Four graduating students were honored with Outstanding Senior awards during Baker University’s commencement ceremonies on Sunday, May 21, 2017, at the Collins Center. Chad Phillips, Wichita, Kansas; Brittney Harmon, Americus, Kansas; Luke Miltz, Lecompton, Kansas; and Gavin Webster, Independence, Kansas; all received the award.

Nomination criteria included superior achievement in the fields of academics, leadership, service, cocurricular activities and off-campus educational opportunities. Nominations were reviewed and decided on by a committee of faculty, staff, coaches and students.

A biology major and chemistry and mass media minor who graduated Magna Cum Laude, Chad Phillips served as University Admissions Assistant, Baker Orange newspaper photo editor, and Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity president and vice president of programming and communications. Phillips also studied abroad in London, Yucatan, and Morocco. “My family is quick to attest to my personal transformation from a shy quiet freshman to a confident experienced leader over the last four years. I give all the credit to the faculty, staff, friends, organizations, and community for making Baker such a special place,” reflected Phillips.

“Not only does she exemplify the Baker mission statement, but she’s an all-around great person and a representation on how to treat people with respect and passion. She is a role model for all,” said a nominator for Brittney Harmon, who graduated with majors in religious studies and communication studies and minors in conflict management and psychology. Harmon was a cofounder of the Total Equality Alliance and acted as president of Active Minds, and academic development chair of Delta Delta Delta sorority. “Through my time at Baker University, I have changed and grown as a person. Not only have I been able to take many courses that have aided in my formal education, but I have also had the opportunity to learn about the world outside of the classroom,” Harmon said.

“He has a passion for leaving Baker University better than he found it,” a nominator said of Luke Miltz. Another stated, “He has become a leader to many students and is a fantastic representation of Baker University.” Majoring in international business with a Spanish minor and graduating Magna Cum Laude, this outstanding senior was an active member of Student Senate, where he served on the Executive Board for three years. He served as recruitment and philanthropy chairs of Zeta Chi fraternity, and was an Orientation Leader. Miltz stated, “Baker has helped me grow past insecurities and grow stronger in my faith. Baker has led me to discover my passions, connecting me to a community that I will cherish forever. I am leaving as a more sensitive, self-aware, secure global citizen.”  

“What stands out to me is his humble leadership. He is one who doesn’t just talk about serving. He serves! And he does with a sense of humility that inspires other students,” said a nominator of Gavin Webster, who graduated Summa Cum Laude with an economic and business finance major and an accounting minor. His list of accomplishments include serving as cocaptain of the BU tennis team, University Admissions Assistant, and Baker Ambassador and participation in Student Senate for three years. Webster completed three internships within his major and studied abroad. “Baker University has become a place I am very proud to call home,” he said. “My experience at Baker has helped me acquire skills and confidence that will lead to success. The encouragement from my professors and peers to find and pursue courses, activities, and organizations is what has made my college experience nothing short of remarkable. I will continue to be ‘Baker Proud.’”