Baker University honored three of its best and brightest of the Class of 2018 during Commencement ceremonies on Sunday, May 20, at the Collins Center in Baldwin City. Logan Brettell and Spencer Brown, Overland Park, Kansas, and Brenda McCollum, Fall River, Kansas, were named Outstanding Seniors.
To be nominated for this award, students must display 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.
“Baker has provided me with a quality learning environment and fostered my personal growth,” Logan Brettell said.
Brettell graduated magna cum laude with an interdisciplinary major in mass media, business, and sports administration and was active in academics, leadership, and athletics. He supported Baker as a University Admissions Assistant and mentored incoming students as an orientation leader. Brettell served as vice president of recruitment for Delta Tau Delta fraternity. As quarterback during his junior year, he led his team to Daytona Beach for the 2016 NAIA championship game. That year he was named NAIA National Player of the year for football and CoSIDA Academic All-American of the Year.
Brettell advises students “to take ownership of your own learning, challenge yourself to think outside the box and speak freely, and force yourself to step outside your intellectual comfort zone” in order to make the most of their college experience.
“In every activity he is involved in he looks to better himself, the group, and the Baker community as a whole. His attention to detail, his compassion for others, and his natural intelligence make him a huge asset to Baker student life. He is outstanding and will be deeply missed,” one of his nominators writes.
“He never wants recognition, but everywhere I look on campus, I see his imprint,” says another nominator.
Spencer graduated summa cum laude with both bachelor of science and bachelor of arts degrees in economics and business. He was an active member of Student Senate, Zeta Chi fraternity, and the student newspaper and served as orientation student director and orientation leader. Off campus he studied abroad and completed numerous internships.
He states, “Upon the completion of my first few Quest classes, I began to notice a significant change in my demeanor. I was able to confidently research, discuss, and present over challenging topics. I had a new sense of professionalism. I can definitively say that this was established because of Baker’s general education program. Through my Quest courses, I have been able to challenge ideals and find my own sense of independence and ethical thinking.”
“Over the years I have worked with what I call renaissance students,” one of McCollum’s nominators said. “They are far and few between, but I believe she is one of these students. She has been honored repeatedly, both academically and athletically.”
After accumulating more than 170 college hours, McCollum graduated magna cum laude with a major in history and international studies and minors in religion, German, and political science.
She has filled her time beyond academics with Delta Delta Delta sorority, earning NAIA All-American honors six times as a race walker on the track and field team, and serving three years as a marketing intern with Sodexo. She was accepted into the African studies graduate program at the University of Oxford.
McCollum states, “These connections, with my friends and professors, have been so formative over the past four years. They have made me into a better version of myself, and I could not be more thankful for them. I will always be able to come back to Baker and feel at home. Although I am sad to be leaving Baker, I know that this community has prepared me for the world and life ahead of me.”