Three graduates were named the Outstanding Seniors for 2020: Dillon Prokop, Topeka, Kansas; Lily Stephens, Snohomish, Washington; and Sara Reilly Swickard, Bucyrus, Kansas.
“The Outstanding Senior Awards recognize those senior students who exhibit superior achievement,” said Dr. Cassy Bailey, dean of students. “Nominations are reviewed and decided upon by faculty, staff, coaches, and students. These three students exhibited excellence in academics, demonstrated leadership, and authentically displayed Baker’s mission and values.”
Prokop, a biochemistry major, was active in parMentors, served the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity as vice president and president, and was active in the Interfraternity Council. He was also a four-year member of the baseball team.
“I have never in 20 years of coaching had the privilege to coach an individual as smart as him in the classroom,” said one of Prokop’s nominators. “However, his mind is so much more than that. He has as quick wit when it comes to humor . . . and also has the ability to understand the right emotions for the right time.”
Prokop sums up his Baker experience like this: “The opportunities Baker opened for me allowed me to give back to the various communities and truly find my passion for helping people. I hope my legacy at Baker is that of a compassionate, dedicated student that people feel they could go to.”
Majoring in mass media with an emphasis in public relations, Stephens was an active member of the Delta Delta Delta sorority, where she served as president. She also served as the video director for the Baker Orange, a University Admissions Assistant, and the media manager for the soccer program.
One of her nominators stated, “She is an exceptional woman who breaks all the molds in all the right ways. She reflects what all Baker students should aspire to be: empathetic, intelligent, understanding, bold, creative, and funny.”
About her experience on campus, Stephens says, “I love Baker so much. It means more to me than I could have ever anticipated. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, people are the best thing about BU. Faith and values bind us together as a community.”
Swickard majored in mass media and public relations and minored in marketing. She was a four-year member of the softball team. She served as a parMentor and was a member of the Zeta Tau Alpha sorority, where she held the roles of house manager and PR chair. She participated in public relations internships at the Baker Wetlands and Garmin.
About her experience at Baker, Swickard states, “Baker has fostered the most beautiful relationship between professors and students, which gave me the quality education I had hoped for when selecting my school and being able to pursue my athletic aspirations. Within the first moment on campus, I was charmed by feelings of belonging and comradery. It was easy to picture myself laughing with friends over a cup of coffee or recognizing nearly every face that I encountered on my walk to class. I can say that I have lived those fantasies among so many more that I had not initially envisioned.”