Senior Claire Petersen and junior Chris Ring were named the top female and male student in front of families, friends and professors at the Outstanding Student Banquet April 1.
The awards, which are sponsored by the Office of Alumni and Parent Programs, honor service, scholarship and leadership.
A communications and electronic journalism major, Petersen said she was very humbled by the award and is inspired by the accomplishments of those who have won in past years.
“I look up to the people who have won before and the impact they have made,” she said.
Petersen is senior class president, has served as president of Phi Eta Sigma honor society and has been involved with Alternative Fall Break, Ambassadors of Change and various activities with her sorority, Alpha Phi.
She said getting involved was her goal when she started at Butler.
“I came to Butler with the intent of being very intentional with my interactions with people and organizations,” she said. “I tried to take every opportunity and try new things.”
Beth Fontanarosa, a communications coordinator in the Office of Admissions, met Petersen when they were both students and now serves as her supervisor. She said Petersen excels in her position as the communications intern for the admission department and acts as an example for others.
“Her leadership undoubtedly proves she’s a top student,” Fontanarosa said. “She just makes people’s days better.”
Petersen said the award represents the community she will have with alumni and students at the university even after she graduates.
“It wraps up what Butler means to me and embodies my connection to the university and getting plugged in to whatever I’m a part of,” she said.
A digital media production major and pre-med student, Ring said his GPA and position as Student Government Association president set him apart from the other contenders.
He is also involved in other campus organizations and with his fraternity, Sigma Nu.
Ring said he was surprised to receive the award, since he assumed it would be going to a senior as in years past.
He decided to travel to the Final Four instead of going to the ceremony, but his parents accepted the award on his behalf.
“I wanted to react a bit bigger than I did,” he said. “But I was on a bus to Houston and didn’t want to be screaming.”
Had he been present to give an acceptance speech, Ring said he would have included thanking his advisers and professors, but most of all, his parents. He said their encouragement has made the greatest impact on his life.
“I would have thanked my parents for their support,” he said. “There were a few nights where I was about ready to crack and there’s the 3 a.m. phone call to mom.”
Caroline Huck-Watson, the director of programs for leadership and service education, acts as Ring’s adviser for SGA and said he is an effective, empathetic leader.
“He works very hard to decide where needs are and meeting them,” Huck-Watson said. “He listens to the people he should be listening to and takes ideas and needs and processes them well to find a result.”
Ring said being named top male student is both a reward and an opportunity to speak for the university in a role beyond being SGA president.
“It shows that the work that I put into Butler hasn’t gone unnoticed,” he said. “I love this campus, and I feel like it’s an honor to be chosen as a representative in that regard.”