Five Seniors Honored as 2012 Covenant Award Recipients

Five seniors were recognized for exemplary commitment to Christian faith, the Liberal Arts, academic excellence, community and service, respectively, at Augustana’s 10th annual Covenant Award ceremony, held earlier tonight at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church. The ceremony was the culminating event of Verdier 2012, a week-long celebration of the core values that serve as the foundation for Augustana’s academic and student life programs.

“Tonight, we honor our students – current and former – who are doing all they can to eliminate borders, promote inclusion, drive change and live as servants of Christ,” said Dr. Jim Bies, Dean of Students for Augustana.

A significant tradition at Augustana, the Covenant Awards are named in honor of each of the College’s five core values: Christian, Liberal Arts, Excellence, Community and Service. A committee of faculty and staff review nominations from the entire campus community.

View photos from throughout Verdier 2012, including the Covenant Awards ceremony. And, catch up with past Covenant Award recipients to see where their lives and careers have taken them. 

The 2012 Covenant Award recipients are:

  • Daniel Bock, Covenant Award for Christian Faith
    Nominees for the Covenant Award for Christian Faith are those who, during their time at Augustana, have searched for a calling that honors the Christian faith; who actively integrate faith and actions; who see their life journey as part of a bigger tapestry; who are growing in faith with Christ; and who are comfortable discussing their faith with others.

    In receiving this award, Bock is described by his nominators as “someone who is both theologically astute, and goofy.”

    “Profound enough to engage anyone in dialog and approachable for anyone … consistently demonstrating leadership in faith while encouraging everyone around him to interpret what they are doing and thinking. Thoughtful about the ways he engages others, [he] is a brilliant preacher with a gift for putting faith into practice and one who is very practical in applying faith to everyday life. He is … one who has an overwhelmingly hospitable regard for people who are questioning faith.”

    Bock is a senior religion major from Arvada, Colo., and is the son of Nancy and Ronald Bock.
  • Cody Lensing, Covenant Award for Liberal Arts
    Nominees for the Covenant Award for Liberal Arts are those who have demonstrated a love of learning for its own sake; acknowledged or forged connections between academic disciplines; connected curricular and co-curricular interests; related their studies to important issues of human existence; and whose commitment to the liberal arts has shaped their plans for the future.

    In receiving this award, Lensing is described by his nominators as someone who has “great capacity for dedication, discipline and sacrifice;  is exemplary with regard to character; and is admirable with respect to morality.”

    In addition to the Covenant Award, Lensing, a wrestler for Augustana, was recently honored with the 2012 Dr. William Britton Scholar-Athlete Award for Academic Excellence. The award recognizes the conference's top male student-athlete. He was also a 2012 NCAA Elite 89 winner at the NCAA Championships, one of only two Augustana athletes in school history to earn the award. The Elite 89 is presented to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative GPA participating at the finals site for each of the NCAA's 89 championships. Lensing was also a two-time Division II All-Academic selection, four-time Academic All-NSIC team member and seven-time dean's list honoree. He was also presented with the NSIC's Myles Brand All-Academic with Distinction Award.

    Lensing is a senior biochemistry and philosophy major from Mounds View, Minn., and is the son of Rosemary and Merl Lensing.
  • Margaret Koenig, Covenant Award for Excellence
    Nominees for the Covenant Award for Excellence are those who commit themselves to high virtuous and ethical standards; personal integrity; human excellence; self-discipline; and self-improvement. These nominees are known for bringing out excellence in others. Their commitment to excellence has shaped their plans for the future.

    In receiving this award, Koenig is described by her nominators as an outstanding young scholar with “immense intellectual curiosity, extraordinary leadership skills both in the classroom and in extracurricular activities, and an innate desire to translate what she has learned here into education and action on issues of justice and freedom locally and globally.”

    Koenig is a senior philosophy major from Fairfax, S.D., and is the daughter of Mary and Anthony Koenig.
  • Jake Bury, Covenant Award for Community
    Nominees for the Covenant Award for Community are described as those who have demonstrated and fostered respect for others; who act as a leader, earning the respect of others; have left a mark on the campus and broader communities; and whose commitment to community has shaped their plans for the future.

    In receiving this award, Bury, president of the Augustana Student Association (ASA) for the 2011-12 academic year, is described by his nominators as someone who is “supportive; a friend to all; a leader and listener; a collaborator; open-minded and committed.”

    Bury is a senior history and secondary education major from Sioux Falls and is the son of Sonia Gaarder Bury and Randy Bury. 
  • Hannah Miller, Covenant Award for Service
    Nominees for the Covenant Award for Service are described as those who have a commitment to service on campus and in the broader community; who inspire others to serve; who serve quietly without fanfare and with no desire for recognition; and whose future plans have been shaped by service. 

    In receiving this award, Miller is described by her nominators as “a citizen of the world, concerned about the needs of others before her own.  She is the epitome of serving with both a heart full of grace and a soul generated by love … She has served on the Chapel staff and was the Sophomore Ambassador/Service Coordinator. Her sophomore year, she organized the For All Who Are Thirsty Water Project which raised $3,000. Her junior year, she coordinated the service project, Human Trafficking and Ending Hunger. She is the co-leader of Shalom, the Chapel Outreach Team, serves on the Faith Fest Central Committee, and is involved with campus governance work. She has spent countless hours working with children from limited resources in Sioux Falls, Slovakia, and Tanzania. In 2010, she was named one of two Augustana Peace Prize Forum Scholars and spent two months at the University of Oslo studying causes of armed conflicts, peace building, peacemaking, humanitarian interventions and aid, and nonviolent peace movements. For her final project as a Peace Prize Forum scholar, she examined the growing issue of human trafficking in South Dakota. To gauge the seriousness of the issue, Hannah went undercover at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally for a first-hand account, dressing as a ‘biker girl’ and walking up and down the streets to see what was really happening. She took her own research and paired it with ongoing investigations conducted by Be Free Ministries, a nonprofit organization based in Sioux Falls and committed to ending human slavery, trafficking and exploitation locally and round the globe. She presented her findings to the campus community at the Augustana Symposium while Be Free officials presented the evidence to South Dakota lawmakers who later passed legislation to address the serious issue of human trafficking in the state.

    Miller is an elementary education major from Mankato, Minn., and is the daughter of Jodie and Tim Miller.

In addition to the presentation of the 2012 Covenant Awards, the event honored all 29 students who were selected by Augustana students and faculty as the 2012 Covenant Award nominees. In honor of the 10th anniversary of the award, past Covenant Award recipients were also in attendance.

Pictured above, from left to right: Cody Lensing, Margaret Koenig, Daniel Bock, Jake Bury and Hannah Miller.