Meet the 2017 Covenant Award Recipients

2017 Covenant Award recipients

From left to right: Austin Krohnke, Katelyn Graber, Alejandro Garcia, Jessica Schmitz and Cortney Mabry.

Five students were recognized for their exemplary commitment to the values of Christian faith, the liberal arts, academic excellence, community and service, respectively, at Augustana’s 2017 Covenant Award ceremony, held Friday on campus. The ceremony was part of Verdier 2017, a week-long celebration of the core values that serve as the foundation for Augustana’s academic and student life programs.

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

The 2017 Covenant Award recipients are:

Austin Krohnke '18, Covenant Award for Christian Faith

Austin KrohnkeNominees 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; and who are comfortable discussing their faith with others.

In receiving this award, Krohnke was described by his nominators as someone who “is a selfless and caring person that is easy for others to confide in and engage in deep and genuine dialogue."

"His desire to learn and grow in faith is evident in both his openness to conversations around questions of faith and in his unflinching willingness to serve. He does not just talk about faith but reaches out in his campus role to engage the gospel of Jesus Christ with students and faculty."

One nominator wrote, “I know that the greatest impact is his work with individual students. He watches the interactions in classes and works with students who are struggling with the difficult questions of religion/faith. He listens and respond with grace and eloquence.”

Krohnke serves as president of the Augustana Chapel and also serves at the Latino ELCA congregation Pueblo de Dios. Following graduation, he plans to attend seminary.

Krohnke is from Waukee, Iowa, and is majoring in biology, religion and Spanish.


Cortney Mabry '17, Covenant Award for Liberal Arts

Cortney MabryNominees 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, Mabry was described by her nominators as someone who “purposefully incorporates theories and analysis from other disciplines into her work.” That interdisciplinary approach recently led a regional, professional conference to accept a paper by Mabry.

Nominators said Mabry excels at connecting classroom learning with co-curricular interests as well as to important issues of human existence through her with involvement in Serving and Learning Together (SALT), her work at the Augustana Writing Center, her leadership of the English Conversation Table, her membership in Alpha Kappa Delta Sociology Honor Society and Sigma Delta Pi Spanish Honor Society, as well as her experiences exploring the history, literature, religious practices, politics, and economics of other countries through several study abroad courses. She has also volunteered as an ACE Ambassador.

“(She) has shown her academic and personal commitment to the issues of community, justice, cross-cultural awareness, race, gender, immigration and family," her nominators wrote.

"She has a future life of service, involvement, activism and continued commitment to the liberal arts and life-long learning."

Mabry is from Fort Collins, Colorado, and is majoring in sociology and Spanish.


Katelyn Graber '18, Covenant Award for Excellence

Katelyn GraberNominees 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, Graber was described by her nominators as someone who lights up a room.

“Her relentless effort to excel through hard work and compassion has inspired many other classmates to work harder and choose a path for excellence,” her nominators wrote.

"She has routinely reached out to others who are struggling, either academically or socially at Augustana, and made it a priority to genuinely help those individuals, turning a challenging situation into a lasting moment for everyone."

Graber is from Hurley, South Dakota, and is a biology major. On campus, she has served as a biology tutor, admission student ambassador, advancement ambassador, Welcome Week Viking guide, Viking Days royalty co-chair, Augustana Student Association secretary, Biology Club vice president, Faith Fest helper, and University Chorale member. She studied abroad in Greece in January 2016 and completed an internship focused on genetic counseling.


Alejandro Garcia '17, Covenant Award for Community

Alejandro GarciaNominees 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; who 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, Garcia was described by his nominators as someone who is “welcoming, supporting and encouraging.”

“He is passionate about beliefs and is skilled at listening deeply to others — even those with whom he disagrees.”

His nominators called him a “diplomat in the best sense of the word, operating between groups and across barriers to build mutual understanding."

"He has a spirit of community infused in all actions and has embraced and strengthened the global community at Augustana."

Garcia is from Quito, Ecuador, and is majoring in government and international affairs/political science and German.


Jessica Schmitz '17, Covenant Award for Service

Jessica SchmitzNominees 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, Schmitz was described by her nominators as someone who “is always looking for activities that aid other people.”

"She invites people to come and join in volunteer activities, to drive them if they need a ride, and work side by side with them. She does many things behind the scenes to set up for an activity and often is the last one to leave after the clean-up."

Another nominator wrote that “even more inspiring than the words she gave during a senior sermon, was her dedication to living a Christ-centered life, which heavily involves serving her community.” 

Schmitz is from Sleepy Eye, Minnesota, and is majoring in computer science, business administration and computer information systems. 


Kelly Sprecher
Director of Media Relations
605.274.5526