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Students in Theatre, Psychology Honored for Their Ethics

Published: May 23, 2011
Lucy Monette ’11, left, and Meagan Nagy ’11 were both given the 2011 Student Ethics Award.
Lucy Monette ’11, left, and Meagan Nagy ’11 were both given the 2011 Student Ethics Award.

Two University of Tampa seniors have been honored for their compassion, leadership and selflessness with this year’s Student Ethics Award.

Given annually by the Center for Ethics at UT, the award recognizes an undergraduate student who exemplifies high ethical standards at the University, upholds social responsibility practices in the community and exhibits strong potential for professional success, said Angie Johnson, coordinator of the centers and institutes in the Sykes College of Business.

Meagan Nagy ’11, a performing arts major with minors in dance/theatre and applied dance, and Lucy Monette ’11, a psychology major, were humbled by the announcement.

“We don’t do it for recognition,” Nagy said. “We love and are passionate about the things we do.”

Nagy, a resident assistant, took control of a difficult situation when her residents, as well as friends and classmates in the theater department, learned of the car accident this spring that killed freshman Tessa Byers. One of the first people to find out about Byers’ passing, Nagy organized a session with a UT counselor, met with Byers’ family, helped coordinate a dinner with the family the next evening and led the planning of Byers’ on-campus memorial.

“Something in me just said I needed to get a group together. We need to be together,” said Nagy, noting that as a senior she takes the role of a mother figure in her residence hall. “We’re trained in residence life for this, though you don’t expect it to actually happen. I knew I could step up and be that person they could go to.”

One of Nagy’s nominators, Associate Dean of Students Stephanie Russell Holz, said Nagy is the strongest student leader she has seen in times of crisis.

“In my 12 years working with students at UT, I have never been more impressed with a young woman of character than I have been with Meagan,” Holz said. “Being ethical is difficult on a daily basis but even more difficult in times of stress and crisis. Meagan has demonstrated that her moral compass rings true in all situations.”

Three years ago Monette saw a need at UT. Her mom was undergoing treatments for lung cancer, and Monette was participating in local Relay for Life events, which are fundraisers for the American Cancer Society. When organizers looked to UT to form its own Relay event, Monette didn’t hesitate to lead the effort.

Her mother, Kathy Rowley, died in 2009. But since then, the UT Relay for Life event has grown from just three organizers to 30 on the 2011 committee and raised more than $46,000 in this year’s event alone.

Monette is involved with the PEACE Volunteer Center as well, organizing volunteer opportunities for other students. Megan Frisque, assistant director of civic engagement and one of Monette’s nominators, said Monette has the ability to engage her peers while connecting with the community.

Monette said it’s a natural instinct.

“That’s just how I live life, and it happens to be ethical,” Monette said.

Monette teaches a Science Through Art course at the Ovation School for the Arts, a nonprofit school that makes sure that the arts are integrated into the curriculum, and she has taken a job with the school as volunteer coordinator and art director for the summer and fall. This summer she is working at Creative Clay Cultural Center’s camp for children with disabilities.

Nagy will spend the summer, like she has for the past five years, in an intensive, nonprofit program called Lovewell, where groups of students come together and write full-length musicals from scratch. Nagy works with students age 9-13 to choreograph the shows they create.

Each award winner received a plaque and $500 at a luncheon in their honor with Center for Ethics Co-Directors Robert McMurrian and Daniel Verreault, along with center advisory board members, Dean of the College of Business Frank Ghannadian and those who nominated the students for the award.

Jamie Pilarczyk, Web Writer
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