Afton Garland and Leah Walters were named the Dickinson State University 2012 Outstanding Graduate Award winners at the Outstanding Graduate Luncheon held in the DSU Student Center Ballroom Friday, May 11. The Outstanding Graduate Award is the highest honor bestowed on graduating seniors by the university. Garland and Walters were chosen from among 19 candidates nominated by faculty in their academic departments for exceptional performance in their fields of study.
Afton Garland, Sidney, Mont., is a biology major (professional option) with a minor in leadership studies. After graduation, Garland plans to attend the accelerated nursing program at the University of Washington.
During Garland's time at Dickinson State University, she was a member of the Theodore Roosevelt Honors Leadership Program, Campus Crusade for Christ, Science Club, Students in Free Enterprise, Science Olympiad and the Homecoming Committee. Garland also was a presenter at the National Collegiate Honors Council in 2010 and 2011, the Upper Mid-West Honors Council in 2011 and the National and State Accreditation Board in 2010. Garland received the Outstanding Service Leader Award from the Theodore Roosevelt Honors Leadership Program and was crowned the DSU 2011 Homecoming Queen. Garland is the daughter of David and Tracy Garland.
Leah Walters, Gladstone, N.D., is a music and vocal performance major. After graduation, Walters will be attending North Dakota State University to pursue a master's degree in vocal performance.
During Walters's time at Dickinson State University, she was a member of ACDA, MENC, Baptist Campus Ministry, Chamber Singers, Chorale, Concert Band, Wind Ensemble, Chorale Union, DSU Color Guard and Pep Band. Walters has attended the Signal Butte-Renaissance Woman Johanna Meier Opera Institute in 2008 and the Miami Frost School of Music in Salzburg, Austria in 2011. In addition, Walters has performed for the National Association of Teacher Singers in 2009 and 2010. In 2012, Walters was the Music Teacher's National Association State winner and representative, and the 2010-2011 winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Audition. Walters is the daughter of Daniel and Brenda Walters.
Other nominees included: Brock Besler, Reva, S.D.; Kelsey Boedeker, Sheridan, Wyo.; Anthony Elliott, Vancouver, British Colombia; Keith Frederick, Dickinson, N.D.; Sarah Heinle, New Salem, N.D.; Sarah Horst, Missoula, Mont.; Cody Jamtgaard, Gillette, Wyo.; Britani Keller, Dickinson, N.D.; Aaron Kelly, Richardton, N.D.; Emily Klym, Edgeley, N.D.; Marissa Krebs, Dickinson, N.D.; Benjamin Langford, Big Timber, Mont.; Noelle Lebsock, Frenchtown, Mont.; Adam Orton, Evanston, Wyo.; Shannon Sorenson, Watford City, N.D.; Alyssa Spratta, Hettinger, N.D.; and Hope Zemora, Bowman, N.D.