Flower, Grate Named Top Seniors at Tech

Individuals who study and participate in public relations do so because they enjoy celebrating the achievements of others.

On Monday night, a pair of Arkansas Tech University public relations students got their moment in the spotlight.

Travis Flower of Harrison and Lydia Grate of Atkins received the top two honors available to students at Arkansas Tech University during the 2011 Student Leadership Banquet at the Chambers Cafeteria East Dining Room on Monday night.

Flower was presented with the Alfred J. Crabaugh Award, which is given annually to the most outstanding senior male student at Arkansas Tech.

Grate received the Margaret Young Award, which goes to the most outstanding senior female student at Arkansas Tech each year.

Flower is president of the Arkansas Tech Student Government Association (SGA) for the 2010-11 academic year.

Flower’s service to the university has included work with the Arkansas Tech Presidential Leadership Cabinet, the Interfraternity Council (IFC), the Student Activities Board, the Volunteer Action Council and the Tech Loyalty Fund class gift committee.

Flower also held membership in Up ‘til Dawn and he worked as a resident assistant.

“It’s breathtaking, honestly,” said Flower in reaction to receiving his award on Monday night. “I’ve been involved in so many things on this campus the last four years through student government, through my fraternity and through Greek life in general. To receive this award means a lot to me. It means there is someone out there who realizes that I am trying to help the university and sees what I am doing. It means a lot to have someone thank me for that.”

The 2009 SGA Senator of the Year at Arkansas Tech, Flower received the Spark Award in 2009 for his service to student government and he was twice honored with the IFC Academic Excellence Award.

“What I have enjoyed most about Travis is his sense of maturity and responsibility,” said Dr. Hanna Norton, head of the Arkansas Tech Department of Speech, Theatre and Journalism and instructor to both Flower and Grate in public relations courses. “Those qualities extend to his relationships with his family and his fellow students. He is a natural leader of any team that he is a part of. He inspires hard work in others and I’m certain that his future career will include his skills in negotiation and leadership.”

Son of Brenda and Mike Flower of Harrison, Flower will graduate with a degree in journalism and public relations with a minor in business in May. Flower has applied to graduate school.

Grate has served as president and public relations and recruitment officer for Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE). She also belongs to the Society of Professional Journalists, the Public Relations Student Society of America and the forensics program at Tech.

“It means so much to me just to know that so many people have believed in me,” said Grate. “I’m so thankful and grateful for the people who have helped me and guided me along the way. I’ve learned so much in the classroom and being a part of so many student organizations has given me the opportunity to take on leadership roles and build relationships with my friends and my teachers.”

Her other affiliations at Arkansas Tech have included student radio station KXRJ 91.9 FM, the Arkansas Tech student television station, the Student Government Association, Volunteer Action Council and the university standing committee for guidance and counseling.

Grate has earned the Dr. Robert Edwards Book Scholarship, a Dean’s Scholarship, a departmental performance scholarship and multiple Dean’s List awards at Tech.

“One of the especially great aspects of teaching is watching the personal growth in your students,” said Norton. “Lydia was obviously a conscientious student from the time she arrived at Arkansas Tech, and now she has grown to become a savvy public relations professional with a wealth of skills. She is never satisfied with good enough. She is the ultimate role model for her fellow public relations students.”

Daughter of Glenda Brown-Grate of Pottsville, Grate will graduate from Arkansas Tech in May with a degree in public relations, broadcast journalism and speech communication with minors in business and history.

Grate has accepted an opportunity to serve in the Peace Corps for a period of 27 months following graduation. She will work in the African nation of Togo.