Mooney, Smith, Keys Earn ATU’s Top Senior Awards

ATU Top Senior Award Winners
Photographed (from left-to-right): Dakota Mooney, Emilee Smith and Brittney Keys.

Arkansas Tech University President Dr. Robin E. Bowen announced the winners of the institution’s top three undergraduate senior awards for 2021 on Tuesday, April 27.

The winners are (click on the links below to learn more about each one):

Articles and video interviews featuring the three honorees will be posted on beginning Tuesday, May 4.

Mooney, Smith and Keys will be recognized during ATU spring commencement on Saturday, May 8.

The Alfred J. Crabaugh Award is presented each year to the most outstanding senior male undergraduate student at ATU.

The award’s namesake served on the Arkansas Tech faculty from 1929-69. He is the only person in the history of the university to hold the title of academic dean, and he was a central figure in the transition of the institution to become a senior college.

In May 1948, under Crabaugh’s guidance, the Arkansas Tech Board of Trustees approved a recommendation that the school should become a four-year, degree-granting institution. His efforts to build the academic reputation of Arkansas Tech truly came to fruition in March 1951 when the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools accredited the four-year program at Arkansas Tech.

Due to these and other efforts, Crabaugh is recognized as the father of the modern intellectual tradition at ATU. Crabaugh Hall is named in his honor.

The Margaret Young Award is presented each year to the most outstanding senior female undergraduate student at ATU.

The award is part of a rich heritage for the Young family at ATU. The Young family’s contributions are remembered through William O. Young, Margaret’s husband, who oversaw the business affairs of Arkansas Tech from 1917-41 and for whom the W. O. Young Building in named. Their son — Robert A. Young — worked at Arkansas Tech from 1941-84 and was inducted into the Arkansas Tech Hall of Distinction in 1973. Their grandson — Dr. Robert A. Young Jr. — is past president of the ATU Foundation and an ardent supporter of the Golden Suns and Wonder Boys.

Mrs. Young remained active in the Arkansas Tech community following her husband’s passing in 1941. She was a dorm mother on campus and a member of the Arkansas Tech Dames Club. Her prominence at Arkansas Tech is underscored by the fact that President Dr. Kenneth Kersh was among her active pallbearers after she passed away on Jan. 1, 1976.

The Young family also holds a special place in Tech history as the owners of the original Jerry the Bulldog during the 1930s.

The Jill Lestage Brown Service Leadership Award is presented each year to a senior undergraduate student at ATU who seeks to improve society through unselfish voluntary service to others as demonstrated by past and current leadership roles, service hours completed and participation in volunteer programs.

The award is named for the former first lady of ATU. Brown stepped down from her career as an elementary school teacher to act as a volunteer ambassador and hostess for Arkansas Tech during the presidency of her husband, Dr. Robert C. Brown, from 1993-2014.

Brown has also volunteered her time to benefit organizations such as the Russellville Area Chamber of Commerce, National Women in the Arts, the Arkansas Tech Wesley Foundation, Shelter of Sunshine, the River Valley United Way and Junior Auxiliary of Russellville.

Brittney Keys, Dakota Mooney and Emilee Smith.