Belton, Texas – Two students from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor were recipients of a prestigious award during the university’s chapel program today. Mary Johnston and Jonathan Hanson received the Gary and Diane Heavin Servant Leadership Award, which recognizes UMHB students who have committed an extraordinary amount of time and energy to ministry and community service during their years of study at UMHB.
The honor comes with a $1,000 cash award for each student. Both Johnston and Hanson have elected to donate a portion of their award to organizations of special significance to them. Gary and Diane Heavin of Waco established a permanent endowment to fund the award, to remind UMHB students the importance of philanthropy, ministry and community service.
Mary Johnston, daughter of Marshall and Kathy Johnston of Corpus Christi, is a nursing major and has been an active member of the UMHB Honors Program throughout her college career. Her interest in Christian missions work led to her involvement in Freshmen Ministry, Drama Ministry, the Missions Emphasis Week Steering Committee and the Go Now Missions Leadership Team, and she currently is co-president of the Ministry Leadership Council. She took part in mission trips to England in the summers of 2011 and 2012, and she took part in a spring break mission trip to Galveston in 2013.
Johnston has served as a University Ambassador during both her junior and senior years. Even with her busy schedule, she has excelled as a student. She is a member of Gamma Beta Phi honors society and Alpha Chi National College Honor Society, and she has been named to the Provost’s Honor Roll all six semesters that she has been at UMHB.
Johnston chose to donate a portion of her award to Galveston Urban Ministries, a Christian community development organization that she worked with during a mission trip last spring. The non-profit group works in impoverished neighborhoods in Galveston to offer GED classes, job training, and programs for children and youth to help them grow and develop as students.
Jonathan Hanson is a senior pursing a double major in criminal justice and exercise science at UMHB.. He is the son of Roy and Cindy Hanson of Gilmer, Texas. He has been active in the Residence Hall Association since 2010 and as a Resident Assistant since 2011; this year he is serving as a Residence Hall Head RA. He has taken part in the campus Cru Knights contest in 2010 and 2011, and he has played in intramural sports for the past 4 years.
Hanson is a member of the Criminal Justice Club. In 2013 he was selected to join Alpha Phi Sigma honor society for undergraduate Criminal Justice students. He has qualified for the Provost’s Honor roll since the fall of 2011, served as a University Ambassador for UMHB since 2013, and was selected for Who’s Who Among College Students.
Hanson chose to donate a portion of his award to Samaritan’s Purse, an international relief organization headquartered in Boone, North Carolina. The evangelical Christian organization provides aid to victims of war, poverty, natural disasters, disease, and famine while sharing the teachings of Jesus Christ. “Samaritan’s Purse helps the poor, the sick, and the hungry around the world, so it seems appropriate to make this gift to them,” Hansen said.