Belton, Texas – Two students from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor were recipients of a prestigious award during the university’s fall convocation today. Morgan Baker and Lauren McKee 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 Baker and McKee 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.
Morgan Baker, daughter of Bryan and Rhonda Baker of Richmond, is an exercise and sports science major in the university’s pre-physical therapy program. As a starter on the Crusader volleyball team, Baker was named to the Capital One Division III Academic All-District VIII Team, selected as an American Southwest Conference Distinguished Scholar-Athlete, and chosen as a NCAA Player of the Week.
Off the court, Baker has encouraged teammates to participate in several local service opportunities, including cooking meals at the Ronald McDonald House and assisting at the Helping Hands food pantry in Belton.
Baker has also served in the Student Ambassador program, the Mission Leadership Council, Search Cru, Image, the Random Acts of Kindness service group, the Alpha Chi National College Honor Society, and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
Last year during her Christmas break Morgan took part on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic, helping establish a summer camp for children there. She is also active in children’s summer camps in the U.S. and through the volleyball team has implemented skills clinics for young players.
Even with her busy schedule, Baker has been able to maintain an impressive 4.0 grade point average.
Baker donated a portion of her award to Wycliffe Bible Translators. Since its inception is 1942, Wycliffe has been dedicated to translating the Bible into as many languages as possible. To date, the group has played a part in completing more than 700 scripture translations.
Lauren McKee, daughter of Randy and Tammy McKee, is a senior elementary education major from Belton. McKee has held leadership roles in a number of organizations. During her freshman year, McKee participated in First Year Council, an organization which helps plan campus events. She was also the leader of the Baptist Student Ministry’s Ministry Leadership Council and the president of the Gamma Beta Phi honor society. She has also served on the Revival Steering Committee and as a Cru Leader for UMHB’s Welcome Week.
McKee has participated in a number of UMHB traditions in the last three years. She has been involved in the Easter Pageant both as a performer and as the Children’s Committee Head. She also represented the Baptist Student Ministry in the Miss MHB Pageant.
As a sophomore, Lauren pioneered the Baptist Student Ministry’s official relationship with Helping Hands, making the Belton food bank a regular weekly option for student service. She has been the Children’s Intern at First Baptist Church Belton for many years. She also took an active role in missions, serving in Brazil in 2011 and in Alaska this past summer. This year she will serve on the campus Go Now Missions Committee, encouraging and enabling other students to participate in missions activities both at home and abroad.