Senior Eyo Ekpo was named the 2013 Tommie Award recipient. Ekpo said he is "the person I am today because of the St. Thomas community.” (Whitney Abrahamson/TommieMedia)
Eyo Ekpo was announced as the winner of the 2013 Tommie Award, director of student engagement Vern Klobassa said Thursday.
Ekpo, an entrepreneurship and finance double major, received a phone call Thursday morning from Klobassa.
Ekpo said winning the Tommie Award is “one of the best feelings I could ask for.”
“I’m confused as to whether today is Valentine’s Day or April Fool’s Day,” Ekpo said. “I’ve been running around trying to thank everyone that supported me.”
Ekpo was chosen as the winner from three finalists, including Rae Horton and Shalaw Mohammed. Voting for the final winner of the Tommie Award began on Monday and ended Wednesday.
“To be selected out of the 23 nominees and of the three phenomenal finalists… is a testament to the University of St. Thomas and the depth and quality of the students that go here,” Ekpo said.
Ekpo is from Andover, Minn. At St. Thomas, Ekpo is captain of the track team, was a member of the football team during his freshman and sophomore years, and has been involved with the Undergraduate Business Council, Student Athletic Advisory Council, Student Legacy, Practicing Entrepreneurs, Volunteers in Action, Tommie Ambassadors, Real Estate Society and Gibney Student Board.
In his written testimonial, English professor Michael Raimondi spoke highly of Ekpo’s willingness to help others.
“He shows exceptional compassion and maturity in working with both adults and children, and exemplifies what I would consider the pinnacle of the behavior I would expect from a holder of the Tommie Award,” Raimondi wrote.
Ekpo explained that the importance of being a moral, well-rounded person in the St. Thomas community is influenced by those you interact with with similar interests.
“It’s easy to develop these qualities when you’re surrounded by similar students and faculty members that strive for the same thing as you,” Ekpo said. “I’m the person I am today because of the St. Thomas community.”
Senior Garrett Engelhardt said Ekpo represents St. Thomas well.
“He’s so involved on campus and diversified in activities on campus,” Engelhardt said. “He has a well-rounded base on everything that represents St. Thomas.”
Joanie Kyllo, Ekpo’s academic adviser, wrote in her testimonial on behalf of Ekpo that he “demonstrates the characteristics and attributes of a conscientious, responsible person who works hard to succeed in everything he does.”
“Eyo embraces the entire college experience and, despite balancing the responsibilities of school, interning, volunteerism, and campus involvement including his leadership roles,” Kyllo wrote. “He has worked diligently to maintain a 3.7 GPA while getting his degree.”
One of the memorable things a Tommie Award recipient does is the graduation address. Engelhardt she he hopes Ekpo mentions a classic Tommie event in his speech.
“Definitely all the good times our class had at Tommie-Johnnie games,” Engelhardt said.
Ekpo said he is already looking forward for his big speech in May.
“Excited? Yes. I’m more nervous,” Ekpo said. “But hopefully I don’t blow it.”
Gabrielle Martinson contributed to this report.
Hayley Schnell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.