BISMARCK, ND — Brianna Connelly of Fergus Falls, MN, was recognized with the University of Mary Alumni Association’s Outstanding Senior Award for 2017 at the university’s annual President’s Recognition Breakfast Saturday, April 29.

The 2017 University of Mary Outstanding Senior Award winner with President Monsignor James Shea

Connelly is a business communication major from Fergus Falls, MN, with a minor in theology. She has been involved with collegiate DECA, the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS). She plans to move to Bismarck following graduation.

She is the daughter of Pat and Jean Connelly.

Each year, the teaching faculty at the University of Mary nominates members of the graduating class for this prestigious award, based on their academic achievement, service to the university and to the community. The Alumni Council Board then selects the recipient from these nominees.

Connolly has a 3.8 overall grade point average with a 3.85 in her business communication courses. She is an active member of our University of Mary community. She attended the Ecclesia Institute in 2014. Connolly has served as a FOCUS bible study leader since February 2015. She has also been an active member in collegiate DECA, serving as co-vice president from 2015-2016. Brianna also served as a University of Mary peer leader and has assisted with freshman orientation. In 2015, Connelly helped plan and coordinate TEDx UMary. She worked in the Student Success Center as a work-study student during the 2015-2016 academic year. Connelly has also worked with several off-campus retreats. She was the organization committee lead for the Healthy Family Fun Night in 2013. She also served as a core team member of the Our Lady of Victory Catholic Youth Group. Connelly was named to the homecoming court in 2016 and has done community outreach programs and internal communications as intern at the Bismarck Cancer Center.

“Brianna is the student every professor enjoys having in class. She is a dedicated student who isn’t afraid to tackle complex topics or ask difficult questions,” stated Amy Hollar, assistant professor of communication at the University of Mary. “Brianna is a student that exemplifies and upholds our mission and truly lives the life of a servant leader. Brianna’s dedication to academic excellence and service to the university and surrounding communities, make her the ideal candidate for this award. She is a dedicated servant leader who has moral courage, a deep understanding of the world around her, and is deeply committed to the betterment of the greater good. In addition, Brianna is a leader among her peers and has repeatedly demonstrated her leadership qualities in and outside of the classroom.”

The 2017 University of Mary Outstanding Senior Nominees with President Monsignor James Shea

The other nominees for 2017 Outstanding Senior were:

— Leah Balster, Minneapolis, MN, English, education.

— Mariah Benz, Bismarck, ND, communication sciences and disorders.

— Andrew Beyer, Fargo, ND, accounting.

—Annie Brickway, Burnsville, MN, business administration & Catholic studies.

— Victoria Brucker, Bismarck, ND, exercise science.

— Mikalah Dahl, Bismarck, ND, marketing.

— Katrina Gallic, Warren, NJ, marketing

— Dominick Goettle, Mandan, ND, theology and music.

— Daniel Lang, Rapid City, SD, biology.

— Jean Marie (Gerz) Nasers, St. Paul, MN, social work.

— Isaac Lindquist, Milbank, SD, business administration and psychology.

— Rachel Pankratz, Billings, MT, elementary education.

— Courtney Sibla, Bismarck, ND, occupational studies.

— Gage Sitte, Lisbon, ND, history and history education.

— Lea Sollmann, Port Angeles, WA, nursing.