Lexi Austring of Standish, Maine, will be honored at the May 2017 Lewis University Commencement Ceremony for being selected as Student Laureate.
The Political Science and Paralegal Studies student who is minoring in Philosophy of Law was honored earlier in the academic year by the Lincoln Academy of Illinois. Governor Bruce Rauner, President of the Lincoln Academy, and First Lady Diana Rauner awarded each Student Laureate with a certificate of merit, a medal of Lincoln, and a $1,000 educational grant. Governor Rauner said “The students chosen to receive this honor have exemplified the principles and ideals of the greatest Illinoisan through their hard work and dedication to their schools and communities.”
Dr. Jim Houlihan, Lewis University professor and advisor for the Pre-Law Program, nominated Austring for the honor. As the head coach of the university’s internationally-recognized Mediation Team, he mentored the exceptional student.
“Mediation has given me a sense of pride in what I do because I can travel and compete with other schools while working towards the ultimate goal of expanding reconciliation and bridge-building. It is something I enjoy and look forward to every year,” Austring said.
Among the highlights of Austring’s Mediation Team accomplishments are her 15th place at the 2014 International Mediation Championships, seventh place at the 2014 Maharishi University of Management Peacemaker Invitational, fourth place honor at the 2013 InterNational Academy of Dispute Resolution competition and first place in Mediation at the 2013 MUM Invitational.
In addition to her excellence in Meditation, Austring learned inside and outside of the classrooms of Lewis University, and served people from a variety of cultures and backgrounds. She was involved in the original Student Governing Board, VOICES, PEACE, attended Ministry pilgrimages, led retreats, volunteered and became involved in liturgy, among many things. She said, “My experiences will have helped me form perspective on global issues with a social justice lens and the betterment of our community.”
During her 2014 Spring Break, Austring assisted at-risk boys on the Lives Under Construction ranch in Lampe, Mo. as part of the annual Lewis University Ministry Alternative Trip Experiences (LUMINATE) Spring Break service trip.
On the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, Austring joined fellow Lewis University students on a Social Justice Pilgrimage to Selma, Alabama to mark the anniversary of the assault on civil rights marchers in 1965. Austring described the week-long experience in March 2015 as empowering and the experience of a lifetime. “I will always remember this monumental occasion through all that we saw, especially how it felt to stand on the Edmund Pettus Bridge where such historical change was made.”
The Catholic university in the Lasallian tradition influenced Austring so much that she completed the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) process in April 2015. During the Mass, she was participant in the Profession of Faith, Confirmation and Eucharist ceremony.
A few weeks later, she traveled to London for 10 days as part of the Lewis University Travel Study program and remained busy the following academic year.
During the 2016 Spring Semester, Austring processed, organized, and transcribed hand-written letters from World War II as part of the Lockport Woman’s Club/Pat Darin Internship. “It was really exciting to preserve local culture,” said Austring.
In May 2016, Austring packed her suitcase again and participated in the Lewis University Ministry Social Justice Pilgrimage to the U.S.-Mexico border. Austring said, “The pilgrimage showed me how many perspectives there are on immigration and the power of uniting together for a cause.”
Austring is scheduled to earn her bachelor’s degree in May 2017. She plans to pursue a career in the paralegal field and work in advocacy, especially for animal rights.
Lewis University is an innovative and entrepreneurial Catholic university offering market-relevant undergraduate and graduate programs to 6,500 students. Sponsored by the De La Salle Christian Brothers, Lewis University is nationally recognized for preparing intellectually engaged, ethically grounded, globally connected and socially responsible graduates. Visit www.lewisu.edu for further information.
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