The University of North Florida will honor two students with outstanding records of volunteerism and caring spirits, when it hands out more than 1,700 degrees Friday, April 26, during spring commencement at the UNF Arena, Building 34.
Senior Warren Butler, who will graduate from the College of Arts and Sciences with a degree in political science, will be recognized as the recipient of the Senior Service Award, while senior Kimberly McKarin, who will also be graduating with a degree in political science with a concentration in public law, will be recognized as the recipient of the Albert D. Ernest Jr. Caring Award.
The UNF Alumni Association presents the Senior Service Award to a graduating senior for outstanding volunteer service to the University or community. The Caring Award recognizes students who demonstrate the spirit of caring, humanitarianism and volunteerism exemplified by Albert Ernest.
While maintaining a 3.86 GPA, Warren Butler has remained dedicated to making a difference on campus and throughout Jacksonville. On campus, he served as both a student senator and chair of the Government Oversight Committee in UNF’s Student Government. During that time, Butler had a hand in creating the Senator Mentorship Program, which gives experienced student senators the opportunity to mentor newly elected senators to help them better serve the student community.
Butler, a Southside resident, has also volunteered his time with UNF’s On Campus Transition Program, serving as a mentor to two individuals with intellectual and developmental differences. Since fall 2017, he has helped his mentees through studying, exercising and socializing outside of class.
Off campus, Butler volunteered with the World Affairs Council (WAC) of Jacksonville and the Lutheran Social Services of Northeast Florida. With WAC, he was able to advance the Council’s mission by applying his passion for foreign affairs and educating the next generation, both as a volunteer and board fellow. He also won a scholarship to travel to Washington, D.C. and represent Jacksonville at the WAC of America National Conference.
Graduating summa cum laude, Southside resident Kimberly McKarin has been an inspiring student leader committed to making a difference on campus and beyond. As founder and president of Leaders and Activists for the Disabled, she has been a strong advocate for people with disabilities, educating her peers and creating greater awareness of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
While at UNF, McKarin spearheaded the Braille Initiative to install Braille signs around campus as well as the Week of Insight, a week of events aimed at raising disability awareness. She has been a facilitator with the World Affairs Council of Jacksonville and an active mentor with UNF’s On Campus Transition Program. Additionally, she has served as an American Sign Language interpreter for the past three years at her local church.
The ceremony for the Brooks College of Health and the College of Education and Human Services will take place at 9 a.m., followed by a 12:30 p.m. ceremony for the Coggin College of Business and the College of Arts and Sciences (art, biology, chemistry, economics, English, fine arts, French studies, history, interdisciplinary studies, international studies, math, music, philosophy, physics, practical philosophy and applied ethics, religious studies, Spanish and statistics.)
The ceremony for the College of Computing, Engineering and Construction and the final ceremony for COAS (anthropology, communication, criminal justice, political science, public administration, psychology, social work and sociology) will take place at 4 p.m.
The University expects to award a total of 1,592 bachelor’s degrees, 247 master’s degrees and 67 doctorates this term. Including the spring 2019 graduates, UNF has issued a total of 78,946 bachelor’s degrees, 19,532 master’s degrees and 764 doctorates since first opening its doors in 1972.
UNF, a nationally ranked university located on an environmentally beautiful campus, offers students who are dedicated to enriching the lives of others the opportunity to build their own futures through a well-rounded education.