HSU Students Receive Special Awards during Commencement


In a much anticipated part of commencement at Hardin-Simmons University, May 10, 2014, the recipients of four special honors were revealed during the 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. ceremonies in Behrens Auditorium. Three of the students selected for the special honors were earning their bachelor degree and are Devon Howard, Abilene, Texas; Lauren Maurer, Abilene, Texas; and Raymond Cadjew, Stamford, Texas.

The student chosen for the Hemphill Graduate Honor Award, Wenhui “Sherry” Dou, of China, received a standing ovation. Duo persevered to earn her master’s degree, surmounting blindness and having to learn English as a second language. Dou also gave a special musical performance during both morning and afternoon commencement ceremonies.

Devon Howard Awarded Julius Olsen Medal

Devon Howard, earning a Bachelor of Administration degree, was named as the recipient of the Julius Olsen Medal during the 2014 Hardin-Simmons University spring commencement May 10, 2014.

The award was established by Dr. Julius Olsen, dean and professor of physics at Hardin-Simmons University from 1902-1942, and his wife in memory of their son. 

The Olsen Medal is awarded annually at the spring commencement to the graduate who has the highest grade point average, has exemplified the highest scholarly achievement, and has completed at least 90 semester hours of residence credit at Hardin-Simmons.

Howard maintained a 4.0 GPA while being active both on campus and in the community. She has been named to the President’s List each semester that she has attended HSU. She is an active member in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and a member of Elmwood West United Methodist Church.

Howard was a starter on the HSU National Championship Soccer Team and has continued to be a starter for all four years that she has attended HSU. She has been named a Capital One Academic All-American and a National Soccer Coaches Association of America Scholar All-American. Other campus activities include serving as an officer of the business honor society, Delta Mu Delta.

In addition to being an outstanding student, Howard worked as an accounting intern for Condley and Company during tax season, and the Texas Society of CPA’s has recognized her as a recipient of its Accounting Excellence Award.

In 2013, she was recognized as the Outstanding Economics Student in the Kelley College of Business. In 2014, she was named the Outstanding Accounting Student, and she received the Fletcher Award as the outstanding business student.

Howard graduates with a double major in accounting and economics. She has been hired by BDO, one of the top ten accounting firms in the world, to work in the Dallas office.

She is an Abilene native and the daughter of Larry and Kathy Howard.

Lauren Maurer Recipient of the Minnie L. Anderson Award

Lauren Maurer, earning a Bachelor of Music in Piano performance, was the recipient of the 2014 Minnie L. Anderson Award presented during the Hardin-Simmons University spring commencement ceremonies May 10, 2014.

The award is presented to a senior female student who has spent three or more years in residence at Hardin-Simmons University and excelled in character, personal development, and service to the university.

Maurer has distinguished herself in academics, leadership, and community service.

Named to the President’s List each semester while at HSU, she was a member of the Honors Program and participated in the study abroad program, attending Salzburg College in the summer of 2013.

Active in service to her community, she has volunteered as an usher for Young Audiences of Abilene and Abilene Opera. She has also volunteered at Abilene Music Teachers Association events such as the Whitlock Theory Tests, the Spring-Manly Festival, and the World of Music Tests. She frequently performs for the residents at Royal Estates and as a part of “Music on the Mesa,” which is an outreach effort at Mesa Springs Retirement Village.

Maurer has also been selected to perform for many HSU events including the President’s Club luncheon and Board of Trustees dinner. She currently serves as the pianist for Southwest Park Baptist Church.

Maurer received the Kelli Nicole Marshall Scholarship, the Presser Scholarship, was the recipient of the Texas Music Teachers Educational Foundation Collegiate Award in 2013, and won second place in 2012 in the Abilene Philharmonic Young Artist Scholarship competition. She was also selected for the Most Outstanding Student in Undergraduate Harmony Award in spring 2012.

Maurer is a member of Pi Kappa Lambda, an honorary music society that recognizes and encourages the highest level of musical achievement and academic scholarship. She is a collegiate member of the Abilene Music Teachers Association, the Texas Music Teachers Association, and the Music Teachers National Association.

Maurer, from Abilene, Texas, is the daughter of Linda and Dr. Randall Maurer, professor of psychology and family ministry, program director for the Master of Arts in family ministry.

She plans to pursue a master’s degree in piano performance at HSU.

Raymond Cadjew Awarded the George Skiles Anderson Award

Raymond Cadjew, earning a Bachelor of Science in geology, was named the 2014 recipient of the George Skiles Anderson Award during the Hardin-Simmons University spring commencement May 10, 2014.

The award is presented to the senior male with three or more years in residence at HSU who has excelled in character, personal development, and service to the university. An HSU faculty and staff committee recommends the recipient.

Cadjew graduated with a 4.0 grade point average, was a member of the Alpha Chi Honor Society, and participated in a study abroad program in England in 2012.

As a student, Cadjew worked for the Department of Geology and Environmental Science and completely re-organized the university’s rock and mineral collections. He also used his commercial driver’s license to transport students on geology field trips to locations in California, New Mexico, Colorado, and El Paso.

In 2012, he received the Holland Scholarship, one of the highest scholarships in the Holland School of Sciences and Mathematics. This spring, he was awarded the Holland Medal as the top graduating senior from the geology and environmental sciences department.

After graduating from high school, Cadjew enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and served for four years. He completed two successful tours of Iraq as a combat engineer and earned the Navy Achievement Medal for his personal professional conduct while serving on a mission in Iraq.

He earned the rank of Corporal and was able to serve as a Non-Commissioned Officer for the last year of his active duty. Cadjew began his university career at HSU while also working as a professional driver, steering big rigs through West Texas and working for a local dairy distributer.

Cadjew is applying to the University of Texas at Austin for graduate work and is most interested in petroleum geology.

He is the son of Greg and Maureen Cadjew of Stamford, Texas.

Wenhui “Sherry” Dou Awarded the Hemphill Graduate Honor

Wenhui “Sherry” Dou, earning a Master of Music in piano performance, was the recipient of the Hemphill Graduate Honor Award presented during the spring commencement ceremonies at Hardin-Simmons University May 10, 2014.

The honor recognizes the graduate who has excelled in academic studies, possesses character and behavior consistent with the university’s purpose, and exhibits potential for significant contribution to his or her chosen field.

Dou is described by teachers as hardworking and as an incredibly gifted pianist. She has overcome many obstacles in the pursuit of her degree; namely, she has been blind since the age of two, and English is not her native language.

While enrolled at HSU, she has performed at many university events over the past two years including programs for the HSU Board of Trustees, HSU President’s Dinner, University Women, the School of Music and Fine Arts 2013 Homecoming Concert, and the International Students Chinese New Year Celebration.

Dou performed in the School of Music Honors recital and was inducted into Pi Kappa Lambda, an honor society recognizing the highest level of musical achievement and academic scholarship. She also received the Toombs Scholarship and the Mary Paxton Pender Endowed Memorial Scholarship for graduate students in performance while at HSU.

She has performed numerous times with the School of Music Outreach Program at Mesa Springs Retirement Village and she currently plays the piano for Covenant Presbyterian Church services.

She recently auditioned and was chosen to be one of the featured soloists for the Collegiate Artist Concert and won the honor to perform Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5 with the HSU orchestra.

“She is a fantastic pianist with a brilliant mind and voracious appetite for learning. She is also a unique individual who possesses a sweet, kind, and gentle spirit,” said Dr. Mark Puckett, HSU professor of piano.

Dou earned a Bachelor of Music from Harbin Normal University, Heilongjiang (Daoli District), China. She is the daughter of Cheng Li Dou and Ping Lu of China.



  • A Princeton Review Best Western College
  • Council for Christian Colleges & Universities  
  • Center for Student Opportunity: Promoting a College-Bound Culture
  • US News Best Colleges
  • Military Friendly
  • college_of_christian_distinction_badge20172018
  • College Choice Best Christian Colleges and University
  • University and College Accountability Network