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Sean Moran Earns 2012 Tobin Memorial Award

April 20, 2012
Man smiling
Sean Moran is the 2012 winner of the Tobin Memorial Award as the University of Wyoming's outstanding graduating man.

Sean Moran, a Campbell County High School graduate, is the 2012 winner of the Tobin Memorial Award as the University of Wyoming's outstanding graduating man.

The annual award is based on academic excellence and achievement, service to the university, participation and leadership in the community and campus activities, and citizenship qualities. Moran, who will graduate this summer, will have multiple degrees in psychology, sociology and criminal justice, all with a combined 3.8 GPA.

Megan Degenfelder of Casper and Michaela Uhling of Saratoga are the co-recipients of the Rosemarie Martha Spitaleri Award as UW's outstanding graduating women.

Zackie Salmon, UW McNair Scholars Program director, has a special place in her heart for Moran. The McNair Scholars Program prepares eligible undergraduate students from groups traditionally underrepresented to succeed in college.

Salmon says Moran arrived on campus his freshman year with just the clothes on his back and a tattered suitcase with only a few personal possessions.

"He wasn't traveling light; those were all the material possessions he had," she says. "However, he had so much more than money could buy. He was intelligent, even brilliant. He was compassionate and drawn to advocate for social justice issues. He had the energy and the ideas to make the world a better place. What he needed was a forum, and the University of Wyoming gave him that."

Growing up in extreme poverty, Moran never dreamed that he could afford college, Salmon says. He took advantage of UW's GEAR UP Program, which provides scholarships to high-achieving, low-income students.

Salmon says Moran has delved into causes that are close to his heart -- victimization of women, child abuse, and equal rights for those who cannot defend themselves. She adds that an early childhood tragedy -- being burned badly in a house fire as a baby -- and growing up poor have made him the person he is today.

"When you meet Sean, you will forget about scars after the first 30 seconds because his aura shines so brightly, and you will feel blessed to interview one who has represented all of us at UW so well," Salmon says.

Moran also received high praise from Dolores Cardona, associate dean of students, for his well-rounded UW academic career.

"Sean's character and citizenship are excellent as well. He holds himself well, is a role model and is engaged in UW, serving on advisory committees and contributes back as well," Cardona says. "Individuals who get to know Sean can see that he is bright, friendly, talented and engaging. I love his follow-through. He is committed, dedicated and service-oriented. He is definitely not ‘in this for himself' or for the glory. He truly is authentic and genuine."

She says, in many ways, Moran is an atypical UW student, but is the kind of person who "brings us honor." Moran volunteers in many campus and community activities, and belongs to many national academic organizations.

During his UW career, Moran realized that the keys to success and involvement are passion, innovation and faith.

"I see college as a transformative place where one sees how capable and powerful he or she truly is. All that is needed is to remember these three things and the belief that incredible things can happen when people work toward a dream, since the improbable means it can be possible," he says.

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