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April 26, 2013 — Ty McNamee, a Shoshoni High School graduate, is the 2013 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. McNamee, whose parents are Nancy and Lee Cady of Shoshoni, will graduate in May with a degree in English and in the Honors Program with a 3.6 GPA.
Amanda King of Riverton is this year’s Rosemarie Martha Spitaleri Award recipient as UW's outstanding graduating women.
“Ty is a mature and thoughtful UW student. As he moves on to graduate school in Student Affairs, I know for a fact that he’ll continue to develop his formidable talents for the benefit of the students who have the good fortune to work with him in the future,” says Mary Aguayo, UW Admissions assistant director.
Not bad for a student who didn’t even want to come to UW in the first place after graduating from Shoshoni High School.
“Growing up on a farm and ranch in rural Wyoming, I thought I needed to find a huge school and city to succeed. However, I would not have made some of my best friends. I would not have found my future career path in Student Affairs. I would not have been afforded the same opportunities, and I would not have found a college that truly feels like home if l had chosen to go somewhere besides the University of Wyoming,” he says.
McNamee’s achievement in academics has never been due to a lack of involvement and leadership in co-curricular activities. He has been an Associated Students of UW (ASUW) senator and later was elected vice president. He also has held various positions such as a Good Mule Conference and a First-Year Institute student programmer; a Student Media writer; a Student Fee Committee chair; and Mortar Board Chapter president.
Outside of his work for ASUW, McNamee was an orientation leader and now works as a student ambassador in UW Admissions as the alumni student engagement intern.
His volunteer activities include work with Better Worlds Book Drive, SafeTreat and the Laramie Children’s Museum Harvest Festival. He also volunteers in playground renovations, assisting flood victims and bringing holiday cheer to Laramie Senior Housing residents through Christmas carols and ornaments.
“This good character, however, stems beyond his resume, as he personally knows and makes time to speak to numerous students at the University of Wyoming and is always the first person to volunteer and help others,” wrote student nominators Jaymie Sheehan and Jaryd Unangst.
But perhaps his lasting legacy at UW was when he and another student created the ASUW Child Assistance Scholarship.
“From my personal experience of growing up with a single mom who raised my twin brother and me, went to school full time, and worked full time, a fire was truly lit inside of me questioning how I could help students who are parents and need financial assistance,” McNamee says.
The piece of ASUW legislation provides 10 different students each with a $1,000 scholarship.
“Being able to call my mom and tell her this story was one of the happiest, proudest moments of my life. I felt as though I had done something for individuals who were in the same place she had been almost 20 years earlier,” he says.
He says he would have never accomplished all this if he never had attended UW.
“Looking back on my college career, I cannot believe those words about UW came out of my mouth. Attending school at the University of Wyoming has been one of the greatest experiences of my life,” McNamee adds. “What I have been given here, I have dedicated myself to giving back to UW.”