Christopher MacLellan Earns 2010 Tobin Memorial Award

April 23, 2010
Mans smiling
Christopher MacLellan, a computer science/mathematics double major from Cheyenne, is the University of Wyoming's outstanding graduating man. (UW Photo)

Christopher MacLellan of Cheyenne, is the 2010 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.

"I have met past recipients of the Tobin award and I have found them to be truly special students. I believe Chris is in that category," says Ruben Gamboa, UW Department of Computer Science associate professor. "I believe Chris embodies all the virtues that define a Tobin recipient as an outstanding scholar, student leader, community service volunteer and as an excellent citizen."

Lindsay (Rozier) Capron of Cody received the Rosemarie Martha Spitaleri Award as the University of Wyoming's outstanding graduating woman.

MacLellan, a computer science/mathematics double major and in UW's Honors Program, will graduate in May. MacLellan says a talk with his father when he was eight set the course of his life's aspirations. He is the son of John and Roxane MacLellan of Phoenix.

"That day I learned that to accomplish great things one must be focused and never stray from their purpose," MacLellan says. "With that in mind, I resolved that someday I would be a teacher that would want to lead others to find the answers that they searched for; and that I would contribute my ideas and discoveries, through my research in intelligent machines, to the entire human race. Not a day has gone by that I haven't adamantly pursued that singular purpose."

Those strong beliefs have carried into the classroom, especially as a discussion leader in Cynthia Vadnais' mathematics class.

"As an ambassador for the University of Wyoming, people will speak of Christopher with pride for decades to come," Vadnais says."He is one of those rare individuals that you know will make notable contributions to his field of study and the community in which he lives. He is a breath of fresh air."

MacLellan says helping others has been his greatest reward on campus. His strongest scholastic experience has been working as a teaching assistant for a discussion section of business calculus.

"Having the chance to teach students math and the chance to positively change their attitudes towards the subject is an opportunity I won't ever forget," he says. "In addition, I realize that you rise to a whole new level of understanding when you have to teach the material instead of just learning it. It consequently inspired me to entire new tiers of self-learning and self-education."

His next goal is to earn a doctoral degree in computer science.


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