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Jose Rivas, a criminal justice major with a minor in Latina/o Studies, from Gillette, was among seven finalists for the 2015 Tobin Memorial Award as the University of Wyoming’s outstanding graduating man.
Cheyenne’s Joshua Messer was the recipient for this year’s Tobin Memorial Award. Callie Berman, of Boulder, Colo., received the Rosemarie Martha Spitaleri Award as UW's outstanding graduating woman.
The annual Tobin award is based on academic excellence and achievement, service to the university, participation and leadership in the community and campus activities, and citizenship qualities. Other finalists were Kyle Bochanski, Fairfax, Vt.; Christian Bopp, Waikoloa, Hawaii; Stanley DeVore, Casper; Andy J. Kulikowski II, Atascadero, Calif.; and Mathias McCormick, Laramie. Students were honored at a recent luncheon.
To be considered for the Spitaleri and Tobin awards, students were judged on academic excellence and achievement; contributions and service to UW; participation and leadership in co-curricular activities; and demonstrated character and citizenship.
“I believe community involvement is key to being a successful individual. My commitment to the UW community is tremendous, as I constantly seek any opportunity for the advancement of other students. My determination to succeed has become an essential part of my journey, leading me to where I stand today,” Rivas says. “I plan to attend law school at the University of Wyoming to study immigration law. After my studies are complete, my primary goal will be to apply my degree to help the undocumented community, particularly students who struggle to gain an education.”
Nominators wrote letters of support for each of the students.
“Jose is nothing less than an impressive student, leader for diversity and advocate for social justice on campus,” wrote one nominator. “He is grateful beyond comparison for the opportunities afforded to him at the University of Wyoming, and will use his degree to further impact change in his community, nation and world.”
Another added, “He is a scholar. It was very clear to me then that he has a leadership role within the Hispanic community in Gillette as well, and is a confident and charismatic leader. Jose demonstrates optimism, leadership and humor in keeping the groups together, and working collaboratively.”