Two students bursting with passion were honored at the annual convocation. Every year, the university selects two students, who have exhibited outstanding academic excellence while finding the time to pour themselves into ministry. They receive the Gary and Diane Heavin Servant Leadership Award.
This year’s recipients, senior elementary education major Lauren McKee and senior exercise sport science major Morgan Baker are servants to those around them.
Director of the Baptist Student Ministries Shawn Shannon has worked closely with McKee.
Shannon said, “Since she grew up here, I’ve gotten to watch her through high school on up, and she’s always been sensitive to service. She’s just done that.”
McKee has served on missions teams that have gone to places such as Brazil and Alaska.
During her sophomore year, she worked closely with the BSM to establish a more efficient working relationship with Helping Hands, a local ministry outreach in Belton.
Since she has served on a number of mission trips, she decided to donate a portion of her award to Go Now Missions.
She wants to give back to her university and hopes a fellow Crusader will benefit from her gift and will experience hands-on ministry for his or herself.
McKee said, “I have a heart for missions, but I also have a heart for equipping and sending others on missions.”
She believes her ministry experiences have helped prepare her for life after graduation.
“I think it’s taught me how to manage my time and how to do things in a manner that’s glorifying to God,” she said.
In the same way that McKee strives to glorify God, Baker said she tries to be a reflection of Christ.
She has been involved in the BSM and Fellowship of Christian Athletes. She spent last Christmas break helping to establish a children’s camp in the Dominican Republic.
Although Morgan has been a part of several ministries, one place she shines her light the brightest is on the volleyball court.
According to her coach, Rob Frost, through Cru volleyball, she has implemented skills clinics for children.
Although Baker has achieved remarkable academic and athletic success, her main focus is loving the people around her.
She said, “Since being at Mary Hardin-Baylor, I realize how much I love this school. Even if the ability to play volleyball was taken away from me, I would still want to continue to go here.”
It’s not only volleyball that has kept Baker at the university, but the lasting relationships she has built.
“For athletes it’s easy to only be here for their sport. For me, I love volleyball and I love the girls, and at the same time I love the school and the professors and the people.”
Frost thinks a lot of Baker’s ability to exhibit her Christlike character and excellence.
He said, “She is our best recruiter for UMHB volleyball and a great example of life balance in taking care of herself and also taking care of others.”
It is this energy and selflessness that sets Baker apart.
“She has always been ready and willing to lead our team in prayer and Bible study,” Frost said.
He thinks that Baker receiving the award helps represent the heart of his entire team.