BURLINGTON, VT -- Hillary Laggis, a Public Communication major from Hardwick, was presented with the Mary Jean Simpson Award at the University of Vermont's commencement ceremony on May 18, 2014. The award honors the senior who exhibits the highest qualities of leadership, academic competence and character.

Winner of the nationally competitive Pearson Prize and a finalist for a Truman Scholarship, Laggis has been recognized repeatedly for her leadership in areas of community service while at UVM. Involved in volunteer coordination following Tropical Storm Irene and the DREAM mentoring program, which matches children from low-income families with college-aged mentors, Laggis is also creator of a program that provides outdoor experiences for youth living in affordable housing in Winooski. Created in memory of a UVM classmate, the program sends one child on an Outward Bound trip each year for free.

While at UVM, Laggis has also been recipient of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences' 2014 Lawrence K. Forcier Outstanding Senior Award; the Ira Allen Society Scholar award; and the UVM Spirit of Service Award, among other honors. Laggis says of her time at the university: "UVM taught me the meaning of community. You cannot be great on your own - it takes support and encouragement from others to realize your potential."

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