Judson Senior Cassie Criminger Named Lincoln Laureate
(Elgin, IL - November 12, 2013) Senior visual communications student Cassie Criminger, of Flanagan, Ill., has been named the Judson Student Lincoln Laureate for 2013. The Student Lincoln Laureate is an annual honor given to a top senior from each of the state of Illinois's public and private colleges and universities who exhibits distinct academic and extracurricular excellence.
Criminger is active on campus in several capacities. She's an athlete on the cross country and track and field team, and a member for Judson's chapter of the American Institute of Graphic Arts. Additionally, Cassie served as a resident assistant for a dormitory on campus last year. She was also instrumental in designing the brand for Jerry's Café, the campus coffee shop that opened in fall 2012. Her other accolades include making the Dean's List for 2011 through 2013, and being named a scholar athlete for the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics this spring.
Coming to Judson was somewhat providential for Criminger. She had been looking for an art and design program at a Christian university when she found Judson online. When she mentioned her interest in Judson to her high school track coach, she discovered that he was friends with Judson's Coach Weinhandl, so he was able to help her make the right connections.
"From there I ended up getting a cross country and track scholarship and everything just fell into place," explains Criminger.
She says that her experience at Judson has helped her to go beyond being a good student and use her passion to glorify God.
"When I was in high school, I think I worked really hard for my grades in order to please others," she says. "When I came to Judson, however, no one knew me as that girl anymore. It made me realize that I couldn't work hard solely for others but for myself and for God. I had to step back and ask myself what was driving me and what was it I hoped to accomplish by working hard. I have also grown a lot spiritually here simply by being surrounded by godly men and women who have pushed me to step out in my faith, supported me through highs and lows, and have been willing to open up and share their stories."
Criminger and the other Student Lincoln Laureates were honored at a ceremony on Saturday, November 2. Students were given a tour of the Old State Capitol where President Lincoln spent much of his early career.
"More than just awarding us, I felt like the ceremony was really an encouragement, an encouragement to continue working hard and to be leaders in the community," says Criminger.
She also attributes much of her success to the support of her parents and coaches, who have always encouraged her in her academics, athletics and her faith.
"Having people in my life who understand the importance and balance of all three of these is what I believe has helped me be able to accomplish what I have during my time here at Judson," she says.
She also says she's thankful for her time spent with peers in the design studio.
"A large portion of my favorite memories at Judson has been in studio with my classmates. We have spent a lot of time working together, struggling over the same projects, taking breaks to make crazy contraptions or watch silly videos, and getting excited about design; its just been fun to see everyone grow together both in our designs and as people in general."
Criminger will graduate in May 2014 from the visual communications program. When asked about her plans for the future, Criminger says her goal is to work at a small firm or do some form of editorial work in the Chicago area.