MEMPHIS — Christian Brothers University (CBU) conferred its 2017 CBU Lasallian Fellows during Academic Convocation on August 25th. Raymond (Trey) McGinnis, Taylor Flake, RaKesha Gray, Lauren Jeu, and John Buttross were officially inducted as the CBU Lasallian Fellows Class of 2017, which is considered the highest student honor granted by the Catholic university, which was founded by the De La Salle Christian Brothers.
CBU Lasallian Fellowships are presented annually to five members of the senior class based upon the reflection of Lasallian values in their scholarship, leadership and service. Each student was nominated by a member of the CBU faculty or staff because of academic excellence, commitment to social justice, the active nature of his/her faith, and an inspired approach to change-making.
Upon graduation, the Fellows will be awarded $10,000 as a means of perpetuating their work in the community. The Fellowships are made possible through the creative generosity of benefactors Joyce Mollerup and Robert Buckman.
Raymond (Trey) McGinnis is a quiet leader who exemplifies our Lasallian spirit through change making initiatives that contribute to our campus and community. One of his most obvious contributions is through September of Service: 30 Days of Good Deeds. Trey was also a leader in creating and hosting the 2014 Tennessee Collegiate Honors Council Conference at CBU, which received rave reviews from conference-goers. He has created three short (five minute) award winning films for the "Memphis Rocks" category of the On Location: Memphis International Film and Music Festival 2013-2015 and followed that with a national honors presentation about the filmmaking process and its benefits. Trey has also been a leader in several campus organizations, which has included serving as president of the CBU chapter of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), chair of the 2015 Student-Professional Awareness Conference (S-PAC), member of the Board of Directors of the CBU Honors Program, and math tutor for the Memphis Dyslexia Foundation and the CBU math center.
Taylor Flake is a 2013-14 Trustee Scholar, a history major with minors in Spanish, political science and global studies. While Taylor has held leadership roles in many student organizations at CBU, undoubtedly her most significant roles are founder and president of the CBU Chapter of the NAACP (National Association for the Advance of Colored People), which received the College Chapter of the Year Award and is the first NAACP chapter at a Lasallian university. Despite the onerous work of founding a new organization and nurturing it to maturity, Taylor has found the time to contribute to, among others, the Tennessee Intercollegiate Supreme Court, Student Activities Council, Lasallian Collegians, Young Ladies United, the CBU Honors Program Board of Directors, the CBU Student Government Association, and Phi Alpha Delta Pre Law Fraternity, among others. For her excellent leadership and service, she received the CBU Spirit Award and was named 2015 CBU Senator of the Year. In 2015, she was recognized with the Vanderhaar Student Peace Award, which is given to a college student within the city of Memphis involved in non-violent work for peace and justice.
RaKesha Gray has contributed her time and talents to, among others, the Divine Voices gospel choir, Young Ladies United, the NAACP, Campus Ministry, Residence Life, President’s Ambassadors, and the CBU Honors Program, where she has held the offices of President and Vice-President. In her “off-time” she has for several years been a tireless community servant for Creative Life, a community youth development organization whose purpose is to provide creative learning opportunities to underserved youth in South Memphis. RaKesha volunteers for their summer feeding program (which has prepared over 12,000 meals for families in poverty), conducts ACT Prep sessions, and sets up and attends college tours with high school students. Over her career at CBU, she has received the CBU Spirit Award, the St. Thomas More Service award, and was named Ms. CBU at the 2016 CBU Homecoming. Further, because of her dedication to Creative Life, Inc. RaKesha was the recipient of that organization’s 2015 Champion Award.
Lauren Jeu has served as Philanthropy chair, Vice President, and valued trouble-shooter for the Honorary Biology Society, Tri Beta since her sophomore year. Additionally, Lauren’s contribution as Philanthropy chair has resulted in a much stronger relationship between Tri Beta and the Church Health Center (CHC). Last year, she led brainstorming sessions with other Tri Beta members in creating an on-campus CHC week that included a customized health assessment by medical professionals. Lauren has also served on the Executive Board for the CBU Honors Program for two years, and brought creative, outside-the-box thinking to her position. Most recently, she was named CBU Peer Mentor of the Year in 2016 at the first annual Peer Educator Awards. Outside of CBU, Lauren has devoted much of her time to working at a children’s ministry at her church since 2008.
John Buttross has a long history with the De La Salle Christian Brothers — having first attended Christian Brothers High School prior to joining the community at the corner of East Parkway and Central. During his time at CBU, John has served as a consistent voice in the formation of the Catholic Student Association on campus. Additionally, he spent the summer of 2015 with other Lasallian Collegians for the third annual Regional Lasallian Leadership Conference. Throughout his time at CBU, he has promoted and strengthened the philanthropic efforts of Kappa Sigma fraternity and Tri Beta honor society. In addition to these areas of service, he has also volunteered regularly with the Church Health Center and Cresthaven Internal Medical Clinic. Finally, John has worked alongside the Missionaries of Charity and the Feed My Flock organization to give back to those who will certainly benefit from his “servant’s heart.”
These young persons exemplify the Lasallian values of Christian Brothers University: academic excellence and a commitment to a life of faith, service, and community. The Fellows, each in his/her own unique way, embody Lasallianism by acting upon their beliefs and by making a difference in the world.