Academics and Research

University College student awarded scholarship for adult learners

University College student Mark Butler is one of 10 students around the nation — and the first from the University of Denver — to be awarded a scholarship from the Alpha Sigma Lambda Honor Society, a group dedicated to adult learners in continuing higher education.

For the 2015–16 awards, Alpha Sigma Lambda received 156 applications from 102 colleges and universities. The honor society sought recipients who demonstrated leadership skills inside and outside of the classroom, in addition to a commitment to education. Both criteria were demonstrated by Butler, a student in the Bachelor of Arts Completion Program pursuing a degree in leadership and organizational studies.

“My jaw dropped. It’s an incredible feeling,” says Butler, who lives in Nashville, Tenn., and takes classes online. “I am honored to be able to represent DU, and I could not have done it without the support of the staff and professors who have pushed me to become a great student and an even better leader and professional outside the classroom.”

Allison O’Grady, one of Butler’s instructors at University College, sees a unique combination of real-world experience and academic focus in Butler, who aims to produce work reflective of his learning and leadership.

“On a weekly basis, Mark reinforces his own classroom learning with his own life and practitioner experiences,” O’Grady says. “Mark is motivated by his learning experiences and ability to apply concepts to his career for the benefit of organizational growth.”

In addition to pursuing his education, Butler also works full time as a technical account manager at LogicForce Consulting, a legal IT consulting firm. He hopes eventually to pursue a master’s degree in business or law.

He also serves in many leadership roles, including what he describes as an “unparalleled opportunity” to co-lead a mission trip to Africa over the summer. Through the organization Made In The Streets, Butler traveled to Kenya, where he worked with children and taught a project-management class to staff members. Butler also leads a youth group mentoring young men in Nashville.

“It gave me satisfaction that I was able to give back in the same way so many mentors did to me as I grew up,” he said. Without the education I have received from DU, nothing I have done thus far would have been possible.”

Butler chose to pursue his degree after his wife encouraged him to do so in order to progress in his job and make a difference in his career path. Now, Butler not only has the skills to make a difference in his own career, but in the lives of so many others both locally and abroad.

My experience at DU has been nothing short of extraordinary,” he explained. “Knowing I’m part of a learning community that is committed to helping adults realize their potential to become exceptional scholars has made my time at the university that much better.”


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