Benevolent seniors receive recognition


UNF recognized two students for their volunteerism and granted another with a posthumous degree April 24 at the spring graduation commencement.

Ian McInnis, political science major, was presented the Senior Service Award for his continued and sustained dedication to UNF and to the local area.

On Fridays, he spends a lot of time at the Ronald McDonald house in Jacksonville, a place where families can stay while their children are receiving medical care from an area hospital, McInnis said.

McInnis, headed for law school this fall, credits his time management skills to his work in the community and classroom.

“I think I could have got into law school without [extra volunteer work], but having it really helped,” he said.

John Kuai, biology major, received the Albert D. Ernest Jr. Caring Award for his dedication to the local community.

Kuai was very involved in the Jacksonville City Rescue Missions as well as the Alliance for the Lost Boys from Sudan.

Kaui, born in the Sudan, was separated from his parents at a very young age. Before his 10th birthday, he witnessed the deaths of many other children in the war-stricken area.

He was granted refugee status in the U.S. so he could attend UNF and go on to medical school. He said he hopes to return to Sudan after he graduates medical school.

Grant Prather, a UNF business student who died in Feb. after an 11-month battle against colon cancer, was awarded his degree from the Coggin College of Business. His mother, Joanne McKinney, accepted the degree.

McKinney said that President John Delaney called her personally to let her know that Prather was receiving the degree.

“Grant was very well-disciplined and getting his degree was very important to him,” she said. “I just wish he was here to accept it himself.”

McKinney said Prather did everything in his power to remain alive, including staying in shape as long as he could.

Even up until the last week before he died, Prather was still buying items off of and scheduling different appointments, which McKinney had to cancel, she said.

Prather and his mother co-founded the Big Fun Foundation, which produced the Big Fun Box, she said. This box is filled with fun, entertaining ways to amuse children during long hospital stays.

Throughout the same week, separate departments within each college presented their own awards to other students within their programs.