Texas Tech St. Jude Up 'til Dawn Wins Program of the Year Award

The team also won an award for the highest year-over-year increase in funds raised.

St. Jude Thaddeus

Mark Khan and Evan O'Leary at the of
St. Jude Thaddeus.

Texas Tech University’s St. Jude Up ‘til Dawn team won Program of the Year, the highest award given at the annual St. Jude Collegiate Leadership Seminar in July. For the second straight year, it also won an award for having the highest year-over-year increase in funds raised to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

The Program of the Year award recognizes the St. Jude collegiate school that implemented the most outstanding overall program. Considered in the judging process are how the executive board worked together, awareness and public relations efforts, recruitment, fundraising efforts, side events and the final St. Jude Up ‘til Dawn event, an all-nighter featuring food, prizes, activities and more.

“It is not easy to describe the honor of having been awarded such a prestigious award as Program of the Year. I am beyond proud to have been able to help our organization achieve such recognition,” said Evan O’Leary, the 2015-16 executive director for Texas Tech St. Jude Up ‘til Dawn, a current member of the National Visions Committee and a senior economics major from Midland. “Just having come from the Collegiate Leadership Seminar, our executive board is both motivated and excited to continue the tradition of excellence here at Texas Tech. However we will not view this award as a prize but, rather, a challenge to continue to improve our program each year and excel beyond the expectations placed upon us.”

St. Jude collegiate leadership seminar

Executive Board members, St. Jude regional staff and school advisor after receiving the award:

(l-r) Rebecca Tripp, Jennifer Kimble, Sutton Crank, Quinn Meunier, O'Leary, Khan, Neil Solze, Bryanna Droz, Brooke Gassiott, and Pamela Carrizales

The Texas Tech St. Jude Up ‘til Dawn executive board set a fundraising goal of $50,000 for the 2015-16 year, up from the $30,780 raised in 2014-15 and the $6,415 in 2013-14. When all was said and done, they more than doubled the goal, raising $111,271. With that in mind, the group has set a goal of $115,000 for 2016-17. 

Texas Tech St. Jude Up ‘til Dawn also was recognized as having the country’s highest recruitment on national recruitment day, when 211 students registered to participate.

“I feel inspired. It’s incredible to see a program that was on the verge of no longer existing on our campus becoming one of the most well-known and respected programs in the country,” said Mark Khan, 2016-17 executive director for Texas Tech St. Jude Up ‘til Dawn and a senior business marketing major from Round Rock. “It’s incredibly humbling knowing that, as a student body and personally, we are able to contribute to such an extraordinary cause, making a difference in the lives of so many.

St. Jude collegiate leadership seminar

Khan, ALSAC CEO Rick Shadyac, unnamed student and O'Leary. 

ALSAC is the fundraising marketing branch of St. Jude.

“There is a sense of pride and happiness, knowing a group of 11 passionate Texas Tech students could come together and inspire more than 800 students to join our movement and strive toward great heights in accomplishing St. Jude founder Danny Thomas’s mission of ‘no child should ever die in the dawn of life.’”

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital works to find cures to childhood cancers. Research done there has helped push the survival rate for childhood cancer from less than 20 percent in 1962 to more than 80 percent today, according to its website.


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