NGU News

NGU’s Abigail McGillis Named 2023 SCICU Student of the Year

Posted on: October 11, 2023
By Billy Cannada,

Tigerville, SC (Oct. 11, 2023) South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities has selected North Greenville University’s (NGU) Abigail McGillis as its 2023 SCICU McLean-Smith Student of the Year.

McGillis, a senior elementary education major, was honored at SCICU’s Board of Trustees meeting on October 10. The recognition provides a $3,000 scholarship.

“We are proud of Abigail McGillis for being named the 2023 McLean-Smith SCICU Student of the Year,” said NGU President Dr. Gene C. Fant, Jr. “This is a significant achievement, and it exemplifies the leader that she is becoming on our campus and in her community.”

The scholarship program is named after J. Lacy McLean and Sterling L. Smith. McLean advocated for independent higher education in S.C. for over 34 years. Smith was instrumental in the development of the S.C. Tuition Grants program.

“It was very surprising and very exciting to be named Student of the Year,” McGillis said. “I am so honored to be able to represent NGU in this way. I love learning and want to impart that love to the next generation.”

Along with maintaining a 4.0 GPA each semester at NGU, McGillis has demonstrated significant personal and professional leadership in the classroom, student leadership roles, and the community.

“The College of Education is extremely proud of Abigail McGillis,” said Dr. Constance Wright, dean of NGU’s College of Education. “Abigail is an exceptional student who is highly involved in our education program. She serves as a co-president in the Teacher Education Association and participates in other organizations, such as the Young Americans for Freedom. She is an outstanding representative of North Greenville University and the College of Education.”

In addition to her leadership roles with the Teacher Education Association and Young Americans for Freedom, McGillis has also served as the secretary for NGU’s Student Body Council.

Earlier in 2023, McGillis taught English in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Locally, Abigail serves her church by leading worship, teaching Sunday School, helping with Vacation Bible School, working with youth retreats, and more. McGillis is also involved with the Baptist Collegiate Ministry, Abide, and the NGU Homeless Ministry. 

“Abigail is an outstanding student in her education cohort,” said Dr. Jan Foster, associate provost for administration and accreditation at NGU. “She exemplifies a student who is passionate about education, her community, her country, and her faith. She is so well deserving of his honor.”

North Greenville University’s College of Education offers traditional and online bachelor’s programs in Early Childhood Education, Elementary Education, and Secondary Education. NGU also offers three graduate programs: Master of Education, Education Specialist and Doctor of Education. Graduates with education degrees from NGU consistently secure employment in roles that align with their studies.

McGillis said she plans to continue her education upon graduation from NGU.

“I want to pursue educational leadership,” she said. “Going on to get my doctorate and studying classical education are things I’d love to accomplish down the line.”

Each year, the McLean-Smith SCICU Student of the Year scholarship recipient is selected from rising junior or senior applicants attending one of SCICU’s 21 member colleges and universities. All applicants must also be S.C. Tuition Grant recipients. Applications are accepted by the Center for Scholarship Administration in Greenville, and an independent three-person panel annually selects the student who will receive the SCICU Student of the Year scholarship.

“SCICU is proud to honor Abigail with the Student of the Year scholarship,” L. Jeffrey Perez, Ph.D., SCICU president and CEO. “Her academic achievements and leadership in the community are an inspiration to all of us and demonstrate the superior preparation students receive at North Greenville and all SCICU member institutions.”

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