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East Central University's top senior, Jacobi Nichols of Healdton, will be awarded the prestigious George Nigh Award Tuesday [April 14], at a luncheon in the South Dining Hall of Taff Cafeteria in ECU's Memorial Student Union.

The luncheon is open to the public and officers and members of area civic groups are encouraged to attend. The cost is $5. The buffet line will open at 11:30 a.m. Reservations can be made by calling the President's Office at 580-559-5213.

Nichols, along with finalists Julie Elkins of Ardmore, Holly Dunagan of Maud and Twylia Sherrill of McAlester will be honored by ECU officials and community leaders for their outstanding academic achievements. Nichols will receive the $500 award from former Gov. George Nigh during the luncheon.

The Nigh Award is based on academic achievement, character and potential contribution to public service. The late Julian Rothbaum, a Tulsa oil man, banker and one-time state regent for higher education, established an endowment to fund the Nigh Award in honor of the former governor.

Nigh, an ECU alum and also a former president of the University of Central Oklahoma, served four terms in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, four terms as lieutenant governor and two terms as governor.

Nichols, a political science major with a minor in legal studies, will be attending law school at the University of Oklahoma in the fall. Upon graduation from law school, she hopes to become a prosecutor or to work in the area of water law.

"I'd love to eventually become a judge and perhaps even serve as a Supreme Court justice for the State of Oklahoma," said Nichols.

Nichols has worked at the district attorney's office in Ada since July as a victim's compensation coordinator.

Her activities as a student at ECU have included being a member of the Honors Program, vice president for both Chi Omega and Student Senate, treasurer of Pi Sigma Alpha Honor Society, Tiger Leadership, Young Democrats, Society of Success and Leadership, Alpha Chi Honor Society and CREW. She has also helped organize primary political forums at ECU and a campus-wide voter registration, education and mobilization effort for the fall 2008 presidential election.

Honors include the Order of Omega, outstanding Greek scholar, 2008 OPSA outstanding undergraduate research paper, Noble Foundations Scholar, President's Honor Roll, ECU Presidential Scholar, ECU Top Ten Freshmen, 2008 Rising Junior Leader Award, Edward Barton Brooks Scholar and the Honors Program "Eye on You" spring award 2007.

Community service has also been an active part of Nichols time at ECU. She has participated in ECU's Service Saturdays, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Human Resource Club Annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner, Christmas Through the Eyes of a Child, Pi Sigma Alpha "Week of Work," domestic violence awareness programs and served as a volunteer at the Pontotoc Animal Welfare Shelter. Finalist Julie Elkins received a degree in family and consumer science in December. Holly Dunagan graduated in December with a degree in English education and Twylia Sherrill will graduate this May with a degree in elementary education.

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