Black Hills State University has named Grace Hoffman, elementary and special education major from Gary; and Joshua Harris, biology major from Sturgis, as the John T. Vucurevich Presidential Scholars for the 2010-11 academic school year.

BHSU President Kay Schallenkamp expressed her thanks to the John T. Vucurevich Foundation and noted that the recipients are among the best and brightest at BHSU. The award is offered to students entering their junior year; each recipient will receive an award of $6,250 to cover tuition and fees.

Hoffman plans to become a certified elementary and special education teacher after graduation from BHSU. She looks forward to a career helping students and feels it will be a very rewarding experience. “Being a teacher does not feel like a task, but a passion,” said Hoffman.

This summer Hoffman will travel to Nepal and help teach English to elementary school students. She has volunteered her time for numerous projects including: a Red Cross blood drive; the Hurricane Katrina Relief Project; a YouthWorks mission trip to Mississippi; and a mission trip to Managua, Nicaragua.

Hoffman is a member of Teammates at BHSU, where she mentors a local middle school student, and is also involved with Campus Ventures. She also made the Dean’s List at BHSU. In 2008 she was honored with a South Dakota Opportunity Scholarship and was a recipient of the TEACH Grant Award.

Harris plans to attend medical school after graduating from BHSU. He would like to stay in South Dakota after he has completed his education and become a family practitioner.

Currently, Harris is in the process of becoming a volunteer at the Veterans Administration Hospital at Fort Meade, where he will gain experience in a hospital setting and an understanding of what a career as a physician will be like.

Harris helped plan a campus-wide cooking competition at BHSU and organize Heels Up for Haiti, a 5K run/walk event for the BHSU and local community to raise money for victims of the Haiti earthquake. He also took part in a Proyecto Abrigo mission trip to Juarez, Mexico in 2006 and 2008.

He was chosen as a South Dakota Regents Scholar and a South Dakota State Scholar in 2008 and has made the Dean’s List at BHSU for the past two years.
These two students earned scholarships made possible thanks to the generosity of the John T. Vucurevich Foundation.  The late philanthropist grew up in Lead, where he learned the value of hard work, telling the truth, the need for keeping sound spiritual values, and the importance of helping those persons less fortunate. He felt that community service was very important and served in both the South Dakota House of Representatives and Senate, and was also an active supporter of higher education. He was a successful banker, and his success allowed him to create the John T. Vucurevich Foundation to carry out his goal “to make a piece of the world a brighter place.”

For more information about the John T. Vucurevich Presidential Scholars program or BHSU scholarships contact Steve Meeker, vice president of University Advancement at BHSU, at 605-642-6228 or email Steve.Meeker@BHSU.edu.