WPU Announces 2024 Outstanding TUG and SPS Graduate Award Winners

May 6, 2024

William Peace University is proud to recognize two standout students ahead of Commencement this week. Each year, the University honors a Traditional Undergraduate (TUG) Outstanding Graduate and a School of Professional Studies (SPS) Outstanding Graduate.

TUG Outstanding Graduate

Kelsee Hylton

Kelsee Hylton

Keslee Hylton, a native of Dry Fork, Va. is a double major in criminal justice and psychology with a minor in political science. If that’s not enough, Hylton also played three sports (volleyball, basketball, lacrosse) during her time at WPU.

With the way she was able to manage her academic and athletic responsibilities, she should have included juggling on her already impressive resume.

“Honestly, everything was kind of a blur, it just happened so fast,” Hylton said. “I just had to tell myself to just sit down and get it done. I just had to do my stuff because I knew I didn’t have a lot of time.”

Hylton remembers staying up until 2 o’clock in the morning to finish an assignment, only to wake up at 7 a.m. to be at a weightlifting session by 8. And because she played three sports, this was a year-round task.

“I just had to keep going,” Hylton said. “Drink some coffee and keep going because that’s what I had to do.”

Hylton said the thing she’s most proud of from her time at WPU is her growth in the classroom. She had always been an A/B student but admits she didn’t work as hard as she could have her first year. Her junior year she made straight As for the first time and knew that’s how she wanted her transcript to look the rest of her time at WPU. She currently boasts a 4.0 GPA.

“Usually once you get to your senior year you start not caring,” Hylton said. “But I feel like mine was the opposite, I started caring more.”

After graduation, Hylton will head to the UK to get her master’s degree in sports and exercise psychology. She’ll also play one more season of lacrosse.

“People have been asking me how I’m going to go from three sports to one,” Hylton said. “Honestly, pretty easy I think.”

SPS Outstanding Graduate

Kimberly Noriega knew how much her free time meant.

Noriega is into digital art, something she picked up during her years at Wake Forest High School. She started her own business and sells the art she’s created. While that has become a passion of hers, school was still a priority. That’s why the SPS program at WPU was perfect.

“I enjoy learning online and having the freedom to do anything else I want to do that will fit in my schedule so I have free time,” Noriega said.

Kimberly Noriega

Kimberly Noriega was named the SPS Outstanding Graduate.

Noriega will be earning her B.S. in psychology from WPU. To see her hard work in the classroom, through the SPS program, was a pleasant surprise.

“I was not expecting it at all. I think it’s a reflection of the effort that I put in and of course, my effort reflects in my grades as well,” Noriega said. “All in all I really was not expecting it. It really is a big honor to be recognized.”

Noriega not only put time into her classwork but made the extra effort to talk to her professors, as well as her classmates when it came time to complete assignments. That’s part of the reason she found success at WPU and would recommend it to high school students.

“I highly recommend Peace,” Noriega said. “I think how small the class size is makes it easier to have one-on-one conversations with the professors and makes it easier to get in contact with them, and also with other students.”

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