Lee News

Eckert Receives Zeno C. Tharp Award

By Olivia Webb

Lee University senior Nick Eckert was awarded the 2018 Zeno C. Tharp Award during the university’s Honors Chapel last month.

Established in 1955, this annual award is given to a Lee senior who shows the greatest promise of making a significant contribution to the Church. It is named in honor of the sixth president of Lee, who served from 1935-44. Each department may nominate one student for the award, and of these nominees, a winner is selected by faculty vote.

Eckert was nominated by Dr. Joseph Daft, assistant professor of biology, and Dr. Mark Walker, who serves as professor of pastoral studies, vice president for ministerial development, and chairperson for the Department of Christian Ministries.

Eckert is from Sellersburg, Indiana, and is pursuing an intercultural studies major with a biology minor. He will graduate in Lee’s May commencement summa cum laude.

“Nick was one of the best students I’ve ever had,” said Daft. “His ability to take what he learned in class and apply it to more complex questions is second to none. He is such an incredible example of how science and religion can be used by someone to give us a glimpse of the Kingdom in today’s world.”

Eckert has been on multiple mission trips including to Kenya with Shepherd’s Heart International, where he helped with media and information for orphanage-donor relations; to Haiti with Northwest Haiti Christian Mission, where he rebuilt churches and orphanages; and to Guatemala several times with Casas Por Cristo, where he built houses for church members.

Eckert also spent 10 weeks in Jerusalem, where he organized and taught English for at-risk students, aided communities of Syrian and Iraqi refugees, and encouraged members of the persecuted church.

“I plan to use my training in intercultural studies and my medical education to bring holistic healing and the hope of the Gospel to the most underserved and least engaged parts of the world,” said Eckert.

Eckert has helped the integration of immigrants as a co-leader of the International Friends Network (IFN). He is also a co-founder of Conversation Corner, which is through IFN, where he assists internationals in developing conversational English language skills.

“Nominating Nick Eckert was not difficult,” said Walker. “The combination of his excellent academic and global ministry effectiveness made it easy to choose Nick, but it is his passion that sets him apart. You cannot spend any time with Nick and not hear his passion to carry the physical and spiritual Gospel of Jesus Christ to the most forgotten and overlooked people groups in the world. We felt this made him the perfect candidate for the Zeno Tharp Award.”

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