Caritas Award to be presented to four SJU students April 28

April 26, 2013

Stephen Gross '13
Connor Klausing '14

Justin Markon '15

Edwin Torres '16

Four students from Saint John's University will receive the Caritas Man of Extraordinary Service Award Sunday, April 28, during a private luncheon at SJU.

Senior Stephen Gross, junior Connor Klausing, sophomore Justin Markon and first-year Edwin Torres will each receive a $2,500 scholarship for earning the award.

The award, rooted in Benedictine values, is given to recognize the work of four SJU students who exemplify service in their lives; are active in service to others; display a commitment to society through student leadership, civic leadership and social leadership; and are currently or have been actively involved with service organizations, student activities and/or academic services.

Gross, a sociology major from New Prague, Minn., has been named to the Dean's List six semesters during his tenure at SJU. In the summer of 2012, he was a member of the College of Saint Benedict Marie and Robert Jackson Fellows Program, and interned at Finnegans Brewing Inc., Minneapolis. Finnegans is the first beer company to donate 100 percent of its profits to local hunger charities. Gross has volunteered at Kennedy Elementary School, St. Joseph, and the Stearns County Jail as a GED education program assistant. He has also served as a first-year orientation team leader at CSB and SJU and as a youth camp director and supervisor at the Catholic Heart Work Camp, Rockford, Ill.

Klausing, a political science major from Roseville, Minn., is serving as a student intern delivering solar lamps to children who have no access to electricity for the Association for Social and Environmental Development in Kolkata, India, while participating in the India study abroad program. He's also the project manager for the Full Circle Greenhouse in St. Joseph, which will provide locally-grown produce to CSB, SJU and St. Joseph. During 2011, Klausing organized Powershift on campus - a national environmental conference that combats environmental damages like global warming - and served as a tutor for the St. Cloud Area Somali Salvation Organization. He has also served as the intercultural affairs representative for the SJU Senate.

Markon, a political science major from Maple, Wis., is a student naturalist aide at Saint John's Arboretum and is a student tutor in the Upward Bound program at CSB and SJU. Markon is a member of the Knights of Columbus organization, and is a member of the Peace Studies Club at CSB and SJU. He was a member of the Bonner Leadership Program, and participated in a service trip to Holden Village, Wash., where he learned about sustainability and how to live in community. Markon is currently serving on the Community Conduct and Standard Board, which helps in the judicial process for SJU students who have broken school policies.

Torres, a political science and history double-major from San Pedro, Calif., credits volunteering for artist Patrick Dougherty's stickwork sculpture at SJU, "Lean on Me," for his embracement of the Benedictine values. He teaches first-generation Somali refugees English and mathematics, and is a member of a Men's Spirituality Group. Torres was recently named a John Brandl Scholar for this summer, and has been named a residential assistant in Bernard Hall for the 2013-14 school year. He is also a Life Safety officer at SJU.  Before coming to SJU, Torres was the student body president at San Pedro High School and was active as a volunteer in several political campaigns in California.