Trevecca announces five finalists for Nina Griggs Gunter Servant Leadership Scholarship

Trevecca Nazarene University will award one student with a $1,000 Nina Griggs Gunter Student Leadership scholarship on Oct. 19, chosen from among five finalists. The field of finalists includes four seniors and one junior.

The finalists are seniors Sofia Guerrero, Danielle Moll, Grace Savage, Mary Elizabeth Waters and junior Lindsey Seller.

From left to right: Guerrero, Savage, Moll, Seller, Waters

Dr. Shirley V. Hoogstra, president of the Council for Christian College and Universities (CCCU), will speak during the Oct. 19 chapel service. Hoogstra is the 2017 recipient of the Nina Griggs Gunter Servant Leadership Award, which will also be presented during the service.  

Named for Dr. Nina Griggs Gunter, a 1958 Trevecca graduate and the first female general superintendent in the Church of the Nazarene, the scholarship and award recognize Christian women and female students who are servant leaders. Gunter’s family and friends established the Nina Griggs Gunter Leadership Fund in 2008 as a way to recognize Gunter’s significant impact on the Church of the Nazarene and honor her as a role model.

To be considered, students must be nominated for the scholarship. Nominees must be female students who embody various aspects of servant leadership, including a dedication to following Christ through service, garnering respect among peers and faculty and demonstrating a spirit of service.

A committee comprised of faculty, administrators and a representative of the Gunter family then narrows the field to five finalists, before selecting the recipient of the $1,000 scholarship. The four remaining finalists will receive a $250 award.

Several of this year’s finalists were surprised to find out they’d been nominated.

“My initial reaction was, ‘Why me?’” Mary Elizabeth Waters, an intercultural studies major, said. “I can think of so many women servant leaders in the Trevecca community that I look up to who deserve an award like this. It is surprising and humbling to me that someone might think of me in that way.”

Moll, a member of the Trevecca volleyball team and an early childhood education major, echoed Water’s sentiments.

“When I found out I had been nominated for this scholarship, I was shocked,” she said. “I did not realize that the things I was doing for my team, the athletic department and my fellow students were really making a difference.”

Guerrero, also an early childhood education major, found significance in the fact that the Nina Griggs Gunter Leadership Award and scholarship specifically honors female servant leaders.

“When a woman embodies characteristics of a servant leader, she demonstrates an awareness of service over simply leading,” she said. “She understands the cause and takes responsibility to serve others while leading them along the way. Being a leader as a woman makes an impact, but being a servant leader as a woman makes a difference.”

Seller, the only junior to make the list of finalists, said being nominated was encouraging and offered a reminder to her that the world needs servant leaders, even if the recognition made her a little uncomfortable.

“It’s a little strange to be recognized for doing what I love to do,” Seller said. “Service is simply a manifestation of the Lord’s impact on my life. I pray that it is a revelation of Christ within me, the ultimate example of servant leadership.”

Savage, a religion major, agreed.

“I often find myself struggling with a balance between needing recognition and remembering that I am placed in a position not for myself to be seen but for Jesus to be seen within me,” she said. “Being recognized is humbling because it means that in some areas, I am allowing Jesus to be seen. I don’t deserve this award on my own.”

The recipient of the $1,000 scholarship will be announced during the 10 a.m. chapel service on Oct. 19 in the Boone Convocation Center. Finalists and their families will be recognized with an invitation-only reception and luncheon following the service.

The Nina Griggs Gunter Servant Leadership Day will conclude with an informal talk by Hoogstra centered on being a servant leader in the midst of turmoil. This event is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. in Benson Auditorium.

To learn more about each of the finalists, visit