CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., March 2, 2016 – The Michael C. Upperman III Legacy Award for Leadership in Communication Studies has been established through the Southeast Missouri University Foundation. Upperman passed away last April following a battle with ocular melanoma.
Southeast Missouri State University faculty, members of student organizations in the Department of Communication Studies, and Upperman’s family and friends made gifts towards the award to continue his legacy. These gifts were matched through the faculty/staff component of the Honoring Tradition – Inspiring Success Comprehensive Campaign through the Foundation.
This renewable scholarship will be awarded to a student at Southeast Missouri State University who is a major in the Department of Communication Studies. The recipient also must be an excellent student with a minimum 3.0 grade point average who displays the qualities Upperman represented — ethical and honest, hardworking, studious, conscientious, responsible, brave and courageous, caring and thoughtful. The recipient also must display leadership and honorably represent the Department of Communication Studies.
The Department of Communication Studies will select the recipient.
Upperman, originally from Springfield, Illinois, was a double major in corporate communication and international business at Southeast Missouri State. He was a member of Sigma Chi fraternity, an executive board member and chair of alumni relations. He also served as a member of the interfraternity Council Judicial Board and participated in Southeast’s President’s Leadership Academy. Because of his academic achievements and leadership skills, he was nominated by his peers to be an honorary member of Lambda Pi Eta National Communication Honor Society. Upperman loved to travel and spent a semester studying abroad, making many friends. He showed admirable courage in dealing with adversity and touched many hearts with his kindness and thoughtfulness.
Upperman’s family was posthumously presented with his degree by Southeast President Carlos Vargas during commencement exercises in December 2015, and Upperman was remembered with a moment of silence.