For the second year in a row, Seymour native Lindsey Gray was named a top 100 student at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

At the recent recognition dinner at the Indianapolis Marriott, each of this year’s honorees were introduced as they walked onstage to receive a plaque.

Then it was time to announce the top 10 and the most outstanding student.

After two names were called, Gray, a senior majoring in accounting, finance and international studies in the Kelley School of Business, said she was shocked to hear her name.

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While sitting at a table with her parents, Scott and Jana Gray, and brother, Tyler Gray, one of her professors told her she had a good chance of making the top 10. She said she knew top 10 would be great, but top 100 is still a big deal.

“Almost as soon as I said that to myself, they are like, ‘Lindsey Gray,'” she said. “I just kind of looked and I was like, ‘I think they just said my name.’ My brother hits me and he’s like, ‘Go, go,’ and I was like, ‘OK.'”

A couple of days later, she said making the top 10 sank in after she received a congratulatory email from Idie Kesner, dean of the Indiana University Kelley School of Business. Kesner had spoken to one of her classes the week before the dinner.

“Whenever she emailed me and she was like, ‘You are the perfect student, you have good grades, you’re involved and you do stuff for your community,’ I think that’s when it set in and I’m like, ‘I did a lot,'” Gray said.

This year, more than 1,600 IUPUI students were nominated for the top 100 honor. Students have to meet several criteria, including being a degree-seeking junior or senior, completing a minimum of 56 credit hours applicable to their degree program and achieving a minimum cumulative grade-point average of at least 3.2.

The top 10 students and the most outstanding student are chosen by a panel of judges, including IUPUI alumni, faculty and staff. Students are selected in recognition of their scholastic achievement, cocurricular activities on campus and civic and community service.

Sarah Grace Fraser, a School of Liberal Arts senior from Knightstown, was named the Nelle Godio Most Outstanding Student.

Gray said a big focal point for the judges is research, and the top 10 honor typically goes to science or engineering majors since they do a lot of research. She and Fraser were the only students outside of those areas of study.

Fraser received a glass award, while each of the top 10 students received a plaque. All of them also received $500.

Earning distinction

Being a top 10 student is among the many accolades Gray recently has received.

At Sunday’s graduation ceremonies, she wore crimson cords to signify she was graduating with distinction for being in the top 10 percent of her Kelley School of Business graduating class. A notation will be placed on her transcript and diploma.

The IUPUI graduation was at Lucas Oil Stadium, and the Kelley School of Business graduation was at the Indiana Convention Center.

To graduate with academic distinction, baccalaureate and associate degree candidates must rank within the highest 10 percent of the graduating class of their respective degree-granting units. Additionally, baccalaureate degree candidates must have completed a minimum of 60 hours at IU, and associate degree candidates must have completed at least half of the hours required for their degree at IU.

Having finished fourth in the Trinity Lutheran High School Class of 2013, Gray said graduating with distinction in college wasn’t ever a goal, but she was happy to earn the honor.

“That one is purely GPA-based, where top 10 and top 100 is about volunteering and what you do for IUPUI and the community,” she said. “That does mean a lot because I was still able to do everything for the community, but at the same time, I had enough time to focus on my studies and maintain a good GPA.”

More honors

Gray also was named Delta Sigma Pi’s Regional Collegiate of the Year.

She was a four-year member of that coed fraternity for business and economics students, serving as vice president of pledge education her sophomore year, vice president of alumni relations as a junior and president as a senior.

Each year, Delta Sigma Pi names 31 Regional Collegiates of the Year, 11 Provincial Collegiates of the Year and one National Collegiate of the Year. IUPUI, which has had a chapter since 1982, is in the region with schools in Indiana, Illinois and Michigan.

“That was really, really cool to win just because Delta Sigma Pi has done so much for me,” Gray said. “It has almost been like my second family up there. Any time anything has gone wrong, someone in the fraternity is the first person I call.

“I never expected to receive this award, but it’s nice to be recognized for everything you’ve done for the fraternity,” she said. “It has definitely played a big part of my life. It has literally been the best thing that has ever happened to me.”

With 54 members, Gray said IUPUI’s chapter is the largest Kelley School of Business organization.

“Delta Sigma Pi used to be the organization to join at IUPUI if you were in Kelley,” Gray said. “Last year, the president did a great job in getting the core people who wanted to be in the fraternity and wanted to see it go places, so to me, my job was to get that next step.”

Gray said they put together a lunch for Kelley faculty that everyone raved about. They also hosted Jagathon, which is IUPUI’s Dance Marathon to benefit Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health in Indianapolis, and participated in Relay for Life, which benefits the American Cancer Society.

The fraternity’s events were exclusively for members in the past, but several of them now are open to all of IUPUI’s nearly 30,000 students.

During Gray’s freshman year, Jagathon raised $50,000. This year, that jumped to $351,000.

“To see how much it has grown has been so awesome,” Gray said. “I loved Jagathon because it’s all about supporting the kids at Riley, and I was a Riley kid, so that allows me to give back to them for everything they did for me.”

Expanding skills

On campus, Gray also was involved in Kelley Indianapolis Student Government and Kelley Indianapolis Cares, both allowing her to gain leadership and volunteer skills.

Gray said she had a couple of other colleges in mind when she was a high school senior, but she is glad her mother encouraged her to apply to IUPUI and her high school guidance counselor helped her submit paperwork because she was directly admitted into the Kelley School of Business.

Even though she went through the graduation ceremonies, Gray still has to take three classes this summer to reach 151 credits and receive her diploma.

She will have a Bachelor of Science in accounting with a concentration in finance. At IUPUI, accounting majors are encouraged to take two more classes beyond what’s required so they can receive degrees in finance and international studies, too.

“Kelley tries to make it that way, too, so it makes you look better to employers,” Gray said.

Next step

On Sept. 18, she will begin her job as a Staff 1 auditor with Ernst & Young in Indianapolis. The London-based company is known as one of the “Big Four” accounting firms and is popular among IUPUI accounting and finance students.

During Gray’s freshman year, one of her classes visited Ernst & Young. Then as a sophomore, she participated in the Emerging Leaders Program and learned more about the company. That helped her land a three-month internship as a junior.

In March 2016, at the end of the internship, she was offered a full-time job upon graduation.

“I already had my job before I even started my senior year, which was beautiful so I could try and focus on my studies,” she said.

Gray said she became interested in accounting after taking Bonnie Koontz’s class at Trinity. She also has a grandfather, an uncle and an aunt who have worked in accounting.

“They always talked about how accounting was a good field to go into just because everyone always needs an accountant in some way, but at the same time, you do get managing experience and things like that,” she said.

For younger students planning to attend college, Gray encourages them to be involved while focusing on academics. Potential employers prefer well-rounded students, she said.

“If I would have never joined Delta Sigma Pi or any of those organizations, I would have definitely not received my awards, so definitely just put yourself out there because you’re making friends, you’re making great memories and I’ve gotten to know so many of the Kelley faculty,” she said. “College is really what you make it. The time you put into it, you will get the same thing in return.”

With the honors she has received, Gray said she is “blessed beyond measure.”

“I never, ever, ever would have thought I would have gotten all of these awards that I did,” she said. “Everything that I’ve done is just because I want to try and make something better. I don’t do anything for an award just because to me, if I can make an impact in someone else’s life, that’s reward enough for me.”

At a glance

Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis recently announced its top 10 students for 2017.

Listed by name, school, class and hometown, the honorees are:

Maranda Buha, School of Nursing, senior, Novi, Michigan

Mark Daiuto, Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health and School of Science, senior, Greenwood

Elyse Feder, School of Science, junior, Crown Point

Lindsey Gray, Kelley School of Business, senior, Seymour

David Kane, School of Engineering and Technology and School of Science, senior, New Albany

Ariba Khalid, School of Science, senior, Indianapolis

Nicole Lindsay, School of Science, senior, Brownsburg

Kyle McElyea, School of Engineering and Technology, senior, Indianapolis

Casey Sieferman, School of Science, senior, Avon

Jenny Yang, School of Science and School of Liberal Arts, junior, Westfield

The school also announced the winner of the Nelle Godio Most Outstanding Student award. That went to Sarah Grace Fraser, a School of Liberal Arts senior from Knightstown.

Gray file

Name: Lindsey Gray

Age: 22

Hometown: Seymour

Residence: Indianapolis

Education: Trinity Lutheran High School (2013); Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (Bachelor of Science in accounting, finance and international studies, 2017)

Honors: Named a 2017 IUPUI top 10 student; graduated in the top 10 percent of her Kelley School of Business graduating class and graduated with distinction; Delta Sigma Pi’s Regional Collegiate of the Year

Occupation: Joining the staff of Ernst & Young in Indianapolis as a Staff 1 auditor in September

Family: Parents, Scott and Jana Gray; brother, Tyler Gray

Author photo
Zach Spicer is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at zspicer@tribtown.com or 812-523-7080.