Looking back on his four-year Alma College experience, Michael Reeves appreciated the challenges as much as the successes.
“Coming into Alma, I thought I had everything figured,” says Reeves. “I knew how the world worked, and I was going to change the world — the world was not going to change me. Through my years at Alma College, I realized that in order to change the world, I must start with myself.
Reeves, the 2014 recipient of the Barlow Trophy, Alma College’s most prestigious award for a graduating senior, acknowledges that the experiences at Alma that best prepared him to be successful were the struggles.
“Whenever a class was difficult or challenging, I learned that I needed to work harder and to not be too proud to ask for help,” he says. “I know a few of my professors were tired of seeing me in their offices so often, but I needed to be there in order to succeed.
“Whenever I had too much on my plate, I needed to decide when to persevere and when it was time to stop an activity. I learned that it is much better to try everything, and then focus on the activities I loved most. I would rather be great at a few activities and put forth my full effort, than to be mediocre at all activities or not live up to my full potential.
“I also learned that friends and confidants are some of the most important items in life. I could never have accomplished what I have here without the support of my friends, family, and mentors. I wish that I had more time to thank people for what they have done for me.”
Reeves, a native of Lisle, Ill., participated in numerous extracurricular activities during his four years at Alma while pursuing a degree in elementary education. He was active in the performing arts, campus residence life, admissions recruitment and the local Alma community.
He was voted Alma’s homecoming king in fall 2013 and served as an officer in Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, the national music fraternity, and Kappa Delta Pi, the international education honorary. Passionate about music, Reeves was a member of the Kiltie Wind and Jazz ensembles as well as the College Chorale and Alma Choir.
His community involvement included volunteering as a coach for the local Alma Tigers Special Olympics Basketball Program. Additional campus activities included playing one year of varsity football and three years of intramural basketball. He also was active with Youth for Christ, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Alma College Chapel ministries.
The Barlow Award, which is voted on by Student Congress and faculty members, is presented to a graduating student in the top 10 percent of the senior class who has made incredible contributions to both the campus and the community.