Campus Life

3 Graduating Seniors Receive Top Student Awards From Texas A&M

Top students win the Brown-Rudder Award and the Gates-Muller Awards, which include a $5,000 prize.
By Keith Randall, Texas A&M University Division of Marketing & Communications May 17, 2019

During recent commencement ceremonies, Texas A&M University presented its top student awards — recognizing outstanding accomplishments in academics, leadership and service by graduating seniors — to Amy Sharp of Spring, Karissa Yamaguchi of Phoenix, Ariz., and Justin Macmanus of Harlingen.

Each student’s identity was kept confidential until the spring commencement ceremonies, during which they received their diplomas.

Brown Foundation-Earl Rudder Memorial Outstanding Student Awards, which include cash gifts of $5,000 each, were presented to Sharp and Yamaguchi. The award honors top students who exemplify the leadership and related traits of the late Gen. Earl Rudder, a World War II hero who served as president of Texas A&M from 1959 until his death in 1970.

The Robert Gates-Muller Family Outstanding Student Award, which also includes a $5,000 gift, was presented to Macmanus.

The award was established through a gift from the Muller family of Galveston to provide public recognition to the outstanding seniors graduating from Texas A&M who have demonstrated those qualities of leadership, patriotism and courage exemplified by Robert M. Gates. He served as president of the university from 2002 until 2006, when he was named U.S. Secretary of Defense.

Sharp, a business honors major, has previously won the Buck Weirus Spirit Award and a Maroon and White Leadership Award. She served as Class of 2019 student body president and her classmates cited her “tireless advocacy of her constituency’s needs,” and added that she “gracefully and courageously navigates through challenging situations.”  Other citations mention her character, humility, her willingness to put others first and her improvements to Texas A&M’s Title IX policy.

Yamaguchi, the second Brown-Rudder Award winner, is a genetics major and University Honors Student, an undergraduate Research Ambassador and an undergraduate Leadership Scholar.  She has been recognized as an Outstanding Sophomore and Outstanding Junior for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and also as a Gathright Scholar.

She was named to the U.S. Archery Collegiate Academic All-American team from 2016-2018.  Her classmates cite her dedication to medical missions, her ability to raise awareness of injustices and her desire to “inspire belief” of those around her.

The Gates-Muller awardee, Macmanus is a biological and agricultural engineering major, an Honors Student, a Ross Volunteer and 1st Brigade Major Unit Commander in the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets.

He was selected as the Corps of Cadets’ Outstanding Academic Freshman and is a six-time holder of the Corps of Cadets Distinguished Student Award.  He performs regular service work at St. Mary’s Catholic Church and his classmates often refer to his ability “to be cool and calm when the situation is the toughest.” Another citation refers to his “authentic approach to life in college, including the joys and sorrows that give him a unique perspective on life and leadership.”

Media contact: Keith Randall, 979-845-4644,

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