Lipsey was chosen from a field of 21 honors program graduates. Each student completed a rigorous honors curriculum, including 26 credits of honors courses, international study and a senior honors thesis or creative project.
Lipsey is a member of the honorary societies Alpha Chi, Omicron Delta Kappa (a national leadership honor society), and Delta Mu Delta (an international honors society in business). Having shown a commitment to service to the honors program, she was vice president during her junior year and president during her senior year of Epsilon Mu Sigma. During that time, she helped organize numerous events, service projects and fund raisers, most notably the sending of teams of students to area high schools to give presentations to students about the honors program.
Lipsey also is an accomplished student-athlete achieving, among other things, the all-conference designation seven times in the pole vault, for which she holds the MSSU school record, and is currently ranked No. 2 among all NCAA Division-II vaulters. She has performed community service mentoring children in Joplin at God's Resort and regularly volunteered with the Special Olympics.
Melanie Cox is memorialized
The award is named for Melanie Cox who entered the honors program as a freshman in 1999 after having graduated as valedictorian from Joplin High School. In 2003 she graduated from Missouri Southern as the Outstanding Honors Graduate, completing her degree in elementary education. She taught fourth grade at Pick Elementary School at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.
Cox's life tragically ended in a one-car accident outside of Rolla in early 2004. Teachers, friends and family from all over the region came to her memorial. She was described as "a person who encouraged others and gave a life of service."