From Marines to top scholar

Christopher Hickey, a former Eatonville High School student whose service in the military took him around the world and earned him commendations for heroism in combat, now is proving his mettle on the academic front. Hickey is among the 46 students in Western Michigan University's 6,067-member senior class this to be named a 2015 Presidential Scholar. The highest honor the university can bestow on an undergraduate, the award goes to the most outstanding seniors in each of the academic schools, departments and specialty programs, and is based on students' excellence in their majors and their intellectual and artistic promise. Hickey was chosen in history. He is majoring in history with a focus on mid-19th century American history, minoring in Latin, and expects to graduate in May. Following graduation, Hickey said he plans to work in the justice system and attend graduate school. He said his mentor and advisor, James Cousins, director of undergraduate programs for the history department, taught him how to see history through the hearts and minds of those who make it. For his college thesis, Hickey is focusing on why some men in a given society go to war and others do not, and in particular, he is examining Michigan college students during the Civil War. A sixth-generation Marine, Hickey was deployed around the world and has received several military accolades. They include an award for service in the Iraq war, as well as a Commendation Medal for heroism that helped save lives of fellow sservicemen after a 1999 helicopter crash. He is a member of the Marine Corps League, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the First Marine Division Association, and Phi Alpha Theta. He has volunteered with Habitat for Humanity, Project Canine, the Veteran Affairs Hospital in Battle Creek, Mich., and the Special Olympics of Southern California and Michigan. Hickey said he enjoys spending time with his Labrador retriever. When younger, the dog entertained Marines headed for Afghanistan and now brings smiles to elderly, disabled veterans and troubled kids in Kalamazoo, the city where Western Michigan University is located. Hickey graduated from Eatonville High School and later attended the U.S. Marine Corps Staff Non-commissioned Officer Academy. All of Western Michigan's Presidential Scholars were formally recognized during a ceremony on the campus March 19.


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