Lorena Djuknic is always smiling, always friendly, always positive and always promoting the tennis program in particular and Lipscomb University in general.
She never seems to have a bad day.
So it is no surprise that she is serving this academic year as one of 24 students on Lipscomb’s Presidential Ambassador Council.
“It is a huge honor to be selected as a part of the inaugural class of the Lipscomb Presidential Ambassador Council and to work together with my peers in representing Lipscomb University throughout Nashville,” Djuknic said.
Djuknic, a junior from Zagreb, Croatia, is also a standout in the classroom with a 3.87 GPA in Corporate Marketing.
She was nominated for the council by her tennis coach, Jamie Aid.
“She is a person that has always believed in me,” Djuknic said. “I'm thankful that she has recognized my potential.”
The ambassadors met for a retreat earlier this semester at Winshape Retreat Center in Rome, Georgia.
Dr. L. Randolph and Mrs. Lowry were engaged throughout the weekend with the students and led sessions to teach and grow the students as leaders. Also meeting with the group were Keela Smith and Dr. Jeff Fincher.
The goals of the program are to promote the positive image of Lipscomb University by engaging a diverse group of student leaders to represent the Office of the President and Lipscomb University at designated events and related activities. A Leadership Development aspect is also being incorporated where the students will be engaged with many Nashville community members in hopes for them to become more informed and connected to the surrounding community leaders.
Aid stresses the importance of both the Lipscomb community and the city of Nashville to her players.
“We talk to our players about the blessing it is to be a college athlete and what a blessing it is to be an athlete in the community here at Lipscomb,” Aid said. “Our last home practice of the season we took the girls on a jog around campus and pointed out the community and the people that make us able to play the game of tennis.
“To be successful in our program you have to love our community. Lorena loves our community. She a student who recognizes all those that support behind the scenes by delivering thank you notes around campus to professors and administrators. She understands what it means to be a `student-athlete’ by making a 4.0 in season. She understands that being involved in other activities on campus is good.”
The Presidential Ambassador Council has been created to foster growth in leadership, University relations, and experiential learning through a variety of exclusive events and experiences. It is a one-of-a-kind leadership development opportunity that is assembled for the first time at Lipscomb University.
Originally 200 students were nominated by faculty and/or staff members. From that group 64 were invited to a formal dinner at the home of the Lowrys. Djuknic was unable to attend the dinner because she was part of the first ever Lippy Awards program for athletics which was the same night.
“I was given a formal application in which I had to name two people as references,” Djuknic said. “I chose my head tennis coach, Jamie Aid, and my mentor, Turney Stevens, dean emeritus of the College of Business at Lipscomb.”
Aid expects great things from Djuknic while she is on the Lipscomb campus, but she also sees a bright future ahead after she completes her degree.
“All of our girls have different gifts besides their talent of tennis,” Aid said. “Part of our job as coaches is helping our student-athletes uncover those gifts. Lorena has the gifts to connect with people, to lead and to be humbled. All of these will make her a great university ambassador.
“She is a wonderful girl as are all of our girls. I have no doubt when Lorena graduates she will have made it better and I have no doubt that she will always be involved. We are blessed to have students here at Lipscomb that enhance our community. Lorena is one of many that enhance our community.”
Djuknic was required to write two 300-word essays. One was on the subject “Why do you want to be a Presidential Ambassador including what experiences at Lipscomb University have prepared or inspired you to be a part of this program? The second was “What has defined your experience at Lipscomb University? How has Lipscomb played a part in defining you?”
Djuknic returned to Croatia in May following the end of the spring semester. She was informed through email that she was chosen to be one of the 24 students that will be representing Lipscomb University on a city level in 2014-2015.
“I was given a choice to accept the invitation, but without a blink of an eye I knew in my heart that this is the right choice for me,” Djuknic said. “I'm blessed to be given an opportunity to give back to our Lipscomb!
“This position is giving me an extraordinary opportunity to enhance my professional skills. I will have the opportunity to learn from people who are working in important positions and have gained a huge amount of experience in a work place that will help prepare me for a better future.”
April Terry and D.A. Lowery from the track and field teams are also ambassadors. Stories about each one of them will be posted later.