By Lea Shores
Staff reporter

Kaydee Johnson, business administration senior, has this piece of advice for present and future Builders.

“As my golf coach, Brad Sexson, frequently says, ‘Don’t be scared.’ He typically says this in reference to a golf related matter but it is true for life at SC,” said Johnson.

Over her four years as a student at Southwestern, it seems Johnson is anything but scared. A four-year member of the women’s golf team, an active member of the Leadership team, senior class president, an SC Ambassador, volunteer, and a student, she was recently the recipient of this year’s KCAC NAIA Dr. Leroy Walker Champions of Character Award.

“When I heard that I had received the KCAC nomination for the national Champions of Character award I was completely honored,” she said. “I thought of all of the athletes on campus and that I have competed against who are so deserving. I just hope that I have represented them well.”

Caitlin McCurdy, psychology junior, has worked with Johnson through the Leadership team and SGA. She agrees that Johnson is deserving of this nomination. “As a Champion of Character, Kaydee truly embodies the five characteristics—respect, sportsmanship, servant leadership, responsibility, and integrity. She cares for those around her, both on and off the course, and she also puts others before herself. As an athlete, so many people look up to her, and she earns the same respect that she gives out,” said McCurdy.

A Winfield native, Johnson will graduate in May with a major in business administration and a minor in leadership studies. After graduation, she is going on the Leadership trip to Europe and will return home to start her position as Assistant Director of the William Newton Healthcare Foundation.

“I have changed a lot in the four years I have spent here at SC, my view on the world has changed significantly. My ambitions post-undergrad degree have changed immensely. After serving as an intern at multiple non-profit organizations, it became quite clear to me that I had to find a career that was altruistic and that was fulfilling beyond pay grade,” she said.

Johnson’s leadership skills shine through in all areas of her life. McCurdy said, “She is a true friend to everyone that she meets in every aspect of life. Her strength as a student athlete is her determination to succeed. She sets goals and puts forth the effort to meet her own expectations, whether it’s on the course or in the classroom and this is what makes her a leader.”

While Johnson has many accomplishments to be quite proud of, she admits to growing through the mistakes she made along the way and suggests others do the same. She said, “Don’t live timidly.  You have a safety net beneath you now, so jump. Plan a project, take that internship, build a network and trust that even if you occasionally fall you’ve learned something valuable from the experience. If nothing else, you might master the art of gracefully face planting. I have.”

Lea Shores is a senior majoring in English. You may e-mail her at