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Fairfield University Senior Receives 2020 Miracle Network Dance Marathon Distinguished Leadership Award

From the thousands of graduating seniors who have participated in Miracle Network Dance Marathon at the approximately 300 colleges and universities across the U.S. and Canada, 25 students were selected to receive the 2020 Miracle Network Dance Marathon Distinguished Leadership Award for making an exceptional impact within their Dance Marathon program, on their individual campus and for their local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital. To see all of this year’s recipients, click here

Hometown: Keller, Texas

Degree(s): Bachelor of Science with minors in Accounting and French

Dance Marathon Involvement:

The University of Oklahoma (Freshman Year): One of few freshmen to be selected to be on the executive team. I was a part of the Operations Committee and a major voice in my sorority (AChiO) to encourage involvement.

Fairfield University (Sophomore – Senior Year): Founder of Stagathon, Fairfield University’s official Miracle Network Dance Marathon DM, September 2017. I served as the Executive Director with 10 Chairs for the first Stagathon, Co-Executive Director (while abroad in France Fall semester) for the second Stagathon, and now I am the External director overseeing 4 Chairs for this year’s Stagathon (spent last year training this year’s Executive Director).

Campus/Community Involvement:

The University of Oklahoma: 1 of 5 freshmen to hold an Executive role in The Big Event (city-wide day of community service); Habitat for Humanity and a leader of “Build a Shack” Habitat event; Alpha Chi Omega: on Dad’s Day, Mom’s Day, Social, Homecoming, and Philanthropy Committees; Spark (leadership development program); French Club; Relay For Life Participant

Fairfield University: Big Brothers Big Sisters, Big Sister; Service Club: coordinated event “Food For All” with non-profit Food Rescue US; LEAF 2017-2018 (environmental club); French Club 2017-2019; Best Buddies 2017-2019; Relay For Life, Participant 2017-2020; One of the first participants in COMPASS: Intensive Leadership & Organizational Practices Workshop; Student in Service Learning Course: weekly service at Person to Person (Community agency that provides basic goods and services for those in need)

Lillian and Lucas the Stag at Stagathon 2019.


The University of Oklahoma: Panhellenic Shoutout for extensive campus involvement; Deans List: Fall 2016, Spring 2017

Fairfield University: Dean’s List: Spring 2018; Stagathon was Awarded 2018 New Club of The Year; One of the first participants in Fairfield U COMPASS: Intensive Leadership & Organizational Practices Workshop; Nominated for St. Ignatius Loyola Medal (Senior Award – highest honor each year by Fairfield University. The award recognizes a senior who has maximized opportunities for emotional, social, and intellectual growth throughout their undergraduate career and truly exemplifies the spirit of a Catholic, Jesuit education); Nominated Student Achievement Award (Senior who have shown exceptional dedication to, enhancement of, and/or creation of a specific Fairfield University program, activity, organization, or project which has had a significant and positive impact on the larger Fairfield University campus community)

Post-Graduation Plans: I plan to graduate in the Spring of 2020 and then continue my studies to pursue an MBA with a focus in Global Management in the Fall of 2020 at Fairfield University. I hope to enter the finance sector of the business world and continue exploring my passions of philanthropy, travel, and tackling challenging projects. I have a goal of being a lifelong learner, I always wish to be accelerating and bettering myself whether it be through academic, career-related, or personal advancement. My primary career goal is to be in a position that will allow me to grow from encounters and experiences with people of different cultures and perspectives. No matter the sector of the business world I enter into, I want to continue this personal advancement by learning from those around me. I hope to lead a life of enrichment by constantly seeking out new knowledge, experiences, and people.

Lillian and Stagathon members dancing with a Miracle Child, Emilie, in 2018.

Why do you, personally, participate in Dance Marathon?

My experience with Soonerthon my first year was inspired by the desire to be involved in a philanthropy that benefitted children and the University (Soonerthon is the biggest/most popular org on campus). I grew up helping my mom in her Pre-K3 classroom and being the proudest Aunt there was starting in 5th grade. I’ve always found the joy in children to be contagious and the exact thing this world needs more of. My experience with Soonerthon ended up being far greater and far more important than I had ever thought it would be. My first year being involved in Dance Marathon solidified my life’s passion for being with and helping people. Dance Marathon is all about standing for something bigger than yourself, it is a commitment and dedication to creating a better world for someone else. That is my Why. I do Dance Marathon because I have the ability to help someone else, why would I not? Especially to help children, the very people that show us the wonders of life. Hearing Miracle Children tell their excruciating journeys then seeing them 5 minutes later make an entire room smile or laugh, of course we want to give them everything (or at least the chance to everything). I participate because it is my honor and my duty to do so.

Lillian with her parents at Stagathon 2019.

How has Dance Marathon impacted you as a student leader? What specific skills have you developed during your involvement?

Stagathon has been the most challenging and rewarding experience I’ve had. The skills I’ve gained from being involved in Dance Marathon are endless; especially because it is constantly growing and exposing me to new challenges I’ve never faced.As a leader, I’ve had the privilege of working with 4 years worth of different Executive Team dynamics that have each taught me something different about myself, these Universities, and our society. I have learned patience, true dedication, and how to handle frustration from creating something from the ground up with limited resources. I experienced the importance of humility, compassion, and joy from my interactions with CMN Hospitals, CMN Hospitals advisors and Miracle Families. I gained practical business operation and networking skills that will help me in my career. I have found my true passion for helping, meeting and interacting with people from all walks of life. As a leader, I am constantly exposed to the ideas and perceptions of everyone I work with (student, faculty, or otherwise) and I believe because I’ve had this wonderful opportunity to learn from those around me, that I am an overall better person. I am a better student, friend and leader as a result of learning from those around me.

What personal accomplishment/contribution are you most proud of from your involvement in Dance Marathon?

It has been an incredible experience seeing the event grow in every aspect each year. We’ve seen growth in the Executive Structure (chairs have committees now), fundraising levels (from $10,000 to $25,000), Miracle Family attendance (3 our first year, 7 last year), and participant numbers. Each year I have noticed more and more interest in Stagathon; and as we recruit and plan, we also see that it is becoming a part of campus culture. Reflecting on the start of posting on social media to encourage people to apply for Chair positions(for something some had never heard of), as a new student from Texas without any connections at the school, to now hearing fellow classmates talk about Stagathon is incredibly humbling. The University is starting to make Stagathon a part of its tradition and is fulfilling our biggest hope is to grow each year. I am proud to have created a new annual tradition at this school that unites the campus under a cause that is so important to everyone. I am sad to say goodbye but it has been an absolute honor to see the program as a whole, the people involved in it, and this campus grow.

Why should students get involved with Miracle Network Dance Marathon on their campus?

College is a time of extreme change and development, a place of endless opportunity and constant activity. I have found myself and my passion because of the decisions, good and bad, that I have made during these short 4 years. I can’t think of a better way to start this time of building the person you want to be in life than by starting that process with something so humbling and important. Dance Marathon is an opportunity to unite with your friends, peers and community, to be active in a cause and mission bigger than your own, to learn from other people’s experiences, to make a difference in people’s lives. Students will learn how to be leaders on campus (whether they are on Exec or not), will learn how to dedicate themselves to something without the expectation of reward, and how to a person for people. Not only this, but Dance Marathon can help students, as it helped me, develop social, networking and business skills that will carry into future career endeavors. Students should get involved in Dance Marathon because it exposes them to development within career-related, philanthropic, social and other aspects of life.

Lillian at Stagathon 2019 with miracle kid, Sebastian.

Why should people donate to their local Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals?

Donating to local Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals ensures children and families in their community are receiving the treatment and care they need. Donating to local CMN Hospitals is one of the best ways to help others in one’s community and to support the future of our communities. Children are the future and they depend on us around them to provide them with everything that will help them grow. One thing I’ve learned as I have been involved in Dance Marathon is that everyone has a connection to children’s hospitals. Whether it is a family member, friend, or neighbor we all have some sort of connection with someone impacted or helped by a Children’s Hospital. CMN Hospitals works to help EVERY child no matter the circumstance, helping CMN Hospitals fulfill that mission is one of the best ways to help one’s community.

Lillian and the Stagathon Executive Board after the total reveal.

Miracle Network Dance Marathon is an international movement, involving over 400 colleges, universities and K-12 schools across North America that fundraise for their local Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. These students work tirelessly throughout the year to raise funds one dollar at a time by making the ask to family and friends. Their hard work culminates in a 6-40 hour celebration on their campus, where participants have the opportunity to rally together as a community for their local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital. Students involved in Dance Marathon gain valuable skills in fundraising, peer management, delegation and philanthropy. Miracle Network Dance Marathon programs have collectively raised more than $300 million since 1991.

Learn more about Miracle Network Dance Marathon:

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