Brad Eston Named McKendree University's 2023-2024 Student Laureate

Brad Eston receives the Abraham Lincoln Civic Engagement Award(LEBANON, Ill., November 9, 2023) – Brad Eston, a senior from Quincy, Ill., was recently named this year’s recipient of the Abraham Lincoln Civic Engagement Award and Student Laureate of the Lincoln Academy of Illinois. This is the state’s highest student honor for leadership, service and excellence in curricular and extracurricular activities, and it is awarded to a noteworthy senior from each college and university. Eston and other top students in the state were honored with this award by The Lincoln Academy of Illinois on Saturday, Nov. 4 in Springfield, Ill.

Eston is a music education major (instrumental emphasis – euphonium) and plans to become a band director with the goal of giving students a way to express themselves and also educating them about musicians who are people of color. He has performed with the concert band, wind ensemble, jazz ensemble, McKendree Spirit Band, concert choir and chamber choir on campus, and he was chosen as the most outstanding brass musician at McKendree’s annual honors recital in 2020 and 2021. He has been elected by his peers to serve as president of the McKendree chapter of the National Association for Music Education. He has demonstrated significant leadership skills organizing fundraisers, bringing in guest speakers and helping each year to plan the trip to the all-state music conference.

Beyond the classroom, Eston has served as a resident assistant, a New Student Orientation leader, a student ambassador and an assistant for the McKendree junior high band camp. Additionally, he has served as a brass technician for the marching band at Collinsville High School and has worked with bands at Edwardsville High Schools and Coolidge Junior High School. The students he has worked with have called him compassionate, inspiring, and a real role model for young musicians.

Eston has been described as a highly devoted student, a tremendous source of support and guidance, and a natural leader who fosters others by creating a community and atmosphere that encourages comradery, beneficence, accountability and respect. His professors have noted that his intelligence, attitude, and infectious charm make him a joy to be around, and even when the work is difficult, he pitches in with a smile and thoughtful word or gesture for those around him. He is also a Golden Apple Scholar, which is a scholarship and program for future educators to help support and create exceptional educators at McKendree.

“Brad will be one of the finest music educators McKendree has placed into the field,” said Dr. Jennifer Moder-Bell, associate professor of music education at McKendree University. “He is extremely driven and passionate about music education, and we are all very proud of his growth, dedication, and hard work.”

Eston’s community service includes serving as a New Student Orientation leader, giving time at local assisted living facilities, and serving as a food can bagger for Alpha Delta Sigma. He is also a member of the St. Louis Academy Brass Band.