A graduate student at Utah State University has been awarded the Beta Alpha Psi Medal of Inspiration Award.
Lucien Butler was presented with the award on Friday at the Beta Alpha Psi Annual Meeting in Atlanta, GA. Sponsored by the American Institute of CPAs, the award is bestowed upon a student who has experienced extreme hardships in his or her life and who has demonstrated an unusually high level of success despite that adversity. The award includes a $5,000 cash stipend.
From a very young age, Butler was prevented from receiving an education and was required to work at home. His situation was not discovered until he was 14, at which point a court order was issued that finally allowed him to attend school.
Once in school, Butler was substantially behind his peers and struggled to grasp academic concepts. However, through hard work with his teachers and taking extra classes, he was able to overcome these challenges.
“One of the great things school did for me was it opened my eyes to what the world was like,” said Butler. “I started to understand that the only way I was going to make something of myself would be through education.”
Eventually at 16, he left the unfortunate and difficult situation at home. He began living with the Butler family, who had volunteered to take him in until he finished high school, and ultimately adopted him.
After graduating high school, Butler joined the National Guard and went on combat missions in Afghanistan. For his service, he was awarded the Honor of the Purple Heart, an award that commemorates the sacrifices of America's servicemen and servicewomen who were wounded in battle.
“Lucien faced substantial obstacles in his early life that he overcame because of his hard work and perseverance,” said Margaret Fiorentino, Beta Alpha Psi Executive Director. “His impressive record of service to his country and commitment to his community speak volumes about his character. I am confident he will continue to impress and inspire those around him in his career in the accounting profession.”
After completing his National Guard service, Butler acquired an accounting degree at Utah State University. While at USU, he worked with Grant Thornton on a tax internship and performed volunteer work in his Beta Alpha Psi chapter and in the community, all the while excelling in the classroom.
Butler is currently a Master of Accounting candidate at Utah State University where he holds a 3.9 GPA. He is also the incoming vice president for the USU Delta Omega Chapter of Beta Alpha Psi.