Gemological Institute of America graduate Brian Denney, who chose gemology over a medical career two years ago, was recently selected as the 2007 Distance Education and Training Council Outstanding Distance Education Graduate of the Year.
This annual award, presented by the DETC, is given to a GIA student who upholds the highest standards of academic and personal excellence. The DETC is the national accrediting commission that accredits GIA’s Distance Education courses and programs.
“Brian was an ideal candidate this year because not only did he excel in his GIA courses, but he is also very involved in developing his family’s business and spends a lot of his time volunteering in the surrounding community,” said Brook Ellis, the Institute’s vice president of Education.
Denney started GIA’s Graduate Gemologist program in 2005 after he studied microbiology at the University of Illinois in Urbana and spent time in the medical field.
“I worked at a hospital for a year and decided I was a person who was emotionally affected by those around me. I wanted to be in a place where people were happy,” he said. “The jewelry industry is blessed in that the clients are celebrating life and moments, and you are able to be a part of that happiness.”
Denney is a third-generation jeweler who serves as vice president of his family’s business, Denney Jewelers. The 26-year-old recently oversaw the store’s move from a small-town retail space to a 10,000-square-foot, free-standing location in Springfield, Ill. Denney is also a member of the Illinois Jewelry Association Board of Directors and frequently visits local elementary schools to teach children the value of education.