Students presented research, exhibited artwork, and performed in music recitals during the annual Honors Day Symposium on the PC campus on April 19.
“We’re not a research institution, and we know that,” said PC President Bob Staton, “but research is a critical part of a liberal arts education.
“The research, the study, the grappling with problems is part of the skills that we hope to impart on each student. We instill in our students critical thinking skills, communication skills, problem-solving skills, and a thirst for learning. You could see that today.”
All in all, nearly 80 students showed those in attendance during Honors Day the work that they’ve invested their time and effort in. Fifty-four students presented research in Neville Hall throughout the day. They covered topics as diverse as senior Kelty Fletcher’s “The role of SCFAs of the Gut Microbiota in Autism Spectrum Disorders” to senior Joseph Kovas’s “Rediscovering the Heritage of the Methodist Class Meeting in the Twenty-first Century.”
Eighteen more students presented posters of their research in Neville Hall. Like the research presentations, the posters spanned a range of topics in the natural sciences and humanities.
Research gave way to the arts at 2:30 p.m. on Honors Day. The artwork of senior art majors Ruth Boggs and Kaitlynn Campbell was featured in the Harper Center. At the same time, six music majors performed during a recital in Edmunds Hall.
A Ceremony Honoring Academic Achievement
PC faculty, students, and guests filed into Belk Auditorium for Honors Day Convocation at 4:15 p.m.
Professor of Art Ralph Paquin, Jr., spoke about the value of art as he delivered this year’s Convocation Address, noting that the arts are “alive and kicking at Presbyterian College.”
Paquin also read a Korean folktale called “The Mole and the Muerik,” one that he read to his children when they were younger. In the story, a small mole realizes that he has as much value as the Muerik, the large stone statue that guards the community.
“One of the coolest things about the story,” Paquin said, “is that both words and pictures are used to describe the journey of understanding one’s own power and determination.
“As small as you might feel in this wacky world we’re in, we’re all as powerful as the tiny mole.”
Faculty and Student Award Recipients
Professors in academic regalia and seniors in the academic dress they’ll wear next month during Commencement were recognized for their accomplishments over the past academic year.
“We recognize and celebrate the hard work, character, and aptitude of faculty and students in the pursuit of academics, service, and leadership,” Provost Don Raber said. “What you’ve seen throughout the day and the cumulative efforts displayed by those receiving awards this afternoon make this a genuine Honors Day.”
2018 Professor of the Year
Dr. Michael O. Rischbieter, professor of biology, received the 2018 Professor of the Year award. Each year a faculty member at Presbyterian College is designated “Professor of the Year.” Faculty members are nominated for this award by the Sigma Kappa Alpha Honor Society or by the faculty. The recipient is then selected by a committee composed of representatives of the faculty and the student body. This professor will deliver a commencement address to the Presbyterian College community on Saturday, May 12, 2018.
Robert H. Freymeyer Award for Meritorious Scholarship
Dr. Chad Rodekohr received the Robert H. Freymeyer Award for Meritorious Scholarship, given annually to a full-time faculty member for distinguished work in research, scholarship or artistic creation. It may be awarded either for a single accomplishment or for a body of work. The recipient is selected by a panel of six faculty representing all academic divisions in the College of Arts and Sciences and faculty in the School of Pharmacy.
Janie Englemann Miles received the Outstanding Senior of the Class of 2018 Award, presented by Presbyterian College to the member of the graduating class who by his or her conduct and character, physical fitness, and academic ability most nearly approximates the institution’s ideals.
Joseph O. Nixon Leadership Award
James Conrad Fore and Kendall Rebecca McDill received the Joseph O. Nixon Leadership Award. The award was established in 2002 on the occasion of the retirement, and in honor, of Joseph O. Nixon, Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students Emeritus at Presbyterian College. The recipient of this award is selected by the Student Life Council. The award is presented to a graduating senior who, over the course of his or her Presbyterian College education, has demonstrated superior leadership on behalf of the college community.
Creative Writing Award
Elena Anastasia Gunter received the Creative Writing Award, presented annually for a work of fiction, poetry, or creative nonfiction, or a dramatic script for stage or screen. The recipient is selected by a panel of faculty from the Creative Writing, English, and Theater programs.
American Legion Awards
Julia Alena Law and Joseph Daniel Kovas received the 2017-2018 American Legion Awards. These awards are presented to a male and female student in the graduating class in recognition of the qualities of honor, courage, scholarship, leadership, and service that they exemplify.
Jack and Jane Presseau Community Service Award
Bardin Thomas Davis received the 2018 Jack and Jane Presseau Community Service Award, given annually to a senior who has demonstrated an outstanding level of Christian service through volunteer service projects.
Outstanding Senior Departmental Awards
Many academic departments have selected their most outstanding graduating senior or student. The selections are based primarily on academic performance, but also on service to the department and College. The outstanding seniors and their respective departments are as follows:
- Cortney Ann Storey, Accounting
- Kaitlynn Elizabeth Campbell, Art
- Hayden Christopher Caraway, Biochemistry
- Austin James Priaulx, Biology
- Jonathan William Turnley, Chemistry
- Sarah Ann Yoss, Christian Education
- Zachary Mayne Cooper, Computer Science
- Phoebe Hayden Jones, Creative Writing
- Anna Brielle Cooke, Economics
- Cassie Mantle Kemmerlin, Education
- Elizabeth Ann Fowler, English
- Elizabeth Ann Fowler, French
- Jon William Walker II, History
- Madison Elisabeth Corthell, International Studies
- Katherine Elizabeth Bishop, Management
- Robert Webb McAbee, Jr., Mathematics
- Emlynn Lee Shoemaker, Music
- Jonathan William Turnley, Physics
- Alexandra Adele Price, Political Science
- Stephanie Amanda Wilson, Psychology
- Joseph Daniel Kovas, Religion
- Kaysie Grace Tulanian, Sociology
- Bryce Grason Karlek, Theatre
The President Emeritus Dr. Kenneth B. Orr Memorial Endowment
Honors Day also marked the official announcement of the President Emeritus Dr. Kenneth B. Orr Faculty Research Fellowship, to be funded by the Memorial Endowment. Orr served as president of PC for eighteen years, from 1979-1997.
The Fellowship will be awarded each year at Honors Day to a qualified faculty member in the College of Arts & Sciences, selected to receive a stipend of $5,000 for a research project to enhance her/his classroom teaching for the benefit of students here at PC. This stipend, to be awarded for the first time at next year’s Honors Convocation, will further ensure Dr. Orr’s intent to enhance the academic excellence of the college experience at PC. Orr’s legacy fits well the current and future strategic plan underlined in the Promise of PC campaign now underway.