Student excellence in academics and service were recognized during Tusculum College’s annual Honors Convocation Thursday, April 24.
The two top honors for student presented by the college are the President’s Award and the Bruce G. Batts Award. The President’s Award was presented to Brody Wells, a senior majoring in mathematics education from New Tazewell, Tenn. At Tusculum College, Wells has made himself known largely through his faith-based activities in the college community. He has organized many events and programs for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and also is involved with the Disciple’s Point church services on campus each Sunday.
He works weekly with a disadvantaged youth through a Big Brother program in Johnson City. Wells also works as a tutor on campus with the tutoring services program offered through Student Support Services. A former member of the Pioneer football squad, he has been on both the South Atlantic Conference Honor Roll and the Tusculum College Athletic Director’s Honor Roll. The Bruce G. Batts Award was presented to Sarah Philipp, a senior majoring in athletic training education from Hendersonville, N.C. Philipp has earned academic honors each semester at Tusculum and was selected to join the Alpha Chi National Society when she was eligible. An active student, Philipp has been a member of the Athletic Training Students’ Society throughout her time at Tusculum and has served in the highest leadership positions for the past two years. She has been a lab assistant in the Athletic Training Program at Tusculum, a student representative on faculty position search teams, and a Red Cross First Aid and CPR instructor.
Philipp is an athletic training peer educator and currently mentors three freshman observation students. She is the first athletic training major at Tusculum College to be selected a Bonner Leader, for whom she co-chairs the Service on Saturday program. Jane Sandusky of the Athletic Training department says of Philipp that she is “an excellent mentor and role model for our younger students” and “works well with all personality types. She strives to see the best in people.”
Also presented were faculty, staff, and community awards whose recipients were selected by a student vote. Receiving the Outstanding Service to Students Award, a faculty honor, was Jeff Lokey of Johnson City, Tenn., an assistant professor of management. In presenting the award, Dr. Drucilla Miller, chairman of the Greene County Partnership, said that Lokey has received evaluation comments from his students that any professor would be happy to receive, including, “His class taught me a lot about the world and America.” “Needs no improvement. One of the best classes I have had at Tusculum.” “I learn more in this professor’s classes than any other.”
Lokey has been a part of the Tusculum faculty for more than 20 years, and in that time he has defined the concept of an “engaged faculty member,” Miller said. He has directed Tusculum’s Commons Program and has served on other faculty governance committees.
The Staff Award was presented to Jill Jones of Greeneville, Tenn., director of academic advising. Jones, as an alumnus of Tusculum who experienced the transition from a traditional calendar to the block system, is well suited to advise students in regards to their academic requirements, said Student Government Association President Duane Randolph in presenting the award. Jones returned to her alma mater as an admission representative before taking the position in academic advising. Randolph said that Jones takes the time to make a difference in the lives of students.
The Community Award for exemplary service to students was presented to prominent Greeneville businessman and philanthropist Scott M. Niswonger. At Tusculum, Niswonger has provided leading support in virtually every major project of recent years and is among the college’s “Benefactors,” meaning those whose lifetime giving has equaled or exceeded $1 million. Niswonger, who holds an undergraduate degree and an honorary doctoral degree from Tusculum College, funded the Niswonger Sports Complex, giving Tusculum some of the best athletics facilities of any small college in the Southeast. He was a key supporter of the recent expansion and renovation of the Library at Tusculum College, and his name is enshrined in the name of the Niswonger Commons, the biggest and most diverse campus building.
Niswonger earned a business degree from Tusculum in 1987. His second degree from Tusculum was an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters presented to him in 2006 in recognition for his outstanding support of Tusculum College through not only extraordinarily generous financial contributions, but also his personal service and expertise as a leading member of the College’s Board of Trustees since 1994. In Greeneville he has given support to many worthy community projects, including building the Niswonger Performing Arts Center, which brings many artistic and educational resources into our community.
Senior Honor Key Awards were presented to students who have earned a 3.25 grade point average or higher in their major, shown achievement and aptitude in the major, and possess strong character. The following are the award recipients and their degree programs:
Athletic Training – Sarah E. Philipp of Hendersonville, N.C.
Biology — Aundrea Gunter of Greeneville, Tenn.
Business Administration – Adam Miller of Hampton, Tenn.
Economics Concentration – Milton Grant, Jr. of Kingston, Jamaica
English — Ashley Douglas of Clinton, Tenn.
Environmental Science — Jason Fortner of Blountville, Tenn.
Field Guide/Naturalist — Ramon Pierce of Morristown, Tenn.
History — M. Duane Randolph of Crossville, Tenn.
Mass Media — Chris Ann Campbell of Clarendon, Jamaica
Medical Pre-Professional – Valerie Mullins of Limestone, Tenn.
Museum Studies — Josh Ashby of Dundee, N.Y., and Sarah Julia Jones of Greeneville, Tenn.
Political Science — Divya Singh of Haryana, India
Pre-Pharmacy – Candace Allwardt of Pembroke Pines, Fla.
Pre-Physical Therapy – Kortney McCalla of Cincinnati, Ohio
Psychology – Elizabeth “Libby” Bell of Cleves, Ohio
Recognized as Honor Students for having the highest grade point average of their class (all have a 4.0 grade point average) were Jeremiah John Peterson of Unicoi, Tenn., Danielle Armstrong of Blountville, Tenn., and Simon Dietrich Holzapfel of Nuernberg, Germany.
Senior members of the Alpha Chi National Honor Society were also recognized. Upperclassmen who are ranked in the top 10 academically of their classmates are invited to join the honor society. Recognized were:
Candace Allwardt of Pembroke Pines, Fla.
Elizabeth Bell of Cleves, Ohio
Judith (Jenna) Breckenridge of Greeneville, Tenn.
Chris-Ann Campbell of Clarendon, Jamaica
Amy Carlson of Newport News, Va.
Leslie Carson of Jonesborough, Tenn.
Rachel Collette of Chuckey, Tenn.
Brandy Gilliam of Lake City, Tenn.
Bronwyn Hartley of Del Bonita, Alberta, Canada
Stacy Landers of Afton, Tenn.
Ryan Lewis of Greeneville, Tenn.
Dustin Morrow of Lexington, Ky.
Valerie Mullins of Limestone, Tenn.
Sarah Philipp of Hendersonville, N.C.
Sonya Ramsey of Greeneville, Tenn.
Alexis Rowles of Simpsonville, S.C.
Divya Singh of Haryana, India
Kimberly Wilcox of Chuckey, Tenn.
Tamara Wynn of Hendersonville, Tenn.
The Alpha Chi Academic Excellence Award presented to the highest academically ranked member of the junior class was given to Jeremiah Johnson of Unicoi, Tenn.The Honors Program Award was presented to Divya Singh of Haryana, India, who is the first graduate of the Honors Program of which she has taken a leadership role in addition to her many other service activities and contributions to the Tusculum community.
The Dr. Shirley Beck Award for an outstanding Master of Arts in Education major was presented to Tracy Whitney
The Outstanding Education Student Award was presented to Alexis Rowles of Simpsonville, S.C.
The David Behan Award for outstanding Bachelor of Science in Organizational Management major was presented to John Craft of Greeneville, Tenn. Presenter Dr. Geir Bergvin, the director Tusculum’s School of Business, noted that Craft had entered the program for personal fulfillment, but quickly learned what he was learning could help him professionally as well. An excellent student, Craft has balanced his academics with his career as a fireman in the Greeneville Fire Department, his family responsibilities, and his leadership role in the Greeneville Firemen’s Association.
The E.H. Sargent Award in Science was presented to Sharad Mani of Manchester, Tenn. In choosing the recipient, science faculty members consider overall grade point average, total hours in science and variety of areas covered in the sciences.
The Doug Ratledge Environmental Science Scholarship, which is presented to an outstanding Environmental Science or Field Guide/Naturalist major, was given to Lacey Coile of Greeneville, Tenn.
The Warren Lynn Drain Award was presented to Joshua Hinkle of Mohseim, Tenn. A graduating senior determined most outstanding in Business and Economics is presented the award and GPA and achievement are the criteria for the choice of recipient.
Two Theatre Arts Awards were presented. Heather Dalton of Parrottsville, Tenn., who had roles in both Theatre-at-Tusculum productions this academic year and has been involved in the theater throughout her time at Tusculum. Brian Ricker of Greeneville, Tenn., was also presented the award. Ricker also had lead roles in the two productions this year and has starred in productions since high school.
Emory Cain of Cleveland, Ga., received the TAHPERD (Tennessee Association Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance) Outstanding Major Award. The award winner is also recognized at the association’s annual convention.
Nicole Ferris of Lebanon, Ohio, was presented the NASPE (National Association for Sport and Physical Education) Award. The award winner is also recognized at the national convention.
The Pinnacle Award for highest scores on annual comprehensive examinations taken by athletic training education majors was presented to Jason S. Seaton of Midway, Tenn.
The Service-Learning Award was awarded to David Salinas of Brownsville, Texas. Salinas was part of a group of Tusculum students who went alternative spring break trip to New Orleans to help in the hurricane relief and rebuilding effort. Salinas was so impacted by the experience that he stayed an additional week on his own to help in the effort. During the fall 2007 semester, he re-arranged his class schedule to be able to take a Service-Learning Immersion course that included a trip to New Orleans. Before going on the trip, Salinas was not only a student in the class but also a teacher of his fellow classmates as he shared about the conditions they would find in the city.
The Bonner Leaders Program Award was presented to Jeremiah Peterson of Unicoi, Tenn. Peterson was part of a Service-Learning class trip to Belize in spring 2007, and returned to Belize during the 2007 fall semester break to meet with school and business officials about Tusculum forming a partnership with the small village of San Jose. Peterson returned to Belize in April with another Service-Learning class, completing further research into the business and educational conditions and issues for the village. He is now completing an analysis and business plan for the sugar cane processing industry in San Jose.