Student excellence in academics and service were recognized during Tusculum College’s annual Honors Convocation Thursday, April 23.
The two top honors for students presented by the College are the President’s Award and the Bruce G. Batts Award. Nicole Ferris was presented the President’s Award and Jeremiah Peterson was presented the Bruce G. Batts Award.
Nicole Ferris of Lebanon, Ohio, was presented the President’s Award, one of the two top honors given to students by Tusculum College. The award is given to a graduating senior who has contributed the most to the College and who been the most outstanding achiever in the combined areas of academic work, athletics, campus leadership and personality. The selection is made on the basis of the student’s total four-year record at the College.
Ferris, who was unable to attend the ceremony, has excelled academically, athletically and has shown tremendous dedication to service and community. In her four years at Tusculum College she has been named an ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American, a South Atlantic Conference Scholar Athlete, named to the Daktronics All-Southeast Region Second Team, the All South Atlantic Conference Second Team and is a three-time ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District player. She has been named Most Valuable Player and has served as team captain.
The graduating senior is a member of the Alpha Chi National Honor Society, has been four years named to the Athletic Director’s Honor Roll, was Tennessee Association of Health, Physical Recreation and Dance Student of the Year, has been named numerous times to the Tusculum College Dean’s List and President’s list, was the National Association for Sport and Physical Education Major of the Year for Tusculum College and was named to the Charles Oliver Grey Honors List.
Active on campus, Ferris was president of the Physical Education and Sport Studies Club, a member of Fellowship of Christian Athletes and is a volunteer coach for the local YMCA Youth Rotary Soccer League. She is a student tutor and has participated each year in service projects for Nettie Day at Tusculum College. She has been a student-teaching assistant for Physical Education and a volunteer at local elementary schools. In addition, she has served as an intern in the Tusculum College Sports Information Office.
Jeremiah Peterson of Unicoi, Tenn., was presented the Bruce G. Batts Award. The award is presented to a graduating student who has demonstrated a high degree of the qualities of the late Bruce Batts, who helped mold the current Civic Arts program at Tusculum College. Those qualities include consistent civility in dealing with others, a high level of scholarship and careful thinking and a strong pattern of service to others.
In presenting the award, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Kim Estep noted that Peterson, a business administration major with dual concentrations in accounting and economics, “is known for his intellectual capabilities in the classroom, boasting a 4.0 GPA, and giving heart within the community.”
A highly regarded student leader, Peterson’s campus involvements have included the
Bonner Leaders Program, Student Tutor for Business and Writing, Arts, and Academia Selection Committee, Alpha Chi, and the Business Club.
Estep shared that when Peterson was asked about his point of inspiration for working hard, he quickly credited relationships and having people to count on as well as being held accountable by those individuals. “Tusculum has been richly rewarded by the giving and benevolence of this talented young man,” she said. “Jeremiah will stake his claim in the world as a dedicated and hard working individual with the capacity to give more than he ever wants to receive. For this alone, his destiny will be one of rich reward.”
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 Leslie Hanneken, an assistant professor of physical education.
In presenting the award, Randy Harrell, president of the Greene County Partnership, said that Hanneken has been described as a “gift to students. A nurturing and supportive educator, counselor and mentor, she has worked diligently to raise the quality of work from her students across all levels. She is admired and respected by her students for her genuine interest in their success, but is a firm believer in accountability in all students. In her two years with the College, she has worked for and with her students in numerous ways, including service projects with the local schools and other community activities that give back, while giving her students an opportunity to practice their classroom-learned skills. She is dedicated, caring, supportive and loved and admired by her students.”
The Staff Award was presented to Elizabeth Davison a counselor in the Student Support Services program, who also teaches in both the traditional and working adult programs. “She is known for always greeting students with a warm smile and also goes the extra mile to help students reach their potential,” said Peterson, who presented the award. “Elizabeth is 100 percent committed and her students.”
The Community Award for exemplary service to students was presented to prominent Greeneville businessman and philanthropist Scott M. Niswonger. In presenting the award student Zach Smith, who is from Niswonger’s native Ohio, noted that Niswonger, a 1987 graduate of Tusculum College, is a leader in philanthropy across the region and the country and has faithfully supported Tusculum College both financially and with the investment of his time in providing leadership and guidance at the highest levels as a respected member of the Board of Trustees.
“His investment into education is unparalleled, and students at Tusculum College, past, present and future are impacted by his choice to support the College, its mission, and in particular its students,” Smith said. “With his support, students have access to some of the best academic, residential and athletic facilities in the nation. He led the efforts to revitalize both the student center and the library, to push forward the construction of the student apartments, and his generosity led to the construction of the finest sports facilities in the South Atlantic Conference and beyond.”
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:
Art – Caitlin Castainca of Greeneville, Tenn.
Athletic Training – Ryan Guillot of Laplace, La.
Biology – Tonya Justice of Lake City, Tenn.
Business Administration — Chase Carroll of Knoxville, Tenn., and Chanaine
Hunter of Kingston, Jamaica
Education (Human Growth and Learning) – Heather Craft of Batavia, Ohio
English – Amanda Kyker of Telford, Tenn.
Environmental Science – Lacey Coile of Greeneville, Tenn.
Film and Broadcasting – Cody Jennings of Greeneville, Tenn.
Mathematics Education – Susanne Sisco of Fairfield, Ohio
Mathematics/Computer Science – Bryan Thiry of Winchester, Ky.
Museum Studies – A. Burke Greear of Kingsport, Tenn.
Physical Education K-12 – Kevin Hammons of Jonesborough, Tenn.
Psychology – Kimberly Coapstick of Merritt Island, Fla.
Sport Management – John Gregory of Ooltewah, Tenn.
Sport Science – Anne Brady and Norris, Tenn.
Recognized as Honor Students for having the highest grade point average of their class (all have a 4.0 grade point average) were:
senior – Jeremiah John Peterson of Unicoi, Tenn.
junior – Simon Holzapfel of Nuernberg, Germany
sophomores – Danielle Armstrong of Blountville, Tenn., Faith Bases of Greeneville, Tenn. and Nicole Vance of Elizabethton, Tenn.
freshmen – Brian Cory Cox of Radford, Va.; Jennifer Lawson of Knoxville, Tenn.; Derek Murrell of Bulls Gap, Tenn.; and Benjamin Sneyd of Erwin, Tenn.
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:
Hunter Beal of Heiskell, Tenn.
Kimberly Coapstick of Merritt Island, Fla.
Heather Craft of Batavia, Ohio
Nicole Ferris of Lebanon, Ohio
Brian Hayes of Afton, Tenn.
Joni Hite of Chuckey, Tenn.
Darren Hobbs of Dublin, Ohio
Chanaine Hunter of Kingston, Jamaica
Andrea Joyner of Fall Branch, Tenn.
Amanda Kyker of Telford, Tenn.
Heather MacArthur of Salt Lake City, Utah
Sharad P. Mani of Manchester, Tenn.
Jarrell Dupree Nesmith of Russellville, Ala.
Jeremiah John Peterson of Unicoi, Tenn.
Christina Denise Sane of Parrottsville, Tenn.
Bryan Adam Thiry of Winchester, Ky.
The Alpha Chi Academic Excellence Award presented to the highest academically ranked member of the junior class was given to Nikita Stephens of Chuckey.
Students who were chosen for the Curtis and Billie Owens Literary Prizes were honored. Students submit original, creative works in the annual writing competition, which were judged this year by award-winning author Kellie Wells. The winners were poetry – David Roncskevitz of Franklin,Tenn.; fiction – Amanda Harmon of Greenville, Ala.; and creative non-fiction – Amanda Clampitt of Jefferson City, Tenn.
The Dr. Shirley Beck Award for an outstanding Master of Arts in Education major was presented to Karen Holweg of Morristown, Tenn.
The Outstanding Education Student Award was presented to Shelley Howell of Sevierville, Tenn.
The E.H. Sargent Award in Science was presented to Jarrell Nesmith of Russellville, Ala. 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 Rachel Burchnell of Greeneville, Tenn.
The Warren Lynn Drain Award was presented to Jeremiah Peterson of Unicoi, 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.
The Theatre Award was given to Jabari Bunch of Stone Mountain, Ga., for his participation and dedication to the theater program at Tusculum College. Bunch has worked behind the scenes as part of the stage crew for productions this year and has one of the leads in Theatre-at-Tusculum’s current production, “Dogg’s Hamlet.”
Anna Johnson of Jonesborough, Tenn. 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.
Hunter Beal of Heiskell 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 Erica Pomona of Spartanburg, S.C.
The Service-Learning Award was awarded to Randi Williams of Jonesborough, Tenn.. As part of a service-learning class in the fall, Williams developed a self-esteem building curriculum for girls at the Greeneville YMCA. She also traveled to a suburb of Atlanta to work in an educational project in a Hispanic Church. Her experiences inspired to her to take another service-learning class in the spring.
The Bonner Leaders Program Award was presented to Boazin Katina of Charlottesville, Va., for his high level of commitment to the Bonners program, of personal integrity and character and of dedication to serving others whether on the Tusculum campus or in the community.
Katina, a native of the Congo, has been named a grant winner from the Bonner Foundation that will allow him to travel to Belize this summer to work in schools there. He will be co-president next year of the Bonners Leaders and has coordinated its “Service on Saturday” program for the past two years. Katina was selected this spring to present a workshop about the Service on Saturday program at the IMPACT Conference in Washington, D.C., a National Student Conference on Service, Advocacy and Social Action.