MIDDLEBURY, Vt. – Fourteen Middlebury College undergraduates and the members of five student organizations were honored at the 2018 Student Leadership Awards Ceremony held on May 2 in Atwater Dining Hall.
Interim Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Baishakhi Taylor welcomed the gathering of Middlebury students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community members to the eighth annual event and said the College has a long tradition of honoring undergraduates for their contributions to the campus, the local community, and the world “through leadership in service, creativity and innovation, activism, academic excellence, spiritual and religious engagement, and personal and social responsibility.”
President Laurie L. Patton said the nominees for the evening’s awards “embody the values that Middlebury intends to imbue in its students. You are the manifestation of our mission to be an institution where students not only receive a thoughtful education, but where they also can, and should, become thoughtful world citizens, too.”
The Student Leadership Awards were presented in three categories: Vice President for Student Affairs Awards, Joint Dean of the College and Student Government Association Awards, and Student Government Association Awards.
Vice President for Student Affairs Awards
The Angels Award for a sophomore woman of color who demonstrates leadership, scholarship, and activism was presented to Abigail Escobar ’20 by Jennifer Herrera Condry, the associate director of the Anderson Freeman Resource Center. The award is given in memory of four women of color from the Class of 2003: Anisa Gamble, Tiffany Holmes, Maika Prewitt, and Iniko Johnson.
The Barbara J. Buchanan ’62 Memorial Prize for a senior woman who represents Buchanan’s academic excellence and her ideal of service was presented to Jin Sohn ’18 by Dean Taylor.
The Carri A. Smith ’98 Award for Outstanding Intercommons Council Member, which goes to a student who exemplifies the ideals of the commons system, a passion for the College, and a commitment to student life, was presented to Da Thi Hoang ’20 by Professor Matt Dickerson, the faculty head of Cook Commons.
The Interfaith Cooperation Award of the Charles P. Scott Center for Spiritual and Religious Life was presented to the residents of MOSAIC Interfaith House by Mark Orten, dean of spiritual and religious life. The award recognizes students who actively promote and facilitate interfaith understanding, communication, or programming.
The Religious Life Innovation Award of the Charles P. Scott Center for Spiritual and Religious Life was presented by Chaplain Laurel Macaulay Jordan ’79 to the members of the Newman Catholic Club in recognition of their originality in the development of religious activities on campus.
The Spiritual Life Leadership Award of the Charles P. Scott Center for Spiritual and Religious Life was presented to Josh Goldenberg ’18 and Joanna Balla ’18 by Associate Chaplain Danielle Stillman for advancing the spiritual lives of others on campus and supporting the spiritual journey of peers.
The First-Year Achievement Prize for academic excellence and the ability to relate well to others was presented to John Schurer ’21 by Dean Taylor in recognition of his work with MiddVolunteers, MeetMidd, and the Student Government Association.
The Peter Kohn Service Award goes to a student-athlete who “best exemplifies the spirit of community and service” as demonstrated by the late Peter Kohn, who served as a manager for Middlebury athletics for over 20 years. Presented by Director of Athletics Erin Quinn, the award was given to Maddison Morgan ’18.
President Patton stepped forward to present the Newman Civic Fellows Award, given in memory of the founder of Campus Compact, Frank J. Newman. The award exemplifies Dr. Newman’s passionate advocacy for civic engagement in higher education, and the 2018 honor was extended to Luna Shen ’18.5.
The Alexander Twilight 1823 Diversity and Community Leadership Award was presented to Jade Moses ’20 by Will Kasso Condry, a visiting faculty member. The award honors students for their leadership and determination to effect change within the Middlebury community by transcending boundaries of race, class, and gender.
The Franklin G. Williams 1913 and Sarah H. Williams 1912 Memorial Award was presented to Thandwa Mdluli ’20.5 by Dean Taylor. It is awarded to a sophomore on the basis of natural kindness, perceptivity to the needs of others, and an abiding sense of personal responsibility.
Joint Dean of the College and Student Government Association (SGA) Awards
The Outstanding Campus Leader Award recognizes a junior or senior for innovation, motivation, initiative, and perseverance. Thirteen students were nominated for the honor, and the 2018 recipient was Maria Del Sol Nava ’18 in recognition of her work toward the establishment of the Anderson Freeman Resource Center on campus.
The Extraordinary Emerging Leader Award is presented annually to a first-year or a sophomore for organizing events and activities, and for improving the Middlebury community. Presented by Jin Sohn ’18, the president of SGA, the recipient was Jade Moses ’20 for her role in organizing the campus visit by poet Porsha Olayiwola and the Hair Me Out exhibition in Davis Library.
Student Government Association (SGA) Awards
The Baumgarten ’98 and Udzenija ’99 SGA Memorial Award honors a sophomore who personifies academic achievement, the passion for learning, compassion for others, and involvement in student activities. The recipient was Anthony Turcios ’20 for his love of learning and his compassion and commitment to helping others. The SGA president, Jin Sohn, presented this and the four other SGA-specific awards that followed.
The Extraordinary Initiative Award recognizes an exceptional program, cultural event, guest speaker, or production that is conceived and carried out by a student or students. The 2018 honoree was the program Humanizing the Refugee Experience, which was organized in cooperation with students at Middlebury Union High School.
The Outstanding Leader of a Student Organization Award is presented each year to a student who has brought honor to a student organization through his or her leadership and selflessness. This year’s recipient was Mikayla Hyman ’20 for her leadership of the Refugee Outreach Club.
The Outstanding New Organization Award goes to a newly formed, SGA-recognized campus group that addresses a need or community issue that had not previously been supported. The 2018 recipient was Mixed Kids of Middlebury, for creating a space for mixed-race students on campus.
The Outstanding Overall Achievement Award recognizes one organization for sustained contributions to the campus and student life. This year’s recipient was the International Students Organization for its work toward uniting students on campus and being a “home away from home” for Middlebury’s international students.