WC Comes Together at Convocation

By Elijah McGuire-Berk
Web Editor

It’s a new semester and what better way to kick it off than with Fall Convocation?  This year the annual event took place on Thursday, Sept. 1 in Decker Theatre.
Convocation started with an academic procession with college faculty entering the auditorium.  Following that was an invocation from Rev. Todd William Kissam from St. Luke’s Parish in Church Hill, MD.
WACapella performed the  national anthem before Washington College President Shelia Bair officially welcomed everyone.  Bair mourned the loss of two professors, music Professor Emeritus Garry Clarke and Professor Emeritus of English Bennett Lamond.  Bair said, “The Washington College community has lost two of its most treasured teachers….I regret that I did not have a chance to work with either of these

Brenna Nan Schneider
Brenna Nan Schneider is the founder and CEO of a sporting apparel manufacturer.

teaching giants, but I know how much they meant to so many of our alumni.”  She honored them with a moment of silence.  She congratulated the College on a successful year and said, “Since assuming the presidency of Washington College last August, I’ve been struck again and again by the dedication of our faculty and staff, the amazing talents of our undergraduates, and the affection of our alumni for our alma mater.”
Next to speak was Student Government Association President Taylor Frey.  He said, “We all must challenge ourselves to live the values of the institution in all aspects of our lives.”  He described how a new year at the College is another chance to do something great. “I hope we can make this year one of the best.”
The Chair of the Board of Visitors and Governors, H. Lawrence Culp Junior, welcomed the class of 2020 to WC.  Culp said, “George Washington must have stood very, very tall in his day.  Our founding patron was elected and then, four years later, re-elected unanimously.”  He noted that many freshmen are going to be able to vote for the first time in this election. “George Washington may not be on the ballot but please vote.” Voting was a right that many people had died for, Culp said. “The world awaits.And awaits all of our students.  Our role… is to help prepare for that first job, to help you prepare for that career.”
The Alumni Class Giving Awards were next.  Presented by Bair, this series of awards are given to classes who have already graduated in recognition of their fundraising efforts.
The first of these prizes was the Golden Goose, awarded to the class with the most generous alumni in both amount raised and class participation.  The winners were the classes of 2011 and 2015.
The Victory Bell Trophy, given to the class that has graduated in the last decade and has given the largest gift to the College, was awarded to the Class of 2011.  The William Smith Trophy was awarded to the Class of 1968.
The next award was The Chesapeake Trophy, given to the most generous class that has passed its 50th anniversary.  The winner was the Class of 1947.  The class had a combined giving-total of $1,050,510. The Class of 1968 received the George Washington Trophy for being the most generous class that hasn’t celebrated it’s 50th anniversary.
Arian Ravanbacksh, Class of 1989 and the chair of the Alumni Board, announced  the Horizon Ribbon Awards. These awards recognize alumni of the past 15 years who have demonstrated exceptional leadership, service, or scholarship in their areas of expertise.  This year, the honors were awarded to Brenna Nan Schneider, Class of 2006, and Jessica Emmanuel Spotswood, Class of 2002.
Schneider majored in International Studies, and  won the George Washington Medal and is the founder and CEO of 99 Degrees Custom, a sports apparel manufacturer.  She was unable to make it to the ceremony due to a last minute emergency.  She will be celebrated as the winner at next year’s convocation.
Spotswood majored in English and drama and minored in creative writing.  She is the author of the YA trilogy “The Cahill Witch Chronicles” and recently edited the book “A Tyranny of Petticoats: 15 stories of Belles, Bank Robbers, & Other Badass Girls.”
Next, the president of the College’s Phi Beta Kappa Society and Associate Professor of Psychology Lauren M. Littlefield took the stage.  She presented the Phi Beta Kappa First-Year Awards for Excellence in Liberal Learning.  While the society only officially inducts members in their last senior semester, this award was to sophomores who had an exceptional GPA during their freshmen years.  It was given to 10 different students: Rose Adelizzi, Rachel Bailey, Courtney Colbert, Amanda Gabriel, Kelsey McNaul, Patrick O’Neal, Julia Portmann, Rachel Treglia, Collin Vincent, and Hannah Wampler.

Jessica Emmanuel Spotswood
Jessica Emmanuel Spotswood is the author of a YA trilogy .

Provost and Dean of the College Emily Chamlee-Wright presented the next set of awards.  First Year Scholarship Medals went to Rose Adelizzi, Courtney Colbert, Amanda Gabriel, Carija Shankari Akul Nanshan, Kelsey McNaul, Patrick O’Neil, Julia Portmann, Collin Vincent, and Hannah Wampler.
The Alumni Medal was given to Anna Gjersten, Vasad Genka, and Yui Chin.
The Visitors and Governors Medal went to the junior with the highest GPA of their year.  The winners were Anna Elizabeth Sarah and Alexandra T. Kurtz.
The Interfraternity PanHellenic Council Awards given to the fraternity and sorority with the best scholastic average of the previous year.  The winning sorority was Alpha Chi Omega and the Theta Chi fratertinty.
The Middendorf Scholars award, given to rising seniors who demonstrate excellence and leadership qualities.  The four winners were Elizabeth Davis, Taylor Frey, Alexandra Kurtz, and Erika Koontz.
The final award was for the Middendorf Environmental Studies Scholarship which is a more specific version of the previous award.  It was given to Emily Castle.
After all the awards, Bair returned to introduce the ceremony’s special speaker.  Brian L. Scott, the chair of the Department of Economics and Adrian Reed, associate professor of Environmental Science and Studies gave the convocation address.
Scott proceeded to tell his story about how he got to where he is today.  He told two stories titled “Bravery” and “Ignorance,” calling them, “my two closest allies in achieving my most cherished goal.
One of his stories was about how he used to be a banker before he went to graduate school, and although he was in a good position at the bank, he wanted to become a professor.  He said, “If you had told me how much harder grad school would’ve been over being a banker, I probably wouldn’t have done it.”  He also spoke about running in the Chicago Marathon.  Even though he trained for it, he didn’t realize how hard it would be until the 22nd mile.  Although he wanted to quit, he kept going because his keys were in a locker across the finish line.
To wrap up the ceremony, Shelia Bair gave a short speech followed by WACapella singing the Alma Mater and Rev. Kissan performing a closing benediction.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.