Washington Birthday Convocation honors faculty, students, alumni

By Cecilia Cress
News Co-Editor

Washington College’s annual Birthday Convocation ceremony took place on Feb. 25 in Decker Auditorium, where members of the College community gathered to honor and award exemplary students, staff, faculty, and alumni.

At the beginning of the ceremony, President of the College Dr. Michael Sosulski welcomed attendees and thanked them for being a part of this event, describing it as a “long-standing and important tradition” at WC. 

President of the Student Government Association senior Kat DeSantis opened the event with greetings and reflected upon her last four years at the College:

“I’m grateful for the opportunities I’ve had here over my past four years, grateful for the chance to learn so much both in and out of the classroom, grateful for the chance to form friendships that I know will be lifelong,” DeSantis said. “It’s bittersweet to finish my tenure as SGA president, sad as I say goodbye to a special team, but sweet as I know I’m leaving the College in really good hands.”

Chair of the Board of Visitors and Governors Stephen Golding spoke words of encouragement to the College community, commending faculty, staff, and students for their strength in the face of hardship.

“Today’s award winners represent how the College stood strong despite the never-ending challenges presented over the last few years,” Golding said. “It is an honor to be here today to highlight the examples of extraordinary service that made this community stronger.”

Golding also acknowledged and remembered Libby Cater, who served as the College’s First Lady from 1982 to 1990.

“Libby was not only a celebrated figure locally, but she was also a nationally recognized advocate for women’s equality,” Golding said. “Her story [and] groundbreaking career in public service is a shining example…She will be missed and her contribution to our community will always be remembered.”

10 faculty, staff, and alumni were honored with awards during the convocation ceremony.

Coordinator of Secondary Education Erin Counihan received the Cromwell Award for Innovation in Teaching, an award given to “instructors who have a particularly powerful impact on student learning, student readiness, and student retention,” according to Interim Provost and Dean of the College Dr. Michael Harvey. 

Director of Client Support and Technical Services Robert Bishop is one of five recipients of the Joseph L. Holt Distinguished Service Award. Bishop was honored with this award for his “extraordinary commitment to providing outstanding customer service and technology support to the college community,” according to President Sosulski.

Other recipients of the award include Director of Advancement Services and Strategy Marc Dykeman for being “an essential member of the College Advancement leadership team;” Assistant Director of Advancement Services Josephine Hawn for her many years of dedicated service to WC, Associate Dean of Faculty and Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science Dr. Shaun Ramsey for his “commitment to making WC a better place” through his collaborations with colleagues and “willingness to step into leadership positions at critical moments for the College;” and Executive Assistant to the Provost and Dean Jennifer Schultz for her “caring leadership” in her position at the College, according to President Sosulski. 

Chair of the Alumni Board Suzanne Hughes ’91 presented the two recipients of the Alumni Service Award: Lois Ireland ’84 and Arian Ravanbakhsh ’89. 

“The alumni who received this award have provided outstanding and continued support of the College,” Hughes said. “Their selfless commitment of time and talent has been augmented by their willingness to enhance the financial welfare of the College.”

The Alumni Horizon Ribbon Award, an award given to “an alumnus of the last 15 years who has demonstrated outstanding scholarship, leadership, or service through their career or through an area of interest,” according to the convocation pamphlet.

This year’s award recipient is Mollie Binotto ’07 for her career accomplishments following her graduation from the College.

This year’s President’s Medal Award, “given to an individual or organization with an exemplary record of sustained and acknowledged contribution to the quality of life in Chestertown, Kent County, and WC,” was awarded to registered Kent County Health Department nurse Charlene Perry for her founding of the Kent County Health Care Emergency Response Coalition.

Students invited to join the academic honor society, Phi Beta Kappa, were also honored during the convocation ceremony. These students are: seniors Nathaniel Braddock, Analiese Bush, Jillian Curran, Melissa Defrancesco, Katharine DeSantis, Katherine Desrosiers, Teresa Draves, Stephanie Fleming, Teddy Friedline, Anna Hall, Samuel Hamilton, Skyler Hancock, Elizabeth Hay, Emily Hurley, Sarah Kelly, Madison Krivda, Wenhuan Li, Austen Markus, Tegan McBride, Maggie Moore, Alaina Perdon, Kitri Post, Erica Quinones, Kyle Rufo, Noah Smith, and James Williams. 

“It truly is a distinct honor to be an institution to host a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa. [It is] wonderful to see this terrific achievement on the part of our students,” President Sosulski said in closing.

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