2011 Commencement awards| May 16, 2011
Several awards are presented annually to graduates, staff and faculty members during the William & Mary Commencement ceremony. Below is a list of the awards that were presented during this year's ceremony on May 15. - Ed.
The Lord Botetourt Medal, established in 1772 “for the honor and encouragement of literary merit,” was presented to Ronald Wilcox ‘11. Wilcox graduated with honors in physics and a 4.0 GPA. Based on his research at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider at Brookhaven National Laboratory, he was named a finalist in the 2010 National Science & Energy Research Challenge Competition and a bronze medalist in the 2010 International University Physics Competition.
While recognizing Wilcox, President Taylor Reveley also praised two other members of the Class of 2011 who also earned 4.0 GPAs: Larisa Marie Converse, Emily Christine Cunningham, and Cameron Wells Glenn.
The James Frederic Carr Memorial Cup, which is presented annually to the graduating senior "who best combines the qualities of character, scholarship and leadership," was given to Samanthe Tiver ’11. Tiver was a leader in the Student Environmental Action Coalition, and Branch Out, which provides opportunities for students to work for social justice and become active citizens through the process of mutual service in collaboration with communities outside the United States.
Her senior honors research on the economic dimensions of managing non-profit organizations was judged by her professors to be an outstanding and potentially policy-changing work of scholarship.
Edward D. Maris-Wolf, of Richmond, Va., received the Thatcher Prize for Excellence in Graduate and Professional Study from the College of William & Mary at Commencement exercises May 15. Wolf, who received a Ph.D. in history, was among more than 1,900 graduates who received undergraduate and graduate degrees.
The Thatcher Prize was created in honor of the College’s 21st Chancellor, Margaret the Lady Thatcher. It is awarded annually in recognition of outstanding accomplishment in graduate or professional school study. Selection is made based on scholarship, leadership, service and character.
Wolf’s research on the conditions, responses and relationships of free Afro-Virginians in the mid-nineteenth century spans cultures, counties and continents. He has also taught as an adjunct at four institutions while finishing his degree, leaving “a trail of goodwill” and receiving “superlative evaluations” at each school.
Associate Professor of Computer Science John Kearns and Chancellor Professor of Business Administration Larry Ring were named recipients of the 2011 Thomas Ashley Graves, Jr. Award.
The Graves Award is given annually in recognition of sustained excellence in teaching to honor Graves, who retired in 1985 after nearly 14 years as president of the College of William and Mary. The award was established by a group of his friends. The recipient of the award is chosen by the president of the College from nominations submitted by each of the academic deans.
Kearns believes in involving students in all aspects of his research. All but one of his many articles published in scientific journals has been co-authored, the vast majority with his students. He has directed more than 20 senior honor theses and doctoral dissertations combined, more than any other faculty member in the department. Kearns previously served as the systems administrator for the entire departmental computer system, five years at the departmental chair, and is the longtime chair of the Educational Policy Committee and guardian of academic standards.
In 1985, Ring was recruited by the business school to create an Executive MBA program. Less than six months after his arrival, the program was successfully launched. Ring is renowned for inspiring students to challenge themselves through his case teaching, and his faculty colleagues often sit in on his classes to observe his methods. Ring has been a leader in curriculum innovation at the Mason School of Business and his Career Acceleration Modules are one of the reasons students to choose to study business at William & Mary. He holds a Ph.D. from Purdue University.
This year's Algernon Sydney Sullivan student awards, which are given to two members of the graduating class, were presented to Lauren Edmonds ’11 and John Pothen ‘11.
The award recipients are chosen based on their "heart, mind and helpfulness to others."
Edmonds was “the face of environmental sustainability at William & Mary, said William & Mary President Taylor Reveley. As a freshman, she helped lead the campaign to create the College’s “green fee,” which supports sustainability initiatives on campus. During the rest of her college career, Edmonds served on the Committee on Sustainability, co-chairing the science and technology advisory subcommittee.
“Since 2008, William & Mary has had a meteoric rise in national sustainability rankings,” said Reveley. “Lauren has been a vital force behind this rise. She is ‘simply awe-inspiring,’ in the words of one of her nominators.”
Pothen was known on campus for his work on the undergraduate honor council. He also was highly involved in the Student Organization for Medical Outreach and Sustainability (SOMOS), travelling to the Dominican Republic each January to help with a free health clinic. He also returned to the country during the last two summers to conduct research on community health needs. Next year, Pothen will travel to India where, thanks to a Fulbright fellowship, he will work with the Comprehensive Rural Health Project before pursuing a combined M.D, and Ph. D. in sociology.
“As one of his nominators attests, ‘There simply is no question that John is committed to . . . pioneering grand—and sustainable—solutions to critical problems of health and health care,” said Reveley.
Pamela Garrette is this year's recipient of the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award for a person with close ties to the College. Garrette was unable to attend the Commencement ceremony, so the award will be presented to her at another time.
Garrette worked at the Career Center for 30 years before retiring earlier this year.
“As the recruiting coordinator, she ensured a warm, welcoming, well organized environment for the Career Center’s teeming constituencies,” William & Mary President Taylor Reveley said. “One recruiter said, ‘I tell people at other colleges that if they want to know how a recruitment program ought to run, talk to Pam Garrette at William & Mary.’”
Though now retired, Garrette still helps out at the career center when assistance is needed.
“She has been described as ‘a shining light among even the most outstanding staff members.’ We salute her today, with great appreciation,” said Reveley.