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 13. - Ed.
The Lord Botetourt Medal, established in 1772 “for the honor and encouragement of literary merit,” was presented to Rebecca Koenig. Koenig, a history and English double major, graduated with a near-perfect grade point average and membership in Phi Beta Kappa.
An aspiring journalist, Koenig spent a summer in Washington, D.C., chronicling the everyday lives of ordinary people. Her series of non-fiction essays became the foundation of her senior honors thesis, “Playing in the Big Leagues,” which was judged by one professor as “among the very best things I’ve ever read by an undergraduate.” She also worked as a reporter in the Washington, D.C., area with Connection Newspapers and Scripps Howard Foundation Wire.
Koenig will continue her studies at Northwestern University.
The James Frederic Carr Memorial Cup, presented annually to the graduating senior “who best combines the qualities of character, scholarship and leadership,” was given to Ksenijua Kapetanovic. Kapetanovic graduated with honors in neuroscience, having successfully completed a senior thesis on the neurological effects and treatment of early exposure to mercury.
Outside the classroom, Kapetanovic was a leader for the Branch Out regional alternative breaks program and served as president of William & Mary’s chapter of Circle K International.
She is described by fellow students as a quiet leader who “will have a heart-to-heart with you when you need it” and who possesses “a humble spirit infused with courage and dry wit.” Kapetanovic is the 2012 recipient of the Woman of Year award by the Ladies of Alpha, a secret society on campus.
The Thatcher Prize, awarded to Jeffrey Bozman, 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.
Even before he began his studies at the William & Mary School of Law, Bozman was recognized as a person of outstanding quality and promise. He recently completed four years of service as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps, including a tour in Iraq, and he volunteered with the Law School’s Veterans’ Benefits Clinic during the summer prior to his matriculation.
The dean of the law school described Bozman as “an extraordinary leader — smart, humble, easy with praise for his peers, responsible.” His fellow students, too, held Bozman in high regard, as evidenced by his election to the highly prestigious role of editor-in-chief of the William and Mary Law Review.
The Sullivan Award was arranged by the New York Southern Society to perpetuate the memory of Algernon Sydney Sullivan. In the selection of recipients, nothing is considered except characteristics of heart, mind and helpfulness to others. This year, the student winners are Jennifer Lynn Quigley and Andrew Bradley Gardner.
As a pre-med student with a major in Hispanic Studies and a minor in biochemistry, Quigley integrated her academic studies with her dedication to helping others. While studying abroad in Ecuador last spring, Quigley volunteered at a free public health clinic, cleaning and sterilizing rooms and equipment, setting up operating rooms, and assisting patients. She later worked with the Christian non-profit group CrossLink International to provide supplies to medical mission teams and mission hospitals.
She is a member of the Alpha Phi Omega coed service fraternity, and served as a cooking shift leader for William and Mary’s Campus Kitchen, a food assistance program for low-income residents in the Williamsburg area. She is an active member of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and was the Catholic Campus Chapel’s coordinator of ecumenical programming.
As the first Griffin mascot for the College, Gardner spent the past two years dodging questions from friends regarding his absence from sporting events he once attended. Never wanting his own identity to overshadow the Griffin’s, Gardner chose to remain anonymous until just before graduation.
Gardner plans on pursuing a graduate degree in religion from Wake Forest School of Divinity.
Clay Clemens, chancellor professor of government, is one of the best-known and most beloved members of the William & Mary faculty. A 1980 graduate of the College and a member of the faculty since 1986, Clemens teaches with passion, expertise, creativity, wit and humor, according to his students who also note his ability as an advisor.
"Majors and non-majors alike flock to his classes, knowing they will come away enriched by the experience," said President Taylor Reveley.
But Clemens' distinguishing characteristic, Reveley said, is the extent to which he knows his students. He is a fixture at student events on campus, attending a cappella performances, judging the Mr. William & Mary “pageant,” or supporting student organizers at the Yule Log Ceremony each December. He has also headed major committees, including the vice-president for student affairs search committee and, most recently, the president’s honor system review committee.
In the last 20 years, more than half of the graduating classes have chosen him as the sole faculty member to address them at the candlelight ceremony on the eve of their Commencement.
The Thomas Ashley Graves, Jr. Award is named for the 23rd president of the College and recognizes sustained excellence in teaching. The recipient of the award is selected annually by the president of the College from nominations submitted by each of the academic deans. This year’s recipient is Nancy Gray, a professor of women’s studies and English.
According to her colleagues, Gray has been a driving force for women’s studies. Due to her work -- which has included serving as the director of women's studies, curriculum chair and designer of many new courses on gender, sexuality, representation and narrative -- the curricula in both women’s studies and in English have been expanded.
According to her award citation, Gray's emphasis is on a "process-driven pedagogy" -- something that has earned her high praise from students.
"Moving students from passive consumers of knowledge to independent thinkers defines her teaching philosophy," the citation said. "Professor Gray creates a learning environment that is personally supportive of students while addressing different learning styles through close mentoring and innovative teaching strategies."
During the Commencement ceremony, President Taylor Reveley praised Gray's teaching ability.
"Nancy is known as a true role model, inspiring and empowering students by endowing them with valuable intellectual tools, passion, and the imagination needed to live meaningful lives and to become responsible, compassionate, citizens of the world," he said.