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 12. - Ed.
Brian Anthony Rabe graduated on Sunday with a bachelor's in both biology and chemistry, membership in Phi Beta Kappa and an overall 4.0 GPA. According to the citation announcing his recognition, he maintained a perfect GPA despite an incredibly demanding course load, including honors chemistry and honors biology. Indicative of his impressive scholarship, he recently received a prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship, which is rarely awarded before a student enters a doctoral program.
To honor his skill and work ethic, Rabe was presented the Lord Botetourt Medal.
The Lord Botetourt Medal was established in 1772 “for the honor and encouragement of literary merit.” In contemporary times, it has been given to the graduating senior who has attained the greatest distinction in scholarship.
Described as a “once-in-a-career” student by one nominating faculty member, Rabe demonstrated remarkable intellectual grasp and an ability to quickly master complex aspects of research. “In short, he ranks as the strongest overall student — academically and otherwise — that I have known in my 40-plus years at William & Mary,” wrote one of Rabe’s faculty nominators.
In the spring of his freshman year, Rabe joined the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Freshman Research Program in the biology department. By the end of the semester, he was making major contributions to a project on characterizing the pattern of neurotransmitter receptors in the developing vertebrate brain. Rabe has presented research at several national and regional meetings, including the Society for Developmental Biology’s annual meeting, where he won an award for the best undergraduate poster. He also has co-authored a number of papers published in peer-reviewed journals.
During the course of his William & Mary career, Rabe garnered several academic accolades. He was the 2013 recipient of the Thomas Jefferson Prize in Natural Philosophy. In 2012, he was named one of William & Mary’s three Goldwater Scholars, as well as one of the university’s two Beckman Scholars. Despite carrying a full load of academic classes, Rabe dedicated as much time to his lab work as most doctoral students with research assistantships, according to one of his professors.
Rabe’s kindness and willingness to mentor other students also left a positive mark at William & Mary.
“He is helpful, giving and a wonderful lab citizen,” one professor noted.
Rabe was involved in a variety of extracurricular and volunteer activities, in addition to serving as an exemplary undergraduate teaching assistant and a resident assistant.
Michael William Schilling embodies what it means to be a William & Mary student, steadfast in character, scholarship and leadership. Schilling, a Monroe Scholar who graduated Sunday with a bachelor’s in both linguistics and mathematics, carried within himself the spirit of willingness to sacrifice and give oneself to a cause. For all of those reasons, he was the 2013 James Frederic Carr Memorial Cup recipient.
Schilling received his degree with highest honors, having successfully defended his linguistics honors thesis on code-switching in South Africa. As a mathematics major, he undertook both quantitative and qualitative analysis of his research data, surveying and interviewing more than 80 people at the University of Cape Town. The result was a multi-method study that answered his research question from three different angles. He used the quantitative data to produce his final Monroe Project on how language ability can affect attitudes about characteristics and aspects of a person’s life.
His dedication to scholarship is evident in his academic transcript. He has been on the Dean’s List nearly every semester. He was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa in the winter.
Described as compassionate, considerate, open, understanding and always helpful by those who nominated him, Schilling joined the Residence Life staff as a resident assistant in 2010, and served as head resident at Ludwell.
He was recognized for several of his dorm initiatives. He volunteered with the William & Mary Safe Zone Program, served as a peer scholarship adviser for the Charles Center and represented undergraduate students on the eight-member search committee for the new William & Mary Dean of Students.
He was honored by the Student Assembly with the 2013 Ewell Award for outstanding leadership on campus and in the community. He was inducted into Omicron Delta Kappa national leadership honor society, Pi Mu Epsilon national mathematics honor society, Phi Sigma Pi student honor fraternity and Mortar Board.
According to the citation read at graduation, Samuel Joseph Lake's blend of scholarship, character, leadership and service made him a rising star in the field of marine ecology long before he defended his dissertation in April 2013. He made outstanding contributions to every facet of the three-pronged mission of William & Mary’s Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) — research, education and advisory service.
In recognition of those contributions and accomplishments, he was presented with the Thatcher Prize for Excellence in Graduate and Professional Study.
The Thatcher Prize was created in 2000 in honor of the 21st Chancellor of William & Mary, Margaret, The Lady Thatcher, who died this past April 8. The winner is selected on the basis of scholarship, leadership, character and service.
A marine ecologist, Lake's supporters said that he is dedicated to the balance between traditional field work and cutting-edge computer modeling. His doctoral research was described by his adviser as “extremely comprehensive, interdisciplinary and novel,” focusing on the pressing issue of coastal hypoxia (low oxygen) and its academic and societal implications. One chapter of his dissertation has been published, and another is under review by leading journals. His work has been showcased at numerous national and regional conferences.
Supporters say that Lake’s passion as a scientist also involves teaching. He won rave reviews for his service twice as a teaching assistant for a field-intensive course taken by all new VIMS students. For two years, he was awarded a prestigious GK-12 fellowship to teach high school in Yorktown, and emerged as a leader and role model for other fellows. His students achieved a 99-percent pass rate on the Earth Science Standards of Learning exam.
Lake also became an ambassador for VIMS, serving as a mentor for teachers at a NASA Langley workshop to enhance STEM education. With other fellows, Lake implemented a “Draw the Scientist” program, tracking students’ perceptions of scientists. The program has been featured at national conferences and by the media.
He served as treasurer of the VIMS Graduate Association, president of the Sail and Paddle Club, and on committees of the international Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation and the Atlantic Estuarine Research Society. He was a frequent participant in the annual VIMS Marine Science Day.
No stranger to awards, in 2012, Lake was honored with the John M. and Marilyn Zeigler Student Achievement Award.
Two distinguished professors were named recipients of the 2013 Thomas Ashley Graves, Jr., Award for sustained excellence in teaching on Sunday: Mathematics Professor Lawrence Leemis and the School of Education’s Megan Tschannen-Moran.
The Graves 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.
Leemis teaches and works in the area of operations research, a highly interdisciplinary field involving the design and application of advanced analytical methods to support decision-making. His undergraduate students in lower- and upper-division courses in the Department of Mathematics regularly award high marks for his passion and effectiveness in the classroom. At the graduate level in the Computational Operations Research Program, housed in the Computer Science Department, an appreciable percentage of students are William & Mary graduates who were inspired by Leemis to remain and continue their studies in operations research.
Four former students and two department chairs joined in nominating Leemis, attesting to the enduring value of his teaching excellence over the past 30 years.
One former student noted, “He easily conveys his passion and knowledge for probability, reliability, and simulations and has an extraordinary knack for explaining complicated concepts clearly and with great understanding.”
His supporters say that Leemis extends his assistance to students beyond the classroom. Examples of this include the care he has taken to compile his class notes into five textbooks, and the personal attention he willingly offers to help students plan and achieve their academic, career and life goals.
Megan Tschannen-Moran is known as a highly versatile and creative teacher in the master’s and doctoral programs in Educational Policy, Planning and Leadership. Her supporters say that she nurtures students as both independent learners and members of a scholarly community. Her approach to teaching reflects her research on constructs of trust and self-efficacy, as well as her model of evocative coaching.
According to the award citation, "Tschannen-Moran’s upbeat, encouraging demeanor creates a respectful, safe classroom climate in which students freely participate and feel valued as they ask questions and contribute to discussions. She welcomes students as colleagues, masterfully developing opportunities for them to build on their strengths and improve in areas where they are less confident."
She is an effective dissertation director, having chaired 19 dissertation committees and served on many others.
In the words of a colleague, “Her authoritative command of the literature, research, design and analytical methods are valuable assets to her students. She can often be seen sitting side by side with candidates as they analyze and interpret data, coaching and providing insights that can only be acquired through extensive research experience.”
These same qualities make Tschannen-Moran highly sought-after as a mentor for junior faculty.
To perpetuate the memory of Algernon Sydney Sullivan, the New York Southern Society has arranged to make awards to one man and one woman in each W&M graduating class, and to honor one other person who has a close relationship with the College. In the selection of recipients, nothing is considered except characteristics of heart, mind and helpfulness to others. This year, the student winners were Bailey Clair Rose and Kevin Norman Barrett. Earl T. Granger III, associate vice president for university development, was the non-student recipient.
According to the award citation, "Rose is known by many across campus for her ever-present smile, which belies an intense — and intrinsic — ability to help other members of the W&M community."
She “strives to genuinely get to know everyone and help in any way she can,” according to one of her classmates.
Despite working as a lab assistant on campus and holding a job off campus, Rose achieved consistent academic success and was named to the Dean’s List several times. Her involvement on campus was prolific. She served as president of her freshman Hall Council, as a freshman orientation aide, spring transfer orientation aide and an orientation aide director. She also served as a host for ESCAPE and Autumn Blast, a program for prospective multicultural students that allows them to visit the campus and stay overnight in a residence hall. Through both roles, Rose effectively passed on her affinity for the College. Her passion proved so infectious that every prospective student she hosted through ESCAPE, a program held each April for admitted multicultural students, enrolled at William & Mary.
As William & Mary NAACP chapter secretary for two years and as its co-president this year, Rose helped re-shape the organization. Currently president of Mu Upsilon Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., she reached the local community by chairing the youth mentoring program.
Rose cares deeply about William & Mary and her classmates. “She has done everything from bringing people food when they’re sick to comforting distraught students she did not know,” a nomination for the Sullivan Award read. Rose, who does not consume alcohol, acted as a designated driver, even for students she never before met.
An English major, she volunteered as a middle-school teacher during summers. She will pursue a master’s in secondary education from William & Mary’s School of Education.
According to his award citation, Kevin Barrett fully embodies the citizen lawyer ideal prized by the William & Mary Law School. While pursuing a joint law and master of public policy degree, Barrett threw his heart into service to the William & Mary community and into helping those less fortunate.
As a first lieutenant in the Marine Corps, he witnessed firsthand the disabilities and psychological and physical damage that can occur during military service. Always eager to lend his talents to others, Barrett joined the Lewis B. Puller Veterans Benefits Clinic at the Law School. He worked at the clinic full time each summer and served as a student attorney for the clinic for two semesters. Through this critical role, he worked with veterans to help them analyze their medical records, communicate with healthcare providers and craft strategies to help them receive disability compensation.
Despite a considerable dedication of time and energy to the clinic, Barrett wanted to do even more to help the veteran community. In fall 2012, he approached the director of the Puller Clinic with an innovative proposal to analytically measure the value of their work. The project produced valuable information for the clinic and ultimately was submitted to both the Office of the First Lady and the Office of the Under Secretary of Benefits for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
He served as a charter board member and co-chair of the Graduate International Service Organization, putting together the first graduate student international service trip. He also served as vice president of the Law School’s chapter of Phi Alpha Delta International Legal Fraternity, as a senate representative to the College’s Student Assembly and as the international chair of the Black Law Student Association.
Barrett’s dedication to the College and to others was accomplished while pursuing a joint degree, which he completed Sunday one year ahead of schedule. He plans to pursue a White House internship or return to active service with the Marine Corps.
Earl T. Granger III, associate vice president for University Development, has inspired countless students, parents, alumni and friends of William & Mary since he matriculated as a freshman in 1988.
As an undergraduate, Granger, who was a member of the Black Students Organization, served as a president’s aide and as an admission tour guide, a position that allowed him to extol the virtues of the William & Mary experience to prospective students and their families. He worked as assistant dean for admission and earned a master’s in education administration from the School of Education in 1998. He held positions at Tufts University and at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill’s Kenan-Flagler Business School, where he was associate director of M.B.A. admissions and student services.
He returned to his alma mater in 2006 as associate provost for enrollment management. Under his guidance of the admission and financial aid programs, the College attracted record numbers of applications for undergraduate admission and the enrollment of students from under-represented backgrounds increased from 20 percent to 25 percent of the student body. He also worked to foster a culture of engagement to serve incoming students and their families.
In 2010, Granger was appointed associate vice president for University Development, helping to lead fundraising efforts and, as he said at the time, “to influence how others view the College and choose to support the initiatives that secure its future.”
In 2012, he was tapped to lead the program as the interim vice president. Granger led ably, engaging alumni and donors, forging partnerships on campus and energizing development staff to seek support for the College. His efforts have come during a critical time for garnering private support for William & Mary, and the College is on pace for an exceedingly successful year in fundraising.
He “is one of the most helpful people you can find on campus,” according to one nominator, and “embodies the essence of the Sullivan Award.”
Sunday was not the first time Granger received the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award. He was a student recipient of the award at his undergraduate commencement 21 years ago.