The Middlebury Campus

College Awards Student Leaders

Students enjoy refreshments during the May 7 presentation of the Student Leadership Awards. (Paul Gerard)

Students enjoy refreshments during the May 7 presentation of the Student Leadership Awards. (Paul Gerard)

Students enjoy refreshments during the May 7 presentation of the Student Leadership Awards. (Paul Gerard)

By Anna Chamby


On Tuesday evening, the Office of the Dean of the College held its third annual Student Leadership Awards Ceremony in Atwater Dining Hall to recognize students, groups and organizations for their public service, leadership and talent.

Three years ago, the Office of the Dean of the College and the Office for Civic Engagement at the Education in Action Center (EIA) joined together to re-imagine a larger, culminating student leadership awards program. The Public Service Leadership awards had been honored individually since 1994, while the Dean of the College, Student Government Association (SGA) and athletic awards were all also separately presented in much smaller venues.

“We decided to merge all of them and this is what we have,” said Special Assistant to the Dean of the College Jennifer Herrera, who was a key member in directing and organizing the program. “The amount of people that are nominated — it’s incredible. It has grown immensely and we are so proud.”

Students and student organizations were nominated through online submissions open to the entire college community. Separate selection committees, respective to the type of award, then chose from those nominees to be presented and individually honored at the ceremony.

President of the College Ronald D. Liebowitz opened the evening by congratulating all student nominees.

“Public service and leadership are what the College has valued and celebrated for a very long time, [especially] for the last 20 years,” he said. “The College is proud of the leaders it has produced in its graduates, dealing with community service, activism and innovation across a whole boast of professions and societal interests.”

Dean of the College Shirley Collado added, “This celebration is meant to shine the spotlight on all of you for your innovative programs and initiatives, your volunteerism, your commitment to diversity and inclusion, your advocacy, passion, enthusiasm and academic excellence.”

Dean of the College Student Leadership Awards were presented first. Awards included the Angels Award, presented to Rana Abdelhamid ’15; the Barbara J. Buchanan ’62 Memorial Prize, given to Hillary Chutter-Ames ’13; the Carri A. Smith ’98 Award for Outstanding Commons Member which went to Harry Zieve Cohen ’15; the First-Year Achievement Prize, presented to Hannah Root ’15.5; the first annual Peter Kohn Service award, given to John Duvnjak ’13 and Ellen Halle ’13; and three different Charles P. Scott Center for Spiritual and Religious Life awards.

The Public Service Leadership Awards, which celebrated its 20th anniversary this year, were next presented by Director of Civic Engagement Tiffany Sargent and special guest Patrick J. Durkin ’79, who established and underwrote the public service recognition program. Since then, the awards have honored over 700 students and have donated over $41,000 to nonprofit organizations on the behalf of each student recipient who themselves designate the cause.

“Education is all about living a purposeful, meaningful life,” Durkin remarked. “You take the skills of all of your academics and extracurricular work and you bring that all together to do something of purpose and value to make your community a little bit better everyday.

“That’s what you do here … to make this a school of character,” he concluded.

Durkin, along with Sargent, honored eleven students and one student organization from among the dozens of nominees.

Luke Carroll Brown ’14 was the recipient of the Dana Morosini Reeve ’84 Memorial Public Service Award for his determination and focus on eradicating sexual violence on campus through the co-founding of It Happens Here.

“Real credit for It Happens Here goes to the many brave women and men who submitted stories,” Carroll Brown commented.

He hopes to continue the work, as honored at the ceremony.

“We’re already gearing up for next year and hopefully will move to other schools around the country.”

The final awards, two joint Dean of the College and SGA Awards and five SGA awards, were presented by Chair of the SGA Constitution Committee Dan Tenner ’13 and SGA Deputy Chief of Staff Brian Clow ’13. Organizations honored included JusTalks for the Extraordinary Initiative Award, Stop Traffick for the Outstanding New Organization Award and Community Friends for the Outstanding Overall Achievement Award.

“We couldn’t even being to capture in these awards all the talent that exists on campus,” Collado expressed. “But this is a snapshot of some good work.

“This is an opportunity for students to see the best version of themselves and their capacity. To be agents of what they want the culture of this campus to be. And it’s very powerful,” she concluded.

“I didn’t really know what to expect going into [the ceremony],” student nominee Zach Weiss ’15 said. “But just being there and being in the presence of all of that positive energy and all of those wonderful people and leaders that are going so many places made me want to be even more of a leader.”

In addition to the Student Leadership Awards on Tuesday evening, staff and faculty have been honored in two separate receptions at Crossroads Café this week. The winner of the Rodney and Beverly DeGray Staff Appreciation award, College Horticulturalist Tim Parsons was honored on Tuesday afternoon. The winner of the Marjorie Lamberti Faculty Appreciation award, Associate Professor of Economics Jessica Holmes, was honored at a reception on Wednesday.

For more information on individual award recipients, visit go/studentleadershipawards.

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