|Noted Alumnus, Faculty and Students Receive Awards at Fall Convocation
October 27, 2008
Contact: Bill Giduz
The extended Davidson family gathered on Saturday, October 25, for Fall Convocation, and celebrated the achievements of several students, faculty, and alumnus Rep. John M. Spratt ’64. The event was held in Duke Family Performance Hall for an audience of seniors and faculty in their academic regalia, Students’ relatives visiting for Family Weekend also attended.
|(l-r) Rep. John M. Spratt '64 receives congratulations from President Tom Ross '72. |
Spratt, the widely respected chair of the U.S. House Budget Committee, now serving his 13th term in Congress, accepted an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the college. The citation honoring him noted, “With a well-deserved reputation on Capitol Hill for hard work, fiscal responsibility, and legislative effectiveness, he has been praised as a bridge-builder and as one who consistently demonstrates a depth of knowledge about the work of the House that few can match.”
Spratt presented brief remarks prior to receiving his degree. He credited his years at Davidson for sparking his interest in public service, expressed disappointment in today’s climate of fractious politics, and urged Davidson students to take a chance and consider running for public office themselves.
Professor of Anthropology Nancy Fairley received one of the college’s top honors for teachers, the Thomas Jefferson Award. Fairley was hailed for leading the college in a careful and deliberative process to develop an academic concentration in ethnic studies, and for her continued leadership of that program.
She was also cited for her positive impact on students, and personal commitment to their success through the college’s Second Family and pre-orientation Stride programs. The citation concluded, “If there is a common thread to this labor and record of love and service, it is community building. No one stands taller in helping build a true and caring Davidson community, one that encompasses all students, minority and majority, in all ways: race, gender, sexual orientation, and national origin.”
|Thomas Jefferson Award Winner Nancy Fairley (r) was further surprised after receiving her award when her out-of-town daughter, Malu, showed up and presented her mother with a flower bouquet. |
Two professors received Boswell Family Fellowships that provide them full pay for a year-long sabbatical rather than the standard half-pay. The additional stipend that the award carries allows professors to complete a year of study and scholarship without financial concern.
The award winners are Professor of Political Science and Humanities Peter Ahrensdorf and J.W. Cannon Professor of Religion Karl Plank. Plank will use his Boswell Fellowship for a project titled “The Bible and the Self.” He will examine the interplay of philosophies of selfhood and interpretation of scripture among several prominent Jewish thinkers. Ahrensdorf will use his Boswell Teaching Fellowship to write a book about the classical Greek poet Homer. Ahrensdorf plans to argue that Homer was not just a poet, but was a foundational Greek philosopher whose ideas in “The Iliad” and “The Odyssey” greatly influenced later Greek philosophers.
The award was created in 2005 by Tom and Cheryl Boswell, former chairs of the Parents Council and parents of three alumni sons— Andrew ‘98, Timothy ‘01 and Patrick ’04.
The Alumni Association presented to Erin Feeney ’11 of Wilbraham, Mass., its annual award honoring the sophomore who achieved the best grade point average during the first year of studies.
|The Alumni Association Award for the sophomore with the highest first year GPA went to Erin Feeney '11, pictured here with her mother and father, Jeanne and Dr. Francis Feeney.|
Goodwin-Exxon Awards for high standards of character and consideration of others were presented to Rachel Richardson ’11, Allie Coker ’10, and Ebony Harley ’09. Established by Henry S. Goodwin ‘30 and funded in part by the Exxon Foundation, these awards go annually to a sophomore, junior and senior.
Harley, a Bonner Community Service Scholar and president of the Black Student Coalition, was cited for her steadfast work as volunteer coordinator at the Ada Jenkins Community Center. Most recently she developed a program there to teach children about money and finance. Coker is coordinator of the Project Life bone marrow typing drive, and also works during the summer with the Hole in the Wall camp for children with cancer and blood diseases. Richardson co-chairs the student group that volunteers service at Charlotte’s Urban Ministry Center, and coordinated several events to raise awareness of the needs of homeless people.
Davidson is a highly selective independent liberal arts college for 1,700 students located 20 minutes north of Charlotte in Davidson, N.C. Since its establishment in 1837 by Presbyterians, the college has graduated 23 Rhodes Scholars and is consistently regarded as one of the top liberal arts colleges in the country. Through The Davidson Trust, the college became the first liberal arts institution in the nation to replace loans with grants in all financial aid packages, giving all students the opportunity to graduate debt-free. Davidson competes in NCAA athletics at the Division I level, and a longstanding Honor Code is central to student life at the college.
Posted By: Bill Giduz