Carson-Newman University honored two students with its highest student award during its Honors Convocation on April 4. Khya Allen and Tanner Charles were each presented the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award before friends, family and the greater campus community.
The New York Southern Society established the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award in 1890 to honor an Indiana native and Manhattan attorney who was considered a living example of genteel spirit and Christian compassion. The awards, which are donated by the foundation that bears his name, are granted at 68 colleges and universities to graduating seniors, one female and one male, who “excel in high ideals of living, in fine spiritual qualities, and in generous and unselfish service to others.”
A resident of Etowah, Allen is a biochemistry major with a pre-med emphasis and psychology minor. She is a member of Gamma Beta Phi Honor Society and the current president of Carson-Newman’s Baptist Collegiate Ministries. This past year, Allen served as the BCM Missions Team chair where she helped plan all SPOTS mission trips and fundraising events to make the trips possible. She also received the BCM Servant Spirit Award this year.
A member of the Carson-Newman Dance Team since 2016, she now serves as the team’s captain.
In addition, Allen is a first generation mentor and as a student Admissions representative, she frequently gives campus tours to prospective students. She also currently serves as the student representative for the University’s current Presidential Search Committee.
Director of Campus Ministries Nenette Measals said, “Khya has always been willing to help in whatever ways have been needed, going well beyond what was expected. She has a real heart of serving others, effective leadership skills and a strong loyalty to Carson-Newman. She is cooperative, responsible and sensitive to the needs of others. Her sweet spirit, friendliness and can-do attitude are wonderful assets. Her desire to serve Christ and humanity by giving freely of her time and talent is best demonstrated by her calling to the medical profession.”
Charles is a Business Administration with a marketing emphasis and Spanish double major from Rogersville. As a Bonner Scholar, he has logged more than 2,000 hours of community service. He also serves as the center’s technology development intern and salesforce developer.
Growing up as an Afro-Latino male in East Tennessee, Charles learned what it meant to adapt to an environment where he was always a racial minority. This fueled his off-campus work in the community. He, along with two other friends, developed the Spanish Conversation Club at the Jefferson City Library where Spanish speakers learn English conversation skills to help them integrate into the English-speaking community.
In April of last year, when a large Immigration and Customs Enforcement raid occurred in nearby Bean Station, Charles spent the next two days in Morristown helping sort through donations for the displaced families and translate conversations between English-speaking donors and Spanish-speaking recipients.
Matt Bryant Cheney, Bonner Center director, said of Charles, “I am convinced that Tanner’s commitment to the Bonner Center has made Carson-Newman an even more Christ-like and loving environment than it was before he came here. His impact has been both personal and professional. He is an example of the very best we can hope to produce at our university.”
Story courtesy of Carson-Newman University