Alice Lloyd College Recognizes Two Outstanding Servant Leaders With Sullivan Awards

Sullivan Foundation partner school Alice Lloyd College recently recognized Kennedi Alexis Damron and John Mark Driskill with prestigious Sullivan Awards for outstanding servant leadership.

Damron, a former ALC cheerleader and tennis player, received the Mary Mildred Sullivan Award. She teaches at Emmalena Elementary School in Knott County, Kentucky, and has previously won the Alice Lloyd College Scholar Athlete Award and the Alice Lloyd College Leadership Award. Her volunteer activities run the gamut from collecting and distributing food baskets for needy families to delivering gifts and organizing a Veterans Day program at the East Kentucky Veterans Center. Damron has volunteered with the KY River Animal Shelter and Operation Christmas Child and helped distribute Christmas items to more than 500 needy area children in 2014.

Kennedi Alexis Damron

As part of her Read Across America service, Damron partnered with the Kentucky Educational Association to reach out to community schools and celebrate Dr. Seuss’ birthday with classroom reading and activities. She also worked with the Appalachian Regional Hospital during Heart Month, providing free screenings and raising heart health awareness through informational lunches with physician speakers. For Emmalena Elementary Kindness Week in November 2016, she planned activities to promote kindness at her school, including creating a kindness wall and a giving tree.

An ALC statement describes Damron as “a highly organized young lady” with “strong community ties that make her a great teacher.”

“From the abovementioned activities, one can easily recognize that Kennedi is a person of outstanding character, is passionate about making a difference in the lives of others, and impacts her community in a positive way on many levels,” according to ALC. “Her Christian walk and service to others is a high priority in her life and is evident to all who know her. She was a wonderful student ambassador for Alice Lloyd College and a great role model for others.  Kennedi is a very intelligent person and demonstrates a strong work ethic.”

John Mark Driskill

Driskill, recipient of this year’s Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award, is “an exceptional young man who will certainly leave his mark on the world,” the school stated. A member of the ALC Cross Country team and Acoustic Ensemble,  Driskill won the Alice Lloyd College Scholar-Athlete Award and the Campus Spirit Award in 2017 along with many other accolades.

He was hired by ALC as a supervisor over student activities for the goal of improving retention, the school said. He has been active with the Campus Ministries Leadership Team, served as a small-group Bible study leader, interned with the Rural Church Development Alliance and served as a Bethel Mennonite camp counselor.

“John possesses strong leadership traits and high energy while leading,” the school said. “He strives to glorify God in all he does … John enjoys sharing his faith and giving back to his community. He has a strong positive outlook on life.”


In Historic First, Two Students Receive Sullivan Awards at Queens University of Charlotte

For the first time since Queens University of Charlotte started offering the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award in 1948, this year’s honor went to two students—Naiya Pollard (pictured above) and Johanna Mercado.

Additionally, the university gave the Sullivan Community Award to Jan Hall Brown and Edward J. Brown III.

Two awards are typically presented at Queens University of Charlotte—one to a graduating senior and another to a person or couple affiliated with the university. The school broke with that tradition this year in honoring Mercado and Pollard. Both women are first-generation college graduates from historically under-represented groups, and both have excelled during their time at Queens inside and outside the classroom, the university said. Mercado and Pollard were recognized for their integrity and contributions to their communities.

Johanna Mercado

Mercado is a Blair College of Health graduate who has been an active member of Queens’ Latin American Student Organization throughout her tenure. She also has served as a leader of the university’s freshman retreat, a L.E.A.D. mentor to minority and first-generation students, and a leader and intern at freshman registration and orientation.

Pollard, a music therapy major, has been president of the Black Student Union for two years. She is known for bringing people together on campus to discuss difficult topics through the Hard Truths program. Pollard has been a L.E.A.D. mentor to minority and first-generation students for two years and a music therapy tutor.

The community Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award went to the Browns, who exemplify a selfless dedication to service and philanthropy and a deep commitment to Queens University.

Edward and Jan Hall

Jan, who earned her undergraduate and MBA degrees from Queens, has had a career that ranged from the high school classroom to the greater Charlotte real estate community. She joined the Queens board of trustees in 2013 and has served on the nominating, governance and capital planning committees. In 2019, she will take on a new executive committee role as the board’s secretary.

Edward, a graduate of Georgia Tech and Harvard, retired from Bank of America as president of global corporate and investment banking and currently serves as chief executive officer and president of Hendrick Automotive Group, the nation’s largest privately held automotive group. He currently serves as board chairman of Atrium Health.

The Browns’ ongoing contributions to Queens can be seen in an endowed scholarship and through countless campus improvements including the Hall Brown Overcash residential hall and the Hall Brown Terrace.

This story is a slightly edited version of the original article from the Queens University of Charlotte website.



Ferrum College Student Creates Video to Promote Positivity on Social Media

Davon “D” Robinson ’21, a rising junior at Sullivan Foundation partner school Ferrum College, is troubled by the negativity so prevalent in today’s society. So the social work major has pledged to promote positivity no matter the circumstances, and he’s using social media to spread his message.

Already known at Ferrum College for his positive Instagram workout videos, he recently took on a heftier endeavor—he spent his last day on campus prior to summer break recording members of the campus community as they shared their goals and words of positivity. Robinson recorded and edited the video in only 10 hours.

“I want to show people that no matter what they go through in life, they can make it,” Robinson said. “The purpose of the video I made is to show that we may have different goals but we all can be positive towards ourselves and each other.”

You can follow Robinson on Instagram at Watch the video below:

Students at Berry College Preserve Elderly Patients’ Memories in Heirloom Books

Spending an afternoon in Adult Day Health at Mercy Care, a clinic for aging adults in Rome, Ga., you might hear any number of stories and nuggets of life wisdom – as diverse as the people sharing them. Though the nostalgia of seniors is often heard and forgotten, students at Sullivan Foundation partner school Berry College have made an effort to change that.

Twice a year since 2017, students from the Psychology of Adulthood and Aging class at Berry have gathered at Mercy Care to work on preserving those stories that would otherwise be lost.

Assistant Professor of Psychology Casey Dexter  teaches the class and introduced this project two years ago. “I needed to find a hook for students, a way to teach them empathy and a desire to better understand the aging process,” Dexter said. “What developed was a bi-annual class project to record and share the life stories of those in Adult Day Health at Mercy Care. It underlines how storytelling and cross-generational interaction serve as a socio-cognitive therapy for those struggling with memory loss.”

Related: Lees-McRae College Art Students Brighten Children’s Home With Colorful Murals

Students partner with Adult Day Health patients in small groups to interview them about their lives. They ask questions about childhood and adulthood’s highs and lows and collect life wisdom. Students search for significant themes and ways to organize these stories before finally weaving them into short memoirs for patients and families to keep. This past year, 40 students participated in the project, creating 18 individual life story books.

One Berry student, Callie Whitesell, wrote the biography of Dorothy Gray. Her story ranged from vivid memories of leaves changing in her childhood to sweeping insights about pursuing higher education and a career. Her book is packed with surprise experiences that pushed her out of her comfort zone and beyond her shyness to forge lifelong, international friendships.

“She told me to never give up,” Whitesell reflected. “Dorothy’s work was very important to her, and it took her a while to succeed. Her mother’s schooling had been influential on her, and she told me to keep persevering as a student myself.”

Stories like Gray’s, which recount efforts, struggles and lifetime achievements, characterize the diverse library Mercy Care now has. As a byproduct, the interviews behind the books allow students to engage with their elders in a meaningful way.

Related: University of the Cumberlands Students Fill Backpacks With Food for Hungry Kids

“Ultimately, these projects benefit more than just the patient,” said Dexter. Students say the project adds dimension to their study of psychology and healthcare and creates greater empathy for what the aging clients are going through.

“Getting to talk to someone about their experiences makes what we’re learning whole,” Whitesell explained. “And on the flip side, it’s great for the people we interview to go through their life again, build satisfaction from reflection, and walk away with their life story book.”

These books become even more valuable toward the end of life. Dexter reported that with the passing of one patient, they received requests for several more copies to be distributed in their memory.

“They become a precious family heirloom,” he said. Undoubtedly, the stories and wisdom immortalized through these books will be cherished by patients, families and the students that made them possible for years to come.

This story was edited slightly from an article on the Berry College website.

Related: Born to Heal: Bradley Firchow Earns the Sullivan Award at Oglethorpe University


The Citadel Honors Student and Professor with the Sullivan Award for “High Thought and Noble Endeavor”

A student and a professor at The Citadel received the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Awards during the military college’s recent commencement exercise.

Dr. Sarah Imam, a professor in Department of Health and Human performance, and Matthew Lanetti were this year’s recipient of the Sullivan Awards, which includes a bronze medallion and honors individuals of “high thought and noble endeavor.”

Dr. Imam (pictured above) “embodies the richest qualities that define the Sullivan Award,” according to a statement issued by The Citadel. Examples of her service and compassion can be noted in her work at the Lowcountry Food Bank, Random Acts of Kindness, the Special Olympics Buddy Dance, a free medical clinic, and MUSC volunteer programs.

Complementing her involvement with numerous outreach missions, Dr. Imam is also responsible for the establishment of The Citadel’s globally recognized healthcare study abroad program to Lithuania. “For the spirit of love and helpfulness that she has exhibited, we are pleased to present Dr. Sarah Imam with the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award,” The Citadel statement reads.

Matthew Lanetti (Photo by Louis Brems – The Citadel)

Lanetti is a student in the Honors Program, with double majors in Chemistry and French, a Star of the West Scholar, and the recipient of several academic awards. In support of all academic initiatives on campus, he served this year as the Regimental Academic Officer, where he was a liaison among the Provost’s office, faculty, and students. Through his leadership, 26 new cadet non-commissioned academic officer positions were established.

Lanetti has been involved in service to The Citadel and the Charleston community. As an Eagle Scout, he volunteered with local Boy Scott troops and served as a volunteer at The Charleston STEM Festival and in chemistry outreach activities. Upon graduation, Lanetti will enroll in the Ph.D. in Chemistry program at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. “In memory of Algernon Sydney Sullivan, whose kindness and love of his fellow man forever endures, The Citadel is proud to present the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award to Cadet Matthew Lanetti,” The Citadel stated.



Sidney Hall, Student With a “True Servant’s Heart,” Receives Sullivan Award at Huntingdon College

Sidney Carol Hall, a graduating senior with “a true servant’s heart,” received the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award at Sullivan Foundation partner school Huntingdon College earlier this month.

Hall, the daughter of Angel and Rick Hall (pictured above) of Dothan, Ala., earned her degree in communication studies with a minor in art. She was a Huntingdon Hawks cheerleader, a member of the homecoming court, treasurer for the Student Government Association, and a Huntingdon College Ambassador. As a member of Alpha Omicron Pi, she served as chaplain and earned membership in honor societies Lambda Pi Eta, Phi Theta Kappa and Sigma Kappa Delta. Active in campus ministries, she was the student ministry intern at Frazer Memorial United Methodist Church.

Related: Sullivan Award winner Joey Jennings of Winthrop University overcame racism and poverty to earn a graduate fellowship from the National Science Foundation

According to a statement from Huntingdon College, Hall “has a true servant’s heart that shines through in her work with Huntingdon’s campus ministries, the Huntingdon Leadership Academy, and in her relationships with her classmates, peers, faculty and administration.”

Classmates described Hall as “someone who is loyal and humble, places the needs of others before her own, and whose daily actions are guided by her faith.”

Nobility of character is key to winning the Sullivan Award, according to the Sullivan Foundation’s requirements for the award: “We reserve the word ‘noble’ carefully for those whose greatness is not spent in their own interests … for one who goes outside the narrow circle of self-interest and begins to spend themselves for the interest of mankind.”

The recipient also should possess “fine spiritual qualities, practically applied to daily living,” such that the “spiritual standard of the institution may be judged by the character of the person to whom the award is made.”

Related: Born to Heal: Bradley Firchow earns the prestigious Sullivan Award at Oglethorpe University



Anita Garland, Admissions Dean and Unofficial Mayor of Hampden-Sydney College, Retires After 39 Years

Known for her colorful hats, warm spirit and a beloved dog named Bobby, Anita H. Garland, the dean of admissions and “unofficial mayor” of Hampden-Sydney College, is retiring after nearly 40 years of service, the school announced recently.

“I have treasured every moment of my time in admissions at Hampden-Sydney College, and I cherish the relationships that I have built here,” Garland said. “They have enriched my life beyond measure.”

“Perhaps more than any other individual in the last 50 years, Anita Garland has shaped the story of Hampden-Sydney College,” said President Larry Stimpert. “She has touched the lives of nearly every student to enter these gates during her years of service and even many of their parents. We will forever admire the enthusiasm she brought to her work, her eloquence in sharing the College’s story, and the personalized touch with which she has introduced so many young men to the distinctive greatness of Hampden-Sydney. Many a student has shared with me the impact that a handwritten note from Anita had on his decision to attend this College.”

Dean Garland and her dog, Bobby

Hired by President Josiah Bunting III in 1980, Garland served as associate dean of admissions and director of admissions until President Samuel V. Wilson named her dean of admissions in 1996 following a national search. In addition to a B.A. from Westhampton College, Garland holds an M.B.A. from the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Business.

“I recall many changes during my time—from Stokeley Fulton’s sitting on a bucket as he watched his team on the baseball field, to the wonderful Ty Cobb Ballpark,” Garland said. “From the food fights in Winston Hall to the spacious Pannill Commons. From a student center in Graham Hall to the lovely Brown Student Center. From typewriters to computers; from paper documents to digital ones; from a central switchboard to cell phones. But the students have always stayed the same—perhaps with different toys (from low tech to high tech)—but always with politeness, earnestness, and an eagerness to please.”

During her 39 years at Hampden-Sydney, 23 of them as dean of admissions, Garland has built the combined admissions and financial aid team into a modern operation comprised of 16 full-time staff members. She also has hired and trained 67 alumni, nearly all for their first jobs. She has worked with nine presidents and hundreds of trustees, and she has recruited 75 percent of living Hampden-Sydney alumni—including many sons of men she’d recruited years before.

“I am proud that we have run a high-quality, personalized, and honest program, which was all about making the student feel special and wanted by the College,” Garland said.

Garland has long been considered the unofficial mayor of Hampden-Sydney, often assembling members of the community for traditions such as a New Year’s Eve countdown at the college’s bell tower. She has also been Hampden-Sydney’s consummate cheerleader, signing many an email, “GO, TIGERS!”

“Anita’s impact on this college endures in the men across the nation and world who live out our founding mission of forming good men and good citizens, in addition to the talented and devoted team she has built in admissions and financial aid,” Stimpert said. “We are grateful for her dedication to and love for Hampden-Sydney, and we wish her all the best in this next chapter of her life.”

“I love the entire constituency at the College, but most especially our students,” Garland said. “I continue to be charmed and even disarmed by them, by their humor, by their energy, by their love of the college, and of their place in it. And, of course, their parents who have put their faith in Hampden-Sydney for their sons’ future.”

This article is a modified version of the original story published on the Hampden-Sydney website.

Shenandoah University Honors Two Students and a Professor With Sullivan Awards

Shenandoah University (SU) recently presented this year’s Algernon Sydney Sullivan Awards to seniors Regine Bumper and Micah Earnhardt and Assistant Professor of Religion Meredith Minister.

Bumper and Earnhardt were honored at the College of Arts & Sciences Honors Ceremony in the Brandt Student Center on Friday, May 17. Minister received her award at the faculty meeting held on Friday, May 24, in Halpin-Harrison Hall’s Stimpson Auditorium.

Each year the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Awards are presented at 70 colleges and universities across the American South. First awarded in 1890, the award goes to individuals who are committed to creating positive change.

Regine Bumper

In addition to winning the Sullivan Award, Bumper is also a Sullivan Scholarship student. She received a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science at Shenandoah. In her time at SU, she participated in “The Laramie Project,” “The Vagina Monologues” and 411 plays for incoming freshmen and transfer students that discussed consent, alcohol usage, conflict management and more. She served a leadership role at the [Not Just] Women’s Center and as president of the Black Student Union. She also served on the BeYOUtiful campaign panel and in the Faith Seeking Justice Christian Leadership Certificate Program. She was an Alpha Lambda Delta and an Omicron Delta Kappa inductee. As a member of the volleyball team and a First-Year Seminar mentor, she had a positive impact on students in both the classroom and on the court.

Bumper has received the Department of Exercise Science Student Leadership Award and the Timothy Doak Mentor Leadership Award. She has participated in many service-learning trips, including those in Haiti, Rwanda and Uganda, where she not only helped others feel at ease, but also demonstrated leadership, generosity and optimism. “She jumps into opportunities to grow,” said an SU professor who nominated Bumper for the Sullivan Award. “She has the courage to put herself in uncomfortable situations and helps others to do the same.”

Micah Earnhardt

Earnhardt received a Bachelor of Arts in Biology and minored in gender and women’s studies at SU. One staff member said Micah’s greatest gift to the community is their personal strength. Micah was involved in Spiritual Life’s University Chapel at Noon and led through acting, reading scripture, facilitating and voicing of community prayer, and serving communion. Micah could often be found working in the Mosaic Center for Diversity as the student director and a mentor to 20 student employees in the office.

Micah excels at assisting others in understanding difficult concepts, one professor said. “Even more impressive, Micah managed to do this with grace and humility rather than a sense of superiority toward those who were learning for the first time about issues Micah had grappled with all their life.”

Minister is an assistant professor of religion who educates and inspires her students both in the classroom and beyond. It is through her supportive, motivational and caring nature that Minister encourages her students to reach their full potential. She goes out of her way to ensure that her students are successful and is always willing to meet with them when they are in need.

“Dr. Minister calls for us to open our minds to new perspectives on issues such as death, sex, gender, religion and life, and she shows us that a change of heart is not always a quick process,” one of Minister’s students said.

Ferrum College Professor Appointed to Episcopal Church Task Force on Environmental Issues

Dr. Delia Heck, an associate professor of environmental science at Sullivan Foundation partner school Ferrum College, has been appointed to the Episcopal Church Task Force on Care of Creation and Environmental Racism.

The role of the task force is to recommend appropriate changes in federal, state or local law so that effective judicial remedies can be obtained to address governmental decisions with respect to land use, industrial, energy and transportation development, and application of environmental standards. The task force will accomplish this goal by studying disproportionate health or environmental impact on those living closest to the land in subsistence cultures, ethnic minorities or poor communities.

The group is made up of approximately twenty people from across the Episcopal Church, which comprises the U.S., Taiwan, Haiti, Ecuador, Micronesia, Honduras, Columbia, Venezuela, Dominican Republic, Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico.

“This appointment allows Ferrum College to have a front row seat in discussions about how our faith calls us to respond to issues of environmental justice and creation care in the political, social and economic arenas at the local and national levels,” Dr. Heck said. “It demonstrates to our students that the journey begun with their Ferrum College education is not limited by our geography or size.  Rather, their passions and drive, combined with the opportunities and experiences provided here, empower them to achieve their life’s dreams.”

This appointment follows Dr. Heck’s five trips to Haiti, the first taking place in June 2017, where she assessed the energy, economic and social justice needs of the country.

About the photograph: Dr. Heck meets with members of St. Simon St. Jude in Duny, Haiti, about their need for solar energy and how they might use the energy if a solar energy system was to be installed at the school.  She was there with members of their videography team as well as members of the Haitian non-profit Voices & Actions, which works to help women in a neighboring village by raising chickens, goats, pigs, and tilapia to sell at wholesale price in order for the women to sell the livestock in the market at retail price. The difference in the prices allows them to earn money to support their families by paying for school fees, food, clothing, etc.

Lees-McRae College Art Students Brighten Children’s Home With Colorful Murals

Student artists at Sullivan partner school Lees-McRae College (LMC) recently designed and painted seven murals to brighten up the Grandfather Home for Children in Barium Springs, N.C.

The project was part of the school’s first-ever mural-focused course led by Angelia Wilson, an assistant professor of communications art and design at LMC. The students painted the murals in buildings on the Grandfather Home for Children campus. The Grandfather Home is operated by the Children’s Hope Alliance, a nonprofit that serves the needs of hurting children and families in the region.

First approached by Grandfather Home for Children Principal Matthew Gaunt in 2018, Wilson said she wanted to bring a mural course to Lees-McRae to not only teach students the techniques needed, but also to give back to the community.

“When the opportunity presented itself, I jumped on it immediately,” she said.

The seven murals—found in the hallways of the home’s gymnasium—depict everything from Volkswagen buses and rainbows inspired by 1970s disco to views of mountains and rivers featuring classic cartoon characters like Bambi and Pepe Le Pew. All of the paintings were original designs conceptualized by the students in the course.

During the approximate 50 hours of work, students gathered in groups of two or three to complete the murals in time for the end of the semester. Many portions of the works of art, reaching the hallway’s ceiling, had to be painted atop a ladder. One mural, painted in the gymnasium itself, was completed with the help of scaffolding.

Wilson and the students said they hope the murals will bring some color and fun into the lives of the children living at the Grandfather Home for Children.

“There are so many ways to give back to the community,” Wilson said, “but as an artist, this is the perfect way to give back—you are allowing them to have something that you enjoyed doing.”

“After so much work it feels really good to see it done and pulled together,” said Shelby Kukowinski, a senior Wildlife Biology major and Communication Arts and Design minor. “Hopefully our art can be influential on the [children here at Grandfather Home for Children] and make their days here a little better. The entire experience was extremely rewarding.”

Not only was the course an opportunity for the students to give back to the community through their art, but it was a chance to practice a skill they may had not otherwise had the opportunity to explore.

Elena Schusterick, a freshman English major and Communication Arts and Design minor, said that at first, the project was overwhelming—she had never painted a mural before.

“I didn’t realize the space [we were going to paint] was so big, and the wall was so much taller than I thought it was going to be,” she said. “But this has changed me as an artist. I’ve learned how to work with other people and was amazed at how quickly you can run out of paint!”

Over the summer leading into the fall semester, Wilson will prepare for the murals to be completed by students in the nearby town of Elk Park.