Sullivan Award Recipient Is Hero On and Off the Football Field at Davidson College

Chibuike “ChiChi” Odo is a scholar, a football player and a leader with a “servant’s heart,” and his commitment to placing service above self has earned him the 2022 Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award from Davidson College.

“ChiChi is the most connected, involved and personable scholar-athlete I have ever coached,” Davidson Wildcats head football coach Scott Abell said. “I would be hard-pressed to find an individual on campus who hasn’t had a genuine conversation or positive interaction with him.”

Related: Clemson Sullivan Award recipient Ronnie Clevenstine uses her research to combat food insecurity

“ChiChi’s volunteer service, character and spiritual qualities only touch the surface of the impact he has made during his time at Davidson and foreshadow the massive impact he will make on the world volunteer service, character and spiritual qualities only touch the surface of the impact he has made during his time at Davidson and foreshadow the massive impact he will make on the world as he graduates,” Abell added. “ChiChi has a servant’s heart, loves people, and is committed to excellence in everything that he does.”

Chibuike “ChiChi” Odo accepts the Sullivan Award at a recent ceremony at Davidson College.

Odo builds relationships and pours his positivity into the lives of those around him through his internships, including one last summer with a local church. He was involved in planning weekly events and coordinating service opportunities. He concluded the summer by leading a full Sunday service.

Odo is also the president of Davidson’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes and is a lead volunteer at the Ada Jenkins Center, which serves underprivileged youth and their families in the local community.

Related: Tejas Dinesh earns Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award at University of Alabama

On top of that, he was named to the 2021 All-State Good Hands Team, which selects college athletes from around the country that make the strongest impact in their communities. Odo has also led two service/mission trips to Costa Rica of Spring Break.

Additionally, Odo was named a 2022 Thomas J. Watson Fellow. The fellowship is a one-year grant for purposeful, independent exploration outside the U.S. Odo said he would use the grant to promote the mental health of elite athletes in Kenya, the United Kingdom, Australia and China. The McKinney, Texas native plans to focus on how mental health initiatives are integrated into national individual and team sports.

This article has been edited from the original version appearing on the Davidson College website.


Three Servant Leaders Receive Sullivan Awards from University of Virginia

Two student changemakers and an administrator have received the 2022 Algernon Sydney Sullivan Awards from the University of Virginia (UVA). Yaa Awusi-Sarkodi and Domenick Bailey received the student awards while the community award went to UVA Dean Michael Gerard Mason.

Yaa Awusi-Sarkodie, a first-generation college student and a native of Ghana, graduated with a nursing degree. After losing her mother at the age of eight, she moved to the U.S. when she was 12 years old. The transition proved difficult, according to a 2017 profile of Awusi-Sarkodie published in The Prince George’s Sentinel when she was named student of the month.

Related: Hannah Roebuck, Sullivan Award recipient at Clemson, builds “more just and welcoming places”

In high school, Awusi-Sarkodie faced bullying and difficulty with regional American accents. She also pushed herself to excel in the classroom, once becoming deeply upset to learn she had a 90 in one class instead of a high A.

Yaa Awusi-Sarkodie

“Everything that she does, she does to honor her mother’s memory, and anything that is short of what her memory of her mother is, it grieves her heart. She feels like she hasn’t done enough,” said Amelia Simmons, Awusi-Sarkodie’s counselor at High Point High School in Beltsville, Md.

“A quiet and shy exterior hides a formidable leader who uses her core strength and perseverance to serve those around her,” noted Chloe Leon, a third-year student at UVA and member of the selection committee. “Yaa has been a leader with the Office of African American Affairs Peer Advisor Program, residence staff and a trainer for the women’s basketball team—to name only a few of her many involvements.”

Leon said Awusi-Sarkodie had grown into her leadership roles, supporting the Peer Advisors and the women’s basketball programs through major transitions this year.

Awusi-Sarkodie is a fellow of the Meriwether Lewis Institute for Citizen Leadership, which prepares students to become lifetime leaders. She tutored third-year nursing pharmacology students; was co-president of Yahweh Ministries, an organization dedicated to cultivating cultural and creative outlets of worship; and was a resident adviser for UVA’s Housing and Residence Life. She also received a Blue Ridge Scholarship, given to students who demonstrate outstanding leadership and character while overcoming personal hardship.

Related: Sullivan Award recipient Dr. Michael Spalding has helped hundreds of dreamers get college degrees 

Domenick Bailey, a pre-law student focusing on psychology and sociology, was admitted to Harvard Law School through its Junior Deferral Program. “Dom Bailey has amassed an impressive legacy of scholarship and service to the university and the surrounding community, but you will never hear that from him,” Leon said. “A leader both in and outside of the classroom, Dom has co-authored a section of a book with a professor and served as a teaching team member for a course in the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy.”

Leon lauded Bailey’s service on residence staff; the Office of African American Affairs’ Peer Advisor Program; through his fraternity, where he has tutored and mentored youth in Charlottesville, Va.; and as one of the creators and moderators of the Bringing Race Into Dialogue with Group Engagement (BRIDGE) program, where he is known as a gifted listener and facilitator.

Domenick Bailey

Bailey has been a teaching assistant and has worked as an undergraduate research assistant for Brian N. Williams of the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy. He also has been a Virginia Indigent Defense Commission mitigation and investigative intern and a resident adviser for UVA’s Housing and Residence Life.

Bailey also received a University Achievement Award, given to students who demonstrate outstanding leadership and character while overcoming personal hardship.

Michael Gerard Mason

Dean Michael Gerard Mason is an associate dean in the Office of African American Affairs and director of the Luther Porter Jackson Black Cultural Center, which links Black culture and identity development to the whole Black student experience.

“No one who has had the pleasure of meeting Dean Mason will be at all surprised that he is receiving this award—maybe no one but Michael Gerard Mason himself,” Leon said. “A servant leader of the highest order, Michael is known among students and his colleagues as a tireless advocate for all students with whom he comes into contact, particularly those in the Black community.”

Mason served as director of Project RISE, a peer counseling project created for Black students by Black students, jointly sponsored by the Counseling and Psychological Services Department and the Office of African American Affairs. Mason developed the training for the student peer counselors and peer supporters, which then became available university-wide as the Hoos Helping Hoos initiative.

This article has been edited and expanded from the original version appearing on the University of Virginia website.

Hannah Roebuck, Sullivan Award Recipient at Clemson, Builds “More Just and Welcoming Places”

Hannah Roebuck, a recipient of the 2022 Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award at Clemson University, recognizes the irony of her double major—religious studies and political science. Those subjects, she noted, are “the two things one ought not talk about, certainly not together.” But for her, religion and politics can go hand in hand in a meaningful and socially constructive way.

Roebuck was one of three service-minded leaders to be honored with the Sullivan Award at Clemson this May. Her fellow student and changemaker, Ronnie Clevenstine, also received the student award, while Kathy Cauthen captured the non-student award.

Related: Ronnie Clevenstine, Sullivan Award Recipient from Clemson, Uses Her Research to Combat Food Insecurity

Roebuck earned the Sullivan Award in part because of her unstinting commitment to helping refugees and immigrants who have come to the U.S. seeking a better life. But she has been a leader on the academic side at Clemson as well.

She’s a National Scholar, Dixon Global Policy Scholar and member of Phi Beta Kappa, America’s most prestigious academic honor society. She has received the Dean’s Award for Outstanding Achievement; the top student award in the College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences; and awards given to the Outstanding Student in Political Science and the Outstanding Student in Religious Studies.

In 2020, Roebuck interned with a nonprofit called Refuge Coffee Co., which offers job training, mentoring and personal development for resettled refugees and other immigrants in the Atlanta area. According to the nonprofit’s 2021 report, 70% of its full-time staff—including barista trainees and support staff—are refugees or immigrants, and 74% of them are women.

“Refuge believes in the resilience of our refugee neighbors, and they see incredible strength in their baristas and trainees,” Roebuck said in an August 2020 article about her work for the nonprofit. “The goal at Refuge Coffee Co. is to join in the task of empowering refugees, migrants and immigrants to use their many gifts to create welcome and refuge.”

Roebuck helped plan and organize the organization’s main annual fundraiser, Shop Refuge. She also served Refuge Coffee trainees by establishing community and business connections in Atlanta, creating a resource guide with local social services and programs, and assisting with job training and GED tutoring.

Besides gaining experience in planning a large-scale community event—in the middle of a pandemic, no less—Roebuck said she also “learned how to come alongside resettled people and families in a life-giving and honoring way … I have learned to sit in the tension of pain and hope alongside my neighbors. Most importantly, I have learned the power of ‘Welcome.’”

Related: Elizabeth Bonker, non-speaking student with autism, delivers powerful valedictory speech at Rollins College

For Roebuck, “welcome” is more than just a friendly word, as she explained in an April 2022 interview after receiving the Phi Kappa Phi Certificate of Merit and the Dre Martin Service Award. “‘Welcome’ is the driving force of my work, service and personhood. I believe deeply that people are of immeasurable value not because of what they have to offer or what they produce but simply because of who they are. People deserve space to exist and evolve in their fullness—to be seen, to be heard, and to be honored—and I have committed myself to that mission in a variety of ways at Clemson and beyond.”

In addition to her work with Refuge Coffee Co., Roebuck completed a second service internship with New American Pathways, which provides services to support new Americans on their individual pathways from arrival through citizenship. In a similar vein, she also completed a Creative Inquiry Project entitled, “Stories of Refuge, Detention, and Hospitality.”

Roebuck’s list of service-based involvement on campus was extensive: founder and director of the Clemson History Committee; founder and leader of the Youth Scholars Program; editor of “The Pendulum” magazine; member of the Council of Diversity Affairs; chair and member of the Honors Student Advisory Board and more.

“In every space and context, I try to ask, ‘Who is being left out? Whose voice, perspective or story is excluded here?’” she said. “How can resources be leveraged or systems be restructured to serve people here and now?”

Roebuck plans to pursue her master’s degree in teaching as a Durham Teaching Fellow at Duke University, another Sullivan Foundation partner school. Then she wants to teach social studies in the Durham Public Schools and eventually look for an administrative position or one that can influence policy-making.

“It is my hope that the organizations, structures and communities I touch become more just and welcoming places,” she said. “I will always seek to demonstrate our responsibility and belonging to one another—my fate and thriving is tied up in yours.”

Clemson Sullivan Award Recipient Ronnie Clevenstine Uses Her Research to Combat Food Insecurity

Ronnie Clevenstine, one of two student recipients of the 2022 Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award at Clemson University, has known some hard times. And those personal experiences helped open her heart to the suffering of others, especially people facing food insecurity, and carve out a career path into the future.

Clevenstine received the Sullivan Award at Clemson in May 2022 along with fellow student Hannah Roebuck and non-student recipient Kathy Cauthen.

Related: Hannah Roebuck, Sullivan Award recipient at Clemson, builds “more just and welcoming places”

Clevenstine, who received her degree in economics, has an impressive academic record. She is a National Scholar, Truman Scholar, Dixon Global Policy Scholar and Duckenfield Scholar. For her outstanding leadership and service, she was a 2021 finalist for both the Marshall and Rhodes scholarships, making her the first Clemson student ever to be named a finalist for both exceptionally competitive programs. She has received the Clemson University Martin Luther King Jr. Award for Excellence in Service and the 2022 Matt Locke Leadership Award.

Addressing food insecurity is a challenge Clevenstine has embraced as a scholar and researcher as well as a changemaker. She was selected to participate in the Posters on the Hill research forum hosted by the Council on Undergraduate Research this past April. Her research looked at the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and state restrictions placed on the program. Working with political science professor Jeff Fine, she explored how those restrictions differ from state to state and the variables that affect those restrictions, such as political partisanship, economic conditions and racial climate.

Clevenstine said the research will help inform her future work in addressing food insecurity policy and other social policy research. “This project helped me get at what research questions I want to ask about these issues,” she said. “I hope to be able to use this type of research to talk to legislators about how we loosen restrictions to SNAP access for vulnerable populations.”

Clevenstine also participated in Clemson’s Creative Inquiry undergraduate research program, in which students work in small groups with a faculty mentor to answer challenging questions and solve real-world problems. Her projects also dealt with food insecurity. She helped create a community garden in a rural area of South Carolina, and she assisted with a College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences project to create a food access map for Upstate South Carolina residents experiencing food insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Related: Elizabeth Bonker, non-speaking student with autism, delivers powerful valedictory speech at Rollins College

Clevenstine had personal experience with unstable finances in high school, and that ignited her passion for food system justice. While living at a family friend’s house for roughly six months, she felt the stigma that is a day-to-day reality for many economically insecure people in the United States. She said she experienced how a lack of access to food could lead others to unfairly question a person’s worth—and how this stigmatization could lead to a painful, perpetuating cycle.

“The reality of food insecurity for individuals without the generational privilege afforded to me is a much more painful, extended and visible experience,” Clevenstine said. “I’m committed to a career in eradicating this stigma and ensuring individuals have adequate access to food, housing and further economic opportunity.”

This article has been edited and expanded from the original version appearing on the Clemson University website.

This Sullivan Award Recipient Has Helped Hundreds of Dreamers Get College Degrees

Thirteen recent graduates of Sullivan Foundation partner school Cumberland University (CU) might not have been able to earn those diplomas without the help of Dr. Michael J. Spalding, a recipient of the 2022 Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award at CU. In fact, Spalding has helped hundreds of young Dreamers—persons born in the U.S. to undocumented immigrants—realize their dreams of a higher education since 2104.

Spaulding earned the Sullivan Award as a community member, while the student award went to CU scholar-athlete Nichole Carey. The awards were presented on May 11.

As a servant leader with a distinguished career, Spalding graduated from Washington and Lee University and received his Doctor of Medicine from the University of Virginia. Both are Sullivan Foundation partner schools.

Related: Tejas Dinesh earns Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award at the University of Alabama

Spalding served as a general surgeon for the U.S. Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay, completed a fellowship at Great Ormand Street Hospital in London, and spent the majority of his career as a urologist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and in private practice.

Then Dr. Spalding retired and pursued a new calling eight years ago: He founded the nonprofit, Equal Chance for Education (ECE), in Nashville.

As the son of the financially strapped operators of a small motel in Bowling Green, Ky., Spalding himself never expected to be able to afford college when he was growing up. But an older friend, a salesman named Clarence Ballenger, stepped in and helped pay the young man’s way through Washington & Lee. It was a kindness—and a leg up—that Spalding never forgot.

Decades later, the retired Spalding became friends with Melissa Patino Gonzalez and her family, who attended his church. Melissa had lived in Nashville since she was eight months old and graduated high school with an outstanding academic record. But a college education seemed out of reach, despite Melissa’s obvious promise. So Spalding took matters into his own hands. First he approached Nashville State, offering to personally pay Melissa’s first year of tuition. But when the admissions counselor learned Melissa’s name, the tuition immediately jumped from $7,000 for two years to $28,000.

Spalding stormed out. “I was very angry,” he told the Nashville Tennessean recently. “It was not my finest moment.”

Dr. Spalding and Melissa Gonzalez at her high school graduation

As it turned out, Melissa would have to pay out-of-state tuition for any public university or college in the state, even though Tennessee was the only home she had ever known, and she did not qualify for any type of financial aid or student loans. Instead, Spalding helped Melissa attend Lipscomb University, a Christian school in Nashville, where he paid most of her tuition and she also received merit-based scholarships and worked part-time jobs. Melissa went on to graduate Cum Laude and now teaches special education at her old high school.

After getting Melissa into Lipscomb University, Spalding went on to help another bright, promising undocumented teen, who’d been flipping burgers instead of going to college. Spalding enrolled the young man at Cumberland University and paid most of his tuition as well.

“Then my wife, the CFO of the family, said, ‘You’re retired with no income and two kids in college. Do you think maybe, since there are 8,000 of these kids, that you should get someone to help you with this?” Spalding recalled.

So Spalding set up Equal Chance for Education, which serves deserving students from undocumented families. The organization works with 20 Tennessee colleges and universities, including Lipscomb and Cumberland, to keep tuition to $10,500 for ECE students. ECE pays 60% of the bill, and students can earn scholarships or work to pay the rest.

Since then, ECE has helped around 400 deserving dreamers attend colleges and universities throughout Tennessee, and 132 have gotten their degrees. That includes 31 ECE Scholars at Cumberland University specifically, 13 of whom graduated in May 2022.

“This, to me, is not a political thing,” he told the Tennessean. “It’s a moral thing.”

Related: Sullivan Award recipient Sydney Hencil sees journalism as a mission of truth-telling

Nichole Carey

Meanwhile, as the student recipient of CU’s Sullivan Award this year, Nichole Carey has shone in the classroom and on the volleyball court.

She graduated Summa Cum Laude with a degree in English & Creative & Imaginative Writing. As a four-year varsity starter for the women’s volleyball team, she scored 926 career kills and is 10th in the nation in attacking percentage. She was a 2019 and 2021 Mid-South attacker of the week, made the 2020 and 2021 2nd Team Mid-South All Conference, and was a three-time Mid-South Academic Team honoree.

This year’s graduating class at Cumberland University was the largest in the school’s 180-year history, with 717 students earning their degrees.


Tejas Dinesh Earns Sullivan Award at the University of Alabama

Senior Tejas Dinesh, a double major in history and environmental engineering at the University of Alabama, has received the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award, one of UA’s premier awards.

As a part of the University Fellows Experience, Dinesh, a native of Ohio, has served the West Alabama region through “Project Catalyst,” which provides creative writing seminars for area high school students. He worked with 10th-grade students in Perry County.

Dinesh was the founding president of Capstone Commission on Socially Responsible Investing and has been a member of the Honors College Assembly and No Strings Attached, an all-male a capella group.

Related: University of Kentucky Sullivan Award recipients serve children, immigrants and others in need

The Sullivan Award application includes an essay prompt to define character. In his essay, Dinesh wrote about how his mother learned that she was pregnant with him in a session with a palm reader—an old custom in India. He continued by acknowledging Indian stories and culture that feature characters with larger-than-life achievements, then turned the whole idea on its head. For Dinesh, character is about exhibiting small acts of bravery and planting small seeds that may never blossom for him to see but will affect those after him.

The University of Alabama has been presenting the Sullivan Award since 1935. Notable UA recipients include Frances Summersell, one of its most generous benefactors and the person for whom the university’s Summersell Center for the Study of the South is named. Another notable recipient was George LeMaistre, a prominent white attorney, banker and professor who publicly challenged Alabama Governor George C. Wallace on the issue of segregation.

This article has been edited from the original version appearing on the University of Alabama website.

UK Sullivan Award Recipients Serve Children, Immigrants and Others in Need

Riley Gaines might be most recognized for her record-setting accomplishments with the University of Kentucky’s swimming and diving teams, but her humanitarian work, especially with children, has earned her another accolade: She’s one of three recipients of UK’s Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award.

In addition to Gaines, the award went to fellow student Dean Farmer, an award-winning researcher on such topics as helping youths with disabilities find employment, and James “Jim” Richardson, the citizen award recipient and senior vice president for wealth management at Morgan Stanley.

Here’s more about the three recipients of the Sullivan Award, UK’s highest honor for humanitarian efforts.

Riley Gaines
Gaines, who hails from Gallatin, Tenn., graduated in May with a degree in human health sciences. For UK’s swimming and diving team, she is a multi-time SEC champion, conference record holder, NCAA silver medalist and record holder in six separate events at UK. She was most recently named the 2022 SEC Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

While her athletic accomplishments are unmatched, her nominator stressed that what Gaines does outside of the pool and classroom is even more impressive. She has regularly volunteered her time to serve others since coming to UK as a freshman in 2018, with programs such as God’s Pantry, Special Olympics of Kentucky, Give 10 (R.E.A.L. Read) and the Shriner’s Hospital. Most recently, she took part in the Kentucky United Telethon with other UK athletes and coaches, raising relief funds for those impacted by the Dec. 10 tornadoes in Western Kentucky. The telethon raised more than $3 million in four hours.

Related: Sustainability champion Claire Windsor earns Sullivan Award from the University of South Carolina

Riley Gaines

But Gaines says she is most moved by her involvement with Amachi Central Kentucky, a one-on-one mentoring program that works with children and teens impacted by parental incarceration. She has mentored a specific child, Kami, on a weekly basis for nearly four years.

“I think (Kami) has helped positively shape me in just as many ways as I have helped her,” Gaines said. “She has taught me self-awareness, responsibility, creative thinking and true altruism. Amachi has aimed to meet a nationwide need, and I am beholden to be a part of it. I think every person with an ethical conscience, good morals and strong character will find the ultimate satisfaction in helping others—this is the true philosophy of service to others.”

In honor of her achievements and service, Gaines was recently inducted into the 2022 UK Athletics Frank G. Ham Society of Character, one of UK Athletics’ most prestigious honors that recognizes student-athletes who show the utmost commitment to academic excellence, athletics participation, personal development, community service and career preparation.

After graduation, Gaines plans to attend dental school and hopes to become a pediatric dentist.

Related: Sullivan Award recipient Gabriel Carrilho helped bring clean water to a village in Ecuador

Dean Farmer
Dean Farmer, who calls Goshen, Ky. home, graduated with a degree in economics and a second degree in political science. He was also a student in the Lewis Honors College.

During his time at UK, Farmer’s academic and extracurricular activities have centered around service to others. As part of his involvement in the Lewis Honors College and Gatton College’s Global Scholars Program, he served as a Presidential Fellow in the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress program. Here, he conducted award-winning research on the economic impact of the H-1B nonimmigrant visa policy and how it can help increase both foreign and domestic wages.

Dean Farmer

Farmer also served as a peer coach for UK’s Financial Wellness Center, where he worked directly with students to promote financial resources and aided students facing sensitive financial issues.

Additionally, Farmer worked for the Council of State Governments, where he conducted extensive policy research on state policies helping youth with disabilities transition into the workforce. He also served as a volunteer researcher for the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Louisville, where he presented research on and advocated for mental health care among marginalized communities in Louisville. He served as a volunteer tutor at the Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning and as the director of finance and economic equity for the UK Student Government Association.

“Dean’s personal and professional records indicate that he is living the spirit and intent of the Sullivan Award,” his nominators wrote. “His humanitarian focus in his professional journey and his personal character and integrity are evident in his lived experiences during his time here at the University of Kentucky. His heart is in service to others.”

After graduation, Farmer plans to pursue a career in immigration law and continue serving those in need.

“Whether through one’s vocation, hobby, extracurricular interest, relationships, interactions or aspirations, I believe that each experience is an opportunity to serve others,” Farmer said. “After all, an immeasurable number of people in our society have some form of dire need, whether their need is due to immigration status, mental illness, financial crisis, or any other reason. For every need, there is an opportunity for service.”

Related: Future social worker and future teacher receive Sullivan Awards at Winthrop University

Jim Richardson

James “Jim” Richardson
Richardson graduated from UK in 1970 with a bachelor’s degree in English literature and again in 1972 with a master’s degree in secondary education. He is now senior vice president for wealth management at Morgan Stanley.

During his time as a UK student in the 1960s and 70s, Richardson was a member of the track team, Student Government Association and Sigma Alpha Epsilon and sang in a vocal group.

“To be recognized as a Sullivan Award recipient from UK is beyond humbling,” Richardson said. “Were it not for the education and relationships that were developed at UK, I would never have found the passions that have been such an integral part of my life.”

Richardson is a long-time volunteer with the UK Alumni Association, serving as a three-term board member; president of the Fayette County UK Alumni Club; a Wildcat Society Member; UK Fellow; and a member of the 1970 Golden Wildcat Reunion Committee.

Richardson is also a gifted musician and has used his skills to serve the Lexington community, singing and playing guitar at various fundraisers and community events—including his own Golden Wildcats reunion and other UK Alumni events. During the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, he and his daughter Reilly hosted concerts on Facebook Live to entertain friends and family during a time when live, in-person music was not something people could experience.

Throughout his career, Richardson has also dedicated a significant amount of his time to serving organizations that support children, including the Kentucky Children’s Hospital, where he serves on the development council. He has also served on boards for the Children’s Charity of the Bluegrass, Lexington Children’s Theatre, Big Brothers/Big Sisters of the Bluegrass and the Lexington Rotary Club.

In 2014, he was nationally recognized as one of three finalists for the Lifetime Achievement Award, presented by the Invest in Others Charitable Foundation, for his ongoing commitment to the Lexington Dream Factory, a wish-granting organization for children he co-founded with his wife Stacey.

When asked why he has committed so much time to children’s organizations, Richardson said, simply, “Time.” He added, “The most appropriate way to show love for children is to give them your time.”

And while it’s gratifying to give money, Richardson said he has found volunteerism much more meaningful. “I have been blessed over the past 40 plus years as a musician, mentor and teacher to help one child at a time or an entire organization,” he said. “Regardless of the role, the opportunity to give my time to a child has demonstrated the truest definition of love that I could describe.”

This article has been edited from the original version appearing on the University of Kentucky website.

“Joy Surrounds Her:” Andrea Stansberry Earns Student Sullivan Award at King University

When Andrea Stansberry wasn’t helping King University win a cross-country championship and studying for her nursing degree, she was busy helping others, especially children, in their hour of need. Now she’s the student recipient of King’s 2022 Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award, while Dr. David Stevens, the former director of World Medical Mission, has received the community member award.

Stansberry, a 2022 graduate of King, wants to work as a pediatric critical care nurse. A native of New Market, Tenn., she was a member of King’s cross country and track and field teams for four years, helping the women’s cross country team win their fifth Conference Carolinas championship in 2021. She has been recognized for her service to Children’s Hospital in Knoxville as a longtime member of the Youth Board, and by the City of Bristol for her volunteering spirit.

Stansberry has been accepted to the Vanderbilt University Medical Center Nurse Residency Program.

“Throughout her years at King, we have seen Andrea’s motivation and determination in everything she does, from her studies in nursing to her community service work and her sport,” said Chase Arndt, King’s director of student life, along with Finley Green, career services director. “Joy surrounds her, and others follow. She is a force on campus—engaging, mentoring and befriending others. She is an advocate and a leader in addition to her duties as captain and ‘team mom’ to the track and field team.”

“Andrea is fed by her love for Jesus Christ and feels responsible for sharing that love by caring for all,” added Arndt and Green. “She has helped with spiritual clubs on campus and is an example of Christian servant leadership and service.”

“Andrea has been a best friend to everyone on the track and cross country teams,” noted Brandon Ellis, King University’s head cross country and track and field coach. “She has consistently and selflessly put the needs of others before herself. She doesn’t think twice before spending hours accompanying a teammate to the hospital or being a friend to lean on in times of need. She’s balanced a heavy nursing load while setting numerous personal best times on the track. She has been a light on our team and will be missed.”

Dr. Stevens served as director of World Medical Mission, helping mission hospitals around the world and providing medical relief. He led a team that treated 43,000 Somalis in the midst of war and led medical teams to treat more than 25,000 Sudan villagers to stop the spread of an epidemic, which led to opportunities to also meet patients’ spiritual needs.

Stevens helped develop an evangelism training program that taught 20,000 healthcare professionals how to share their faith in a healthcare setting. He also helped launch a nationwide network of community-based ministries that provides on-site discipleship, fellowship and outreach opportunities for local doctors. He served as a spokesperson for Christian doctors and has conducted more than 1,000 media interviews on NBC, CNN, NPR, BBC-World Television and numerous other national outlets.

In addition, Stevens served as medical superintendent and later as executive officer of Tenwek Hospital in Bomet, Kenya, for 10 years. During his tenure there, he directed a $4 million development plan, secured the installation of an $850,000 hydroelectric plant, oversaw the start of a nursing school, and doubled the size of the hospital. The community healthcare and development programs he designed at Tenwek are currently reaching more than a million Kenyans.

Stevens is the author of “Jesus, MD” and “Beyond Medicine” and co-author of “Leadership Proverbs” and “Servant Leadership.” He received his bachelor’s degree from Asbury University, earned a master’s degree in Bioethics from Trinity International University, and is a graduate of the University of Louisville School of Medicine. He has served on the board of Asbury University, as a Fellow of the Biotechnology Policy Council of the Wilberforce Forum, and on the advisory council of the Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity.

Additionally, Stevens served as the CEO of the Christian Medical & Dental Associations (CMDA) for 25 years and now serves as CEO Emeritus. Headquartered in Bristol, Tennessee, CMDA provides resources, networking opportunities, education and a public voice for Christian healthcare professionals and students.

“Creating the mission to change hearts in healthcare and the vision to transform doctors to transform the world, Dr. David Stevens bears a legacy that will be considered one of the most influential and important in the history of Christian Medical & Dental Associations,” said Josh Rudd, assistant professor of biology at King University. “He’s committed his whole life to missions. There’s the act of service, then there’s the example. The act is vital, but the example has a life effect. Dr. Stevens has certainly made an impact on my life as I educate students at King University, and I would say he has impacted countless others as they incorporate service into their professional careers.”

This article has been edited from the original version appearing on the King University website.


Gabriel Carrilho: Sullivan Award Recipient Helped Bring Clean Water to Village in Ecuador

Mechanical engineering major Gabriel Nossar Carrilho is using what he’s learned at the University of South Carolina to serve the campus community, the Latinx community and even people in his native South America in need of clean water. For his efforts, Carrilho has been awarded the university’s top leadership award—the 2022 Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award.

Carrilho was one of two outstanding student leaders who received this year’s Sullivan Award at UofSC. Claire Windsor, a geography major and founder of the university’s Student Council on Sustainability, also received the award.

Sustainability champion Claire Windsor earns Sullivan Award at University of South Carolina

Born in Brazil, Carrilho went to high school in Lexington, S.C. During his time at South Carolina, he has worked to help other Hispanic engineering majors find a home in the field. He founded the university’s chapter of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, growing the organization to 30 members and raising enough money to send them to national conferences where they secured internships, research positions and graduate school and job offers.

“This organization has inspired hundreds of students at UofSC to reach and work toward their dreams,” Carrilho said. “As soon as I was president, it was my goal to make the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers an organization that was amply dedicated to the community.”

As the project lead on Tiger Burn, Carrilho said he found himself as a leader, organizing, managing, scheduling and planning about two dozen fellow students in the American Society of Mechanical Engineers as they built a 33-foot-tall “tiger” to be safely burned during a pep rally before the annual South Carolina-Clemson football game. The project involved more than 80 hours of work designing and building the tiger.

“Leading the largest student-led engineering project was an absolute honor, especially a project that defines the passion and spirit of the Gamecocks,” Carrilho said.

Through his work in Engineers Without Borders, he was able to provide a small village in Ecuador with a water filtration device adapted to their living circumstances. He was named a Magellan Scholar, which has allowed him funding to further test filtration methods and investigate the safest filtration technique.

Related: Sydney Hencil, Sullivan Award recipient at Brenau University, sees journalism as a mission of truth-telling

Carrilho also has completed research with ExxonMobil focused on the placement strategy of wells in ultra-deep-water reservoirs.

Awarded the 2021 Student Affairs and Academic Support Standout Student, he has been honored by many other companies and organizations as well. Out of thousands of applicants, he was selected as a Nissan Design Competitor, which allowed him to present an invention to executives of the Japanese car company.

He was selected as a Society of Mechanical Engineers Manufacturing Scholar and named one of the next leaders in manufacturing nationwide. He was also chosen as an ExxonMobil Future Leader, which gave him the opportunity to participate in several leadership trainings and presentations while meeting with the company’s top executives.

All of the opportunities he has had at Carolina have fostered his personal desire to help others reach their goals, he said. “It was clear to me at a very young age my passion was to lead and inspire those around me to accomplish their dreams.”

This article has been edited from the original version appearing on the University of South Carolina website.

Sydney Hencil: Sullivan Award Recipient Sees Journalism as a Mission of Truth-Telling

By Kelsey Podo, Brenau University

Sydney Hencil, the 2022 recipient of the Mary Mildred Sullivan Award at Brenau University, doesn’t shy away from discovering the truth.

While attending high school in her hometown of Harare, Zimbabwe, Hencil remembers reading news about journalists who were killed for uncovering a story. The injustice of the situation sparked something within her.

“I felt like, ‘Wow, these people are so brave, they risked their lives to tell a story,’” Hencil recounted. “I’ve always liked writing. I said to myself, ‘I want to do that. I want to be this person who tells the truth.’”

Hencil took her passion for journalism to Brenau in 2018, after receiving a one-year cultural scholarship through the Georgia Rotary Student Program. The graduating senior said she’ll never forget her first day on campus, which marked her first time in the U.S. She remembers interacting with soccer athletes, who helped her move into her dorm, and meeting her first roommate.

“It was overwhelming, but it was a beautiful chaos,” Hencil said. “The only thing I knew about America was through movies and what my brother had told me.”

Related: Sustainability champion Claire Windsor earns Sullivan Award at University of South Carolina

Sydney Hencil

As she waited in line to register for her classes, Hencil said she was tempted to move from the mass communication line into the theatre line. Back at home, she had acted in a performance of “The Lion King,” and she loves dancing.

However, like many journalists, she went with her instincts. She chose mass communication, and within a month, Hencil knew she was where she needed to be. “Within the mass communication program, I was learning how to be on the radio in my first year,” she said. “Not many people can say that. To me, that was amazing. I just really felt that there were more opportunities here for me at Brenau in my program and in what I wanted to do than there would’ve been had I gone to another school.”

Hencil has served as the managing editor for The Alchemist, Brenau’s student newspaper, and was inducted as a member of Alpha Lambda Delta, the national honor society that recognizes academic excellence, leadership and community service in the first year of college.

Additionally, she is president of the Brenau International Club, an International Ambassador, and a member of the Black Student Association.

Meanwhile, Hencil never lost her love for dancing. She’s also a member of Brenau’s competitive dance and spirit cheerleading teams. And she has a real talent for social media, where she shares her love of pop culture—everything from tacos and ramen noodles to K-pop—on The Weekly Tea With Syd on Instagram Reels and posts entertaining TikTok vids that earn thousands of likes.

Related: Duke University Sullivan Award recipients include prison reform advocate and defender of tenants’ rights

If you’ve attended an event on Brenau’s Gainesville campus, you’ve probably seen Hencil. The senior said she makes it a point to meet people of different backgrounds and stay involved at the university. She is also featured in banners around campus for Brenau’s “From Here You Can” campaign, which shines a spotlight on student leaders.

Hencil said one of her best pieces of advice for other international students would be to “make as many local friends as possible” and “don’t be afraid to dive in.”

“As much as you’re scared to talk to other local students and you want to talk to them, they’re thinking the same thing. Just try to be the first one to spark that conversation,” she said. “You have your friends from home, and you have your local friends. You’ll become really immersed in all this culture, and it’s amazing.”

After she graduates in May, Hencil said she plans to work for another year in the U.S. within her field. Right now, she’s particularly interested in writing and filming documentaries, but she’s open to any journalism opportunities that come her way. “Honestly, I’ll be happy with whatever I can land in the media,” she said. “I know I’ll be happy because I love all aspects of it. I love the writing. I love the content creation. I love anything about mass comm. I’m enjoying myself right now.”

This article has been edited and expanded from the original version appearing on the Brenau University website.

Related: Future social worker and future teacher receive Sullivan Awards at Winthrop University