A Gifted Artist and a Business Major Receive Sullivan Awards from Carson-Newman University

Carson-Newman University, a Sullivan Foundation partner school, has recognized art major Jessica Borchert and business major Miguel Flores with the highest honor the university presents to its students: the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award.

“We are proud of Jessica and Miguel for what they have accomplished. They have truly demonstrated what it means to be servant-leaders,” said University President Charles A. Fowler. “They leave Carson-Newman with our prayers and blessings on what we are certain are bright futures.”

A resident of Jefferson City, Tenn., Borchert pursued a major in art. She began her time at Carson-Newman at the age of 16 when she was a junior in high school taking dual-enrollment classes. She was the very first high school student to become a Carson-Newman Faith and Justice Scholar. Once she graduated high school and matriculated to C-N, she progressed from Junior Scholar to Scholar and graduated with the record for the longest-serving Faith and Justice Scholar.

Related: Three servant leaders receive Algernon Sydney Sullivan Awards from Shenandoah University

Through her time as a Faith and Justice Scholar, Borchert served multiple community partners, ranging from Appalachian Outreach to East TN Children’s Hospital to Mossy Creek Counseling and more. She has also been recognized for her artistic accomplishments, including being showcased in over a dozen solo and group exhibitions as well as taking home multiple prizes for her filmmaking, including first prize in the Student Competition of the 2017 Knoxville Film Festival.

“During her tenure at Carson-Newman, Jessica has set herself apart in academics and service and has embodied the C-N values of truth, beauty and goodness,” said Dave McNeely, coordinator of the Faith and Justice Scholars program.

Flores, a business major, hails from Gatlinburg. Tenn. As a Bonner Scholar, he logged more than 1,650 service hours during his time at Carson-Newman, more than any other senior in his class. He volunteered at the Jefferson City Public Library, Habitat for Humanity and the Center for Community Engagement.

“He is extremely intelligent and has used his knowledge of business and practical skill set to directly benefit our sites and projects many times over,” said Center for Community Engagement Director Matt Bryant Cheney. “He is a critical thinker with a strong moral compass who makes every team better that he’s a part of.”

This article has been edited slightly from the original version appearing on the Carson-Newman University website.


The Church and the Classroom Are Holy Places for Dr. Ray Penn

By Meagan Harkins

“To me, the greatest fun is helping someone else, but our culture doesn’t teach that,” said Dr. Ray Penn, a 2001 recipient of the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Community Member Award at Lincoln Memorial University. “Our culture teaches you to be self-centered, to do something nice for yourself today, that you ‘deserve this.’”

Penn, 72, sees things a little differently. A retired minister, college chaplain, hospital chaplain and professor of speech, philosophy and religious studies, he long ago discovered the joy of devoting his time, energy and prayer to serving others. This mindset was influenced by a seminary professor, Dr. Harry Taylor, who once told him, “We come into this world naked, bald and penniless. And we leave life pretty much naked, pretty much bald and pretty much penniless. And everything in the middle is stewardship—using what you have been given to help someone else.”

Much of Penn’s stewardship has been in the form of counseling. The major problems he has seen revolve around lack of purpose and suicidal thoughts. He regularly worked with individuals on the brink of committing suicide and walked alongside families who lost loved ones to suicide.

Related: Danielle Biggs: “Lean into Your Truest Self and Lead Out Loud!”

Now retired from formal counseling, Penn is a respondent for Quora, a question-and-answer website, where 80,000 users have read his responses to questions about the meaning of life, relationship issues and religion.

“What astounds me and pains me is how many young adults in their 20s and 30s say they have done everything they have ever wanted to and no longer have meaning in life,” he said. They often feel like a kid who can peer inside a candy store—where everyone looks happy and seems to be having a great time—but cannot find the doorknob, he noted.

“Talking about it and receiving proper medication will help you find that doorknob,” Penn said.

When Uncle Louie Comes to Visit
He speaks and coaches from personal experience, as he inherited depression from his father, who inherited it from his father. Penn first received medication for depression at age 50. “From then on, I actually knew what happiness was,” he recalled.

Penn found it both challenging and refining to be a spiritual father to many while experiencing such spiritual darkness. “It was an education in you-don’t-always-have-to-feel-the-presence-of-God,” he said. “Sometimes you have to hold on with your mind to what your heart is not feeling.”

To cope with it, Penn gave his depression a name, “Uncle Louie,” as an acknowledgement and reminder that it was not synonymous with himself—more like a relative who comes to visit. With regular medication and therapy, Penn has kept Uncle Louie further away and learned to recognize the triggers that may invite him back for a visit.

It was a Jewish psychiatrist who first prescribed antidepressants to Penn. Dr. Jerry Lemler met Penn when he joined Penn’s congregation for one Sunday. “Jerry used to say that our worship service, which included a confession of our sins, did more mental health work in an hour than he was able to do with patients in a week,” Penn remembers. “He said, ‘You don’t know how many people want to hear that they can be forgiven.’”

Along with teaching God’s mercy, Penn believes the best evangelism is relational. “I found it better to ask good questions than to make long statements,” he said. This includes giving people a space to name their feelings while guiding them to discover their own self-core. “It’s the grace that comes, that love that will never let you go, that love that will help you make it through.”

“People have written hundreds of books on happiness, and I pretty much know it comes down to just this: Happiness is like a bird,” he said. “If you try to run toward it, it will fly away. If you put yourself in the center and want something to make you happy, it will fly away. But if you throw your life into helping others, happiness will perch on your shoulder. Happiness is a byproduct of servanthood.”

During a trip to Greece, Penn posed for this photo in the spot where the apostle Paul preached to the Athenians near the Parthenon.

Divine Mercy
Ironically, Penn, an only child, wasn’t raised in a Christian home. Quite the opposite. His mother was Roman Catholic, but his dad forbade her from wearing Christian jewelry or having any religious paintings or statues in the house.

He grew up in Loda, Illinois, a hamlet of just 520 people. His mother, who had a sixth-grade education, taught Penn to read early on, and his favorite entertainment was going to the library.

As an eight-year-old, he also loved exploring their house. “In my mom’s closet, she had this picture [that showed] Jesus’ heart bleeding for others,” he said. “Later, in a dream, that Jesus came to me and just called me by name.”

Related: Rollins College alumnus creates safe haven for families impacted by AIDS

Penn was a Christian from then on, attending the local Methodist church with his maternal grandmother. After suffering a broken leg, Penn had to be pushed down the alley in a heavy, wooden wheelchair. Men in the church then picked up his chair, carried him over the stairs and placed him in the corner to worship. “I didn’t know what was going on, but I knew it must be important for my grandmother and those men to do what they did,” Penn said.

Those same men eventually became like fathers to him. Each year, one of the men bought an extra ticket for the father-son banquet and took Penn to the event as their own. “They never made it feel like a charity case, and those men mentored me in the faith,” he recalled.

Dr. Penn at the age of 4, after being injured by a car

When Penn was 15, his minister, Reverend Marvin Snapp, gifted him with the book, “Conversion,” by E. Stanley Jones, which Penn read during his first-period class at school. “It was not a revival that brought me to Christ,” he said. “I just felt enveloped by this love that will not let me go.”

Decades later, people sometimes ask him: Doesn’t college ruin faith? “I have seven degrees, and nothing has ruined my faith yet,” he said. “You have to know how to defend your faith, which I help students do. I have not learned anything that is true that has ever challenged my faith.”

Shaping the Future
Penn felt called to teaching after 10 years in pastoral ministry. “There is something important to me about the classroom,” he said. “I always dress up for holy places—church and the classroom.”

He taught at Radford University in Virginia beginning in 1986. After 11 years, he returned to ministry in Tennessee, pastoring a church across the street from Lincoln Memorial University, where he was a professor of philosophy and religion for 13 years. It was there that he received the Sullivan Award in 2001, honoring his counseling and ability to motivate students.

At the ceremony, Penn admits he found himself gazing off into the bleachers as he waited for the ceremony’s end, when he would deliver the benediction. “When they listed the academic credentials of the [Sullivan Award recipient] and mentioned McDendree College, I wondered who else on the faculty went to that college. By the time they mentioned Wesley Seminary, I was utterly shocked to realize it was me. I was totally speechless, which is a rarity for me.”

Related: Alice Lloyd College grads reflect on decades of teaching Kentucky’s youth

“The award confirmed that when you focus on making others happy, then happiness comes to stay in your life,” Penn said. The award plaque now hangs on the wall of his office, and the Sullivan Medallion sits on his desk. “The award is a permanent reminder that others saw how my life has brought happiness to others. The fact that others were watching that still surprises and blesses me.”

Penn’s teaching style was dynamic and vibrant, always striving to engage students. For some lectures, he showed up wearing items from his large collection of hats and costumes. “I will do anything to keep the interest of students, in some cases waking them up, to get them excited about what I’m excited about,” he said.

His students surprised him almost every day in the classroom. “There’s this wonderful electric moment where everyone in class knows you’re talking about something important, and some student responds to my question in a way I have never thought about before.”

“I’m sort of a romantic,” Penn added. “I look at these students, and it’s my way of shaping the future.” Students need more than just a professor, he believes—they need a role model, someone standing with them at the crossroads of life. “You’re not just teaching the mind,” he said. “You’re helping to mold character.”

Penn married Gretchen Hakola in 2009 after meeting her at Northwestern University. Today, they’re retired and living in LaFollette, Tennessee. Every week, they go to the movies together at the Regal in Knoxville. He’s also working on his autobiography and teaches a radio course in an adult continuing-education program.

Reflecting on the self-quarantine induced by COVID-19, he said, “I have learned how important connections are. It has dangled in front of us, a need every day to think about everyone else around us … the fact that we’re connected to others.”

The past year has been a sobering one for Penn as he has witnessed his peers struggle with isolation. “We need to keep reminding ourselves that we’re connected to everyone else in this country and in the world,” he said.

“The Sullivan Foundation has a hard road to changing this self-centered attitude in our culture,” he added. “I’m honored to help it in any way I can. There has to be a counter voice to the voices of self-centeredness and selfishness.”


Lucy Burch, a “Unicorn” at Huntingdon College, Honored With Sullivan Award

Lucy Burch, a recent graduate of Sullivan Foundation partner school Huntingdon College, describes herself as a “multi-passionate personality.” Rev. Rhett Butler, Huntingdon’s chaplain, calls her a “unicorn,” an athlete, changemaker and spiritual leader on the campus.

Burch can now add another descriptor to her resume: She’s her alma mater’s 2021 recipient of the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award.

A native of Florence, Alabama, Burch was a star on the Huntingdon Hawks tennis team, a USA South Athletic Conference All-Sportsmanship Team selection and an ITA Scholar Athlete. She also served as president of the Student Government Association, a Huntingdon Ambassador, a member of Campus Ministries and the Community Coordinator of the Huntingdon Leadership Academy.

“Her most significant contribution to campus life is her work within Campus Ministries,” Butler said. “I do not have any other student that comes close to the amount of work, prayer and joy that Lucy brings to the ministry. To be frank, I am not sure I would have made it through my first few years in college ministry without Lucy’s steadfastness.”

Burch will attend Asbury Theological Seminary at Duke Divinity School in the fall of 2021. And her optimistic outlook and faith will likely take her far. In the midst of the pandemic, after the tennis season was canceled, she said, When it comes to situations like the state the world is in, I think of this analogy. Not everyone is the supporting character or the extras in the movie of your life. It is not all about you. Other people have their own movies being filmed too. We have to look at the big picture. When we do that, it leads to community, which I believe is what truly makes the world go around … We are all in this together.”

Related: UA Sullivan Award recipients focus on food insecurity, drug and alcohol addiction

“You are not alone,” she added. “In fact, you are seen and heard. We are all sitting in darkness right now, but the darkness cannot overcome the light. In the words of Kate Bowler, ‘The second to last thing is always way worse than the very last thing.’ This is not the end, but only the beginning of something brand new.”

Burch said she chose Huntingdon because she wanted to play tennis for the Hawks. “But I still wanted to feed my multi-passionate personality,” she explained. “I wanted to be able to be a student leader as well as an athlete. Huntingdon provides the opportunity for you to do that and thrive.”

And thrive she did, as a Dean’s List Scholar throughout her four years at Huntingdon as well as a member of the Order of Omega, Lambda Pi Eta and Gamma Sigma Alpha honors society and the Chi Omega sorority.

“Lucy is a bit of a unicorn for Huntingdon College,” Butler noted. “She has a clear sense of calling, a multitude of spiritual gifts, and a well of faith that will sustain her for years to come. She is a blessing to this campus in every way.”

Troy University Recognizes Three Changemakers With Sullivan Awards

Troy University, a Sullivan Foundation partner school, has honored two students and a faculty member with the 2021 Algernon Sydney Sullivan Awards.

The awards were presented to Oshea D. Beckford, a senior criminal justice major from Huntsville, Ala.; Martavious Ginyard, a senior theatre major from Troy, Ala.; and Annie Percy, an English-as a-second-language instructor. They received the Sullivan Awards during a luncheon in their honor on the Troy campus. The recipients were also honored during the university’s annual Honors Convocation on April 19.

Related: This Sullivan Award recipient is also a gymnastics star at Auburn University

The Sullivan Award, which is presented at select colleges and universities throughout the United States, recognizes recipients for their excellence of character, humanitarian service and spiritual qualities. The award has been presented annually to a male student, a female student and one non-student at Troy University since 1981. Students, faculty and staff nominate candidates for the award.

“We feel it is appropriate that we present the Sullivan Awards at Troy University because it reflects our focus on leadership and the importance of integrity in leadership,” said Dr. Jack Hawkins, Jr., the university’s chancellor. “These values, I believe, are more important in our society today than ever before.”

Troy University Chancellor Jack Hawkins presents the Sullivan Award to Oshea Beckford.

Beckford, who will graduate this spring and plans to attend law school, has served as a Student Government Association senator during 2021 and vice president of the Criminal Justice Honor Society Alpha Phi Sigma. She has been included on the Provost’s List each semester since enrolling at Troy.

Beckford founded Project Purpose, an initiative created to bridge the socioeconomic gap that hinders certain youth in Jamaica from achieving their educational goals.

Martavious Ginyard (second from right) and his family receive the Sullivan Award from Janice Hawkins at Troy University.

Ginyard has performed with the university’s touring group, the Pied Pipers, and appeared in many of the theatre department’s productions, including “Mamma Mia!” An artist and designer, Ginyard has his own business, Martavious Ginyard Artwork.

Ginyard has served as a leader for the department’s Summer Spotlight Camp and is a volunteer with the Troy Animal Clinic and Troy Animal Rescue Project. He is a member of The Vine Church and an active participant in the congregation’s college small group ministry.

Annie Percy accepts her Sullivan Award from Troy University Chancellor Jack Hawkins.

Percy first began teaching at Troy as an adjunct instructor in 2008 and has been a full-time member of the ESL faculty since 2014. Always demonstrating a heart for serving others, Percy is an active volunteer for organizations such as the Salvation Army, Save-A-Life and the Montgomery Food Bank, among others.

She and her husband Larry, a member of the University’s Art and Design faculty, regularly host events and gatherings for Troy’s international students who are unable to travel home during the summer or holiday seasons.

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

Esteemed Professor, Two Students Receive 2021 Sullivan Award from Auburn University

By Neal Reid, Auburn University

A highly esteemed professor and a pair of exemplary students at Sullivan Foundation partner school Auburn University have been selected as the 2021 recipients of the prestigious Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award.

Political Science Professor Steven Brown and College of Sciences and Mathematics (COSAM) students William Illiano and Meredith Sylvia are this year’s recipients of the award, which is given annually by the university to individuals who embody high qualities and nobility of character.

Related: Auburn’s Sullivan Award recipients are part of a proud lineage dating back 70 years

Brown is the Morris Savage Endowed Chair for the Department of Political Science in the College of Liberal Arts (CLA). Illiano is a biomedical sciences major, and Sylvia is majoring in organismal biology.

Steven Brown—an Auburn professor since 1998—recently won the Award for Excellence in Faculty Outreach as part of Auburn’s 2020 Faculty Awards. He is an expert in everything from constitutional law and church-and-state issues to the Supreme Court and American legal history. He was the inaugural recipient of the Auburn University Parents Association’s Faculty Award in 2018.

Brown is a National Society of Collegiate Scholars Faculty of the Year Award recipient, is heavily involved in the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute as an instructor and guest lecturer and is an award-winning writer who has been published regularly since 2002. He received the National Communication Association’s Franklyn S. Haiman Award for Distinguished Scholarship in Freedom of Expression in 2005 for his book, “Trumping Religion: The New Christian Right, The Free Speech Clause and the Courts.”

Brown’s article, “The Girard Will and Twin Landmarks of Supreme Court History,” received the Supreme Court Historical Society’s 2017 Hughes-Gossett Senior Prize, which was awarded by Chief Justice John Roberts. Earlier this year, Brown’s book, “Alabama Justice: The Cases and Faces That Changed a Nation”—the companion book to his award-winning traveling exhibition—was awarded the Anne B. and James B. McMillian Prize in Southern History, and the exhibit was named a finalist for the 2020 Silver Gavel Award for Media and the Arts by the American Bar Association.

William Illiano

William Illiano, an Honors College member, has been awarded the Spirit of Auburn Presidential scholarship, served as president of Campus Kitchens and performed as an alto saxophonist in the Auburn University Marching Band and saxophone jazz band.

Related: Meet Auburn University’s 2020 Sullivan Award recipients

Illiano, who is from Fairhope, Alabama, has participated in a National Institutes of Health-funded study investigating racial disparities in health and sleep and has made the Dean’s List every semester since fall 2017. After graduation, he will become part of the Class of 2025 at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine.

Meredith Sylvia

Meredith Sylvia was a standout four-year member of the Auburn gymnastics team and was named to the Southeastern Conference Academic Honor Roll from 2018-20. She served as a research volunteer in Placencia, Belize, where she surveyed local reefs and helped extract invasive lionfish.

Sylvia, who hails from Macungie, Pennsylvania, has dedicated herself to helping younger students by participating in Our House—a program that helps middle school students and provides encouragement and positive behavior for learning. After graduation, Sylvia plans to earn a Master of Arts in teaching and become a middle school science teacher.

Related: Read more about Meredith Sylvia’s commitment to serving others here.

The Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award has been presented at Auburn since 1951 as a reminder of the noblest human qualities exemplified by Algernon Sydney Sullivan, a prominent humanitarian and first president of the New York Southern Society, now the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Foundation. Each year, Auburn bestows the honor on one male and one female student from the graduating class and this year also honored Brown as an exemplary faculty member.

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


Julie Copeland: Time Can Be Your Greatest Ally and Your Worst Enemy

Julie Copeland
1998 Mary Mildred Sullivan Award Recipient
Wofford College

Since receiving the Mary Mildred Sullivan Award as a senior at Wofford College, Julie Copeland (pictured above with her husband) went on to live a truly stellar life of service in addition to her successful career in human resources. She shares some wisdom about using your time wisely, both in your own day-to-day life and as a gift you offer to others.

Were you surprised to receive the Sullivan Award? What do you think you did to receive the award?

I was most surprised and also absolutely delighted! I think my involvement on campus as a leader in various organizations, including serving as Panhellenic President and being a Bonner Scholar, led to my consideration for the award.

Tell us about your career and what you do now. How did you choose your career? Why did you go into this particular field?

I’m an HR executive. I chose the HR profession because I feel that human capital is an organization’s greatest asset, and, hence, I wanted to have an influence and impact on people.

Are you involved with any community service or community outreach now?

I am heavily involved in my community and have served on numerous professional and civic boards. Giving back through my time and treasure has shaped me as a leader in countless, positive ways. I am a director with the National League of Junior Cotillions. I also serve as a trustee with the Greensboro History Museum and was past board chair and president. I’m president of the Belle Meade Society, a former trustee of the Greensboro Public Library, a past president of the Junior League of Greensboro, past chair of Guilford Technical Community College’s Business and Advisory Board, and a former board member of the Human Resources Management Association of Greensboro.

The Foundation promotes positive social change in its programming and overall message. What are some social issues that matter most to you today?

Education, work and occupations and public health.

If pressed to give one piece of advice to younger people, what would you tell them?

Appreciate your time. It can and will be your greatest ally and your worst enemy. Covet your time as a very important treasure. Time is a gift. Gift your time in ways that make a difference. Spend your time very wisely. Invest your time with people and priorities that matter. Honor your time. Respect others’ time. Above all, make your time count.

Shenandoah University Alumnus Nate Copeland of InTec, LLC Supports U.S. National Security Efforts

Nate Copeland
Shenandoah University
1985 Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award Recipient

As president of InTec, LLC, Nate Copeland helps protect our national security by providing technical and management expertise to U.S. civil, defense and intelligence agencies. We caught up with Copeland to learn about his life’s adventures and passions since receiving the Sullivan Award at Shenandoah University in 1985.

What do you remember most about receiving the Sullivan award? Were you surprised?
I was very surprised! I didn’t know much about the award at the time, but I felt so honored to receive it as a student. I am not exactly sure who nominated me for the award, but I am pretty sure it was Dr. Brandt. He was a great professor that I really looked up to during college.

What do you do now?
I am president of InTec, LLC, a defense contracting company that focuses on intelligence. After college, I joined the Air Force as an Imagery Intelligence Officer and fell in love with it. I had no idea what I was doing, but they Air Force-trained me, and I really learned to love what I do. I worked for some big firms after the Air Force and was excited to come on board at my current firm and build it to the company it is today. We went from having just five employees in 2012, and we will have close to 190 by the end of this year.

What do you do outside of work? What are you passionate about?
I am passionate about helping the special-needs community, specifically in our hometown. My wife and I started the EMBRACE Special Needs Ministry at our church a few years ago, and I sit on the board for Joni & Friends of Ohio. Our daughter is pursuing a career in social work and really inspired us to be more involved with organizations that help those with special needs and people with disabilities.

If you could give one piece of advice to young people now, what would it be?
Life has to be more than work! We need to pick a slate of “life electives” and have those balance the work.

Dewey and Barbara Trogdon, Berenice Fuentes Juarez Honored With Sullivan Awards from Guilford College

Sullivan Foundation partner school Guilford College has presented the prestigious Algernon Sydney Sullivan Awards for 2020 to Dewey and Barbara Trogdon from the Guilford community and Berenice Fuentes Juarez from the student body.

Dewey Trogdon is a Guilford College alumnus who graduated in 1958. He and Barbara, his wife, have lived their lives rooted in working-class values formed as children growing up through the Great Depression and World War II. Those formative years informed their strong work ethic, generosity and focus on family, friends and individuals in need of a hand from time to time. Together, Dewey and Barbara represent grace, giving, friendship and a sense of community, according to a Guilford College press release.

Related: Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award winner Justala Simpson of Huntingdon College prepares for a career in ministry

Berenice Fuentes Juarez, the oldest daughter of Mexican parents, identifies as Mexican-American and is a first-generation college student—now a Guilford alumna. Raised in Oakland, California, she double majored in public health and biology with a minor in Spanish, all while building an exceptional record of leadership and service at Guilford.

Juarez worked with Soy un Lider, an annual college preparation and empowerment conference for Latinx and refugee students hosted by Guilford College, and Latinx Impact, a community-based program for high-school students, as well as campus organization Hispanos Unidos de Guilford. She also served as a research assistant for 200- and 300-level biology courses taught by Professor Melanie Lee-Brown.

Dewey and Barbara Trogdon
Dewey Trogdon is the former CEO and chairman of Cone Mills and past president of the American Textile Manufacturers Institute. He has been a mentor to many in the business world.

He also is an amateur historian on two counts: about the former Atlantic and Yadkin Railway and the town of Summerfield, N.C., where he and Barbara were born. As a young volunteer firefighter, Dewey used his mechanical skills to help build many of the original fire trucks for the Summerfield Volunteer Fire Department. He also served as an assistant chief of the department and provided care for people injured in accidents and fires when emergency services were scarce.

Related: Steffi Kong, winner of the Mary Mildred Sullivan Award at Converse College, “excels at everything she does.”

In a letter to the editor of the Greensboro News and Record in 2000, Dewey, a Korean War veteran, wrote: “For me, Korea was the beginning of an aversion toward shedding our blood and national wealth and committing young Americans to oblivion as a result of uncertain national goals.”

Dewey graduated from Guilford with a bachelor’s degree in economics and completed additional study at Harvard University, the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and the University of Virginia. He has received Guilford’s Alumni Excellence Award and Charles C. Hendricks ’40 Distinguished Service Award. He and Barbara have been loyal benefactors to Guilford College and are members of the Macon Society (total gifts of more than $1 million) and Francis T. King Society (with a planned gift). Dewey served as a member of the Guilford College Board of Trustees from 1980 to 2004 and has been a Trustee Emeritus since then.

Barbara and Dewey Trogdon, community recipients of the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award for 2020 at Guilford College.

When reflecting on contributions both of his parents have made to Guilford and the larger Triad community, their son Mark Trogdon, a 1983 graduate, said their acts of service have followed “a basic tenant of, it’s what you do to help others/organizations because you believe it is necessary to help them.”

Mark added that for decades his mother Barbara “has provided financial support to numerous hard-working people striving to create a sustainable existence and promising future for themselves and their families. She has done this without fanfare, driven by a genuine goal of simply helping others while maintaining their dignity and integrity … not drawing attention upon herself or those in need,” he said. “She did this when we had minimal family resources and later on in life when they (my parents) had more to share.”

“I am extraordinarily proud of my parents and (of) Guilford for recognizing them,” he said.

Berenice Fuentes Juarez
In 2019, Juarez was honored by the N.C. Campus Compact with its annual Community Impact Service Award, given to students who demonstrate a deep commitment to community involvement and an ability to inspire their peers. Juarez was one of only 22 students statewide to receive the Community Impact Service Award last year, first presented by the Campus Compact in 2006.

The fact that Juarez has received that kind of recognition, including this year’s Sullivan Award, is no surprise to her biology professor, Dr. Melanie Lee-Brown. Lee-Brown met and first taught Juarez when, in her sophomore year, Juarez enrolled in her Scientific Inquiry: Bioterrorism class. At that time, the Scientific Inquiry course was part of core course work for biology majors, Lee-Brown said. She described the class as the “first introduction to self-generated research” for students in the major.

Related: Davidson College bestows Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award on student with a heart for the homeless

Typically, students in the class are organized in groups of four to design a research project around a prompt from the professor. “She (Juarez) did really well,” Lee-Brown said.  “[W]ithin her group, I recognized that she was a leader. She was one that was always working towards them setting goals and getting those goals accomplished within their group. And beyond that, she was somebody that really seemed to care about the folks in her group.”

Juarez is not only “very service-minded,” but also a broad thinker, Lee-Brown said. She is someone with the ability to bring people of different backgrounds together and “help to get people excited about the work. That was both inside and outside the classroom,” Lee-Brown said, whether Juarez was rallying classmates to volunteer with a Soy un Lider conference or ensuring biology students had access to extra lab time and other resources they needed.

“She faced a lot of adversity in her personal life on top of all of this,” Lee-Brown noted, “so it’s even more amazing what she ended up accomplishing in her time here.”

“She’s been through a lot and she has a lot of strength,” the professor added. “I think she has a lot more strength than she thinks she does at some points.”

After reflecting on Juarez’s growth during her studies at Guilford—as a leader, a female scientist and a young woman of color juggling many responsibilities—Lee-Brown summed up her thoughts about her former student and advisee: “She’s an excellent combination of strength and softness, and outward responsibility, and caring and maturity. “This (Sullivan) award was perfect for her, because it did highlight so much that is Berenice.”

If the academic year had concluded as planned for Guilford’s Class of 2020, the graduates would have been joined in celebration on the campus quad last month by this year’s Sullivan Award recipients. Instead, with spring commencement plans halted by the global COVID-19 pandemic, current plans call for all three 2020 Sullivan Award honorees to be recognized at Guilford’s 2021 commencement.

This article was edited slightly from the original version appearing on the Guilford College website.


The Run for Black Lives: Josh Nadzam Raises Funds for NAACP in 26-Mile Marathon

Josh Nadzam, a 2012 Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award winner and graduate of the University of Kentucky, has never been the kind of person who runs away from problems—he runs to solve them. Raised by a single mother in the housing projects of Pittsburgh, Nadzam used his talent and skills as a scholar-athlete to escape grinding poverty, winning a full scholarship with the Wildcats’ track and field team and becoming one of the top milers in the SEC.

More recently he ran to bring awareness to another problem: police brutality and racial inequity. Nadzam, a social entrepreneur and cofounder of On the Move Art Studio in Lexington, Kentucky, ran 26 miles from Lexington to Frankfort, Kentucky, in a fundraiser for the Kentucky NAACP on Friday, June 19. Despite conceiving and organizing the event in less than a week, he ended up raising more than $7,000 from 130 donors. Prior to the marathon, we asked Nadzam to talk about his commitment to social justice, the Black Lives Matter movement and his belief that “an injustice to one is an injustice to all.”

Related: How Josh Nadzam outran poverty and uses art to change kids’ lives

Sullivan Foundation: What inspired you to take this on? How did you get the idea?

Josh Nadzam: Racism, discrimination and the injustices experienced by black Americans are completely unacceptable, and I want to do everything I can to play my role in dismantling the systemic structures that perpetuate these issues. I want to be an ally, fight for social justice, and make our country welcoming and fair for all Americans. I’m always trying to think of various ways I can effect change, so in addition to policy changes, protests, and other forms of activism, I believe each one of us has a set of skills we can use to contribute to the cause. Mine happens to be running. So I thought I could raise awareness for this issue and also raise funds for an organization that is constantly fighting this battle by running from my home city to our capitol in Kentucky.

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Josh Nadzam crosses the finish line in the Wesley Waddle 5K Run in 2017.

Sullivan Foundation: What does the Black Lives Matter movement mean to you personally?

Nadzam: To me, it is an expression that the black community feels like their lives do not matter as much as other lives. It’s a rallying cry to draw attention to deep, systemic issues that have existed for centuries. One of my favorite quotes is, “An injustice to one is an injustice to all.” So, while I’ll never be able to relate to what it is like to be black in America, if anyone hurts in America, then I hurt, too. Their pain is my pain. We’re all in this together, so I won’t rest until we fix this.

Sullivan Foundation: I know you’re a physically fit guy, but 26 miles! Wow! Will this be a breeze for you, or do you see it as a serious challenge?

Nadzam: It’s definitely going to be challenging, but, fortunately, I’ve run a few marathons before which are 26.2 miles, so I at least have an idea of what it’ll feel like. But it’ll still be hard—and very hot that day!

Sullivan Foundation: Do you have other people running with you?

Nadzam: There is at least one other person who is going to run the whole way with me. A few others have expressed interest in running a portion of it with me. I wish we could have a ton of people run, but, unfortunately, there isn’t really a safe route to run from Lexington to Frankfort with a large crowd.

Sullivan Foundation: As more and more young people begin to join this protest movement, what do you think they need to know to serve as effective allies?

Nadzam: I think what we all need to do as effective allies is to listen, be humble, approach these situations without defensiveness, and recognize as white people that we have privileges that allow us to navigate America in a much different and safer way than people of color. Also, this fight is a marathon, not a sprint. While it is “trending” right now, this issue is going to take decades to resolve. We need everyone to get engaged and stay engaged long after this conversation fades away from the national spotlight.

Postscript: Ten people joined Nadzam for part of the 26-mile run with one person, Gavin Galanes, completing it with him. “The sun was unforgiving, and there was no shade the entire way,” Nadzam later posted on Instagram. “I got pretty sick once I was home, but it was all worth it.”

Rhodes College Presents Two Students, Community Leader With Sullivan Awards

Sullivan Foundation partner school Rhodes College has conferred the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award and the Mary Mildred Sullivan Award on two students and one community member for the 2019-2020 school year.

Maggie Palopoli
Maggie Palopoli, a biology and molecular biology major and religious studies minor from Covington, La., has dedicated her time at Rhodes to service and love for members of the community around her.

As a board member for the Rhodes chapter of the Food Recovery Network, Palopoli has demonstrated her commitment to feeding the Memphis community while reducing food waste. As a former Kinney coordinator doing work with interfaith organizations in Memphis, she helped build relationships with—and expose students to—the work of many community partners in Memphis. As a Resident Assistant, she ensured the safety of other students while serving as a source of emotional support for her residents.

Related: Steffi Kong, recipient of the Mary Mildred Sullivan Award at Converse College, “excels at everything she does”

During her semester abroad, Palopoli focused on researching how the Italian healthcare system cares for the Muslim migrant population in Bologna and how the system could be improved to treat patients more ethically in populations of varying religious and cultural backgrounds.

Palopoli’s peers said her incredible compassion for everyone she meets is obvious to all who interact with her and that her kind nature shows in her commitment to the Rhodes community and to Memphis at large.

Saneela Tameez
Saneela Tameez, a psychology major and political science minor from Memphis, Tenn., has been a strong advocate for an inclusive campus focused on the needs of Rhodes students. Her work with the Muslim Student Association has helped bring awareness to issues the Muslim community faces.

A member of the Class Council, Tameez coordinated campus events including Pizza and Politics discussions, where she used her diplomatic skills to help facilitate scholarly conversations on campus. She is passionate about justice and fairness for those most vulnerable and truly cares about those around her.

Related: Davidson College bestows Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award on student with a heart for the homeless

Tameez has served as a Peer Assistant and has mentored new students and gone out of her way to ensure that all students feel like Rhodes is their home. Her peers describe her as a ray of light, a role model and an advocate in every sphere she is involved in on campus. They said Tameez tilted the scales of Rhodes culture to be more loving, considerate, and vocal to injustices.

Aubrey Howard
Aubrey Howard, the recipient of the Sullivan community award, has always made himself available to serve his alma mater. A mentor to many Rhodes students and alumni, the Memphis resident has always been willing to share career and networking advice, having had extensive experience in banking, commercial development, non-profit leadership and city government.

Active in the Rhodes Alumni network, Aubrey served as a member of the Alumni Executive Board and as the inaugural president of the Black Alumni Chapter, providing extraordinary leadership and guidance to the college in its goals to become more diverse and inclusive. He recently served as a member of the college’s 20-30-50 Planning Committee and has expanded the college’s network of support in both local and national circles.

Rhodes College President Hass said, “We are grateful for Aubrey Howard’s courage, resilience, energy and leadership. He has been a friend and mentor to generations of Rhodes students. His love for his alma mater is visible to all who know him.”

Related: University of Alabama Sullivan Award winner Malik Seals is on a quest to cure multiple sclerosis