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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

 

Honors Student Who Fed Thousands and Rape Survivor Advocate Receive Sullivan Awards at The Citadel

Sullivan Foundation partner school The Citadel has named two recipients of the prestigious Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award: An honors student who has provided thousands of meals to the food-insecure and stood up for Native Americans and a professor who has advocated for survivors of rape and domestic violence.

Cadet Olivia Jones (pictured above) is an Honors Program student at The Citadel majoring in political science with a concentration in military affairs. Jones also serves as the Papa Company Commander, maintaining company morale while adhering to the highest ethical standards. Jones has demonstrated her commitment as a servant leader throughout her time at The Citadel, creating a Summer Food Service Program providing 3,700 meals to low-income families. She also has promoted quality of life initiatives for Native American families in New Mexico, providing community training for the most vulnerable in those communities.

Related: “The Beloved Community”: Alexus Cumbie’s poetry, policy and passion for changemaking

this photo shows a smiling Kristen Hefner, who won the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award for faculty members at The Citadel

Dr. Kristen Hefner received the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award for her work in the areas of victim advocacy and domestic violence education.

Dr. Kristen Hefner, a professor in the Department of Criminal Justice, has distinguished herself as a teacher-scholar, spearheading community outreach initiatives in the areas of victim advocacy and domestic violence education and creating rich service-learning opportunities for her students. For her service-learning project with People Against Rape, a community non-profit, Hefner and her student were awarded the Good Citizen Award by the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office. Sheriff Al Cannon and community victim advocates seek to continue Hefner’s humanitarian work, with her students having created over 200 uplifting and encouraging cards for survivors who have been impacted by violence.

In partnership with the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Foundation, the Citadel presents the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Awards annually to a student and faculty member in recognition of high thought and noble endeavor.

This story has been edited from the original version on The Citadel’s website.

Related: Ole Miss honors five changemakers with Algernon Sydney Sullivan Awards

 

Rose Denor, Tanner Shivley Earn Algernon Sydney Sullivan Awards at Carson-Newman University

Sullivan Foundation partner school Carson-Newman University announced that Rose Denor and Tanner Shivley are recipients of the 2020 Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award. The recognition is the highest honor the University presents to students.

Scroll down to watch the video presentation of the awards.

A resident of Chattanooga, Denor has pursued a major in history. A Bonner Scholar, Denor has also served as a student development intern this past year for the University’s Center for Community Engagement. The opportunity allowed her to lead the Bonner Scholars Program. An immigrant from Haiti, Denor has had a heart for also helping immigrants and refugees in the community.

photo of Rose Denor, recipient of the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award at Carson-Newman University

Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award winner Rose Denor “cares about making sure that all the people she knows feel seen, loved and valued.”

“[Rose] is a servant leader,” said Bonner Scholars Coordinator Gabby Valentine. “She cares about making sure that all the people she knows feel seen, loved and valued. She goes the extra mile, not because it makes her look good, but because it needs to be done.”

Shivley (pictured at top) is a youth athletics and recreation management major from Fall Branch. “Tanner is one of our hardest working students in our Faith & Justice Scholars Program,” said Dave McNeely, coordinator of the program. “Over the four years he’s been here, he’s always exemplified what it means to just jump in when something needs to be done.”

Related: Sullivan Scholar Sara Busaleh: Serving others “gave me hope when I was hopeless”

Shivley has also helped with tutoring and after-school recreation for elementary school children through the WOW Ministry at First Baptist Church of Jefferson City. A Niswonger Scholar, he’s been credited with always being quick to help those in need.

Both Denor and Shivley have also been active in Jefferson County’s Journey Program, which offers extra support and intervention for high school students.

“We are grateful for Rose and Tanner and all the ways they have represented our university,” said University President Charles A. Fowler. “In their time at Carson-Newman, they both have truly demonstrated what it means to be servant leaders.”

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

The New York Southern Society established the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award in 1890 to honor Sullivan, an Indiana native and Manhattan attorney who was considered a living example of genteel spirit and Christian compassion. The awards, which are donated by the foundation that bears his name, are granted at 68 colleges and universities to graduating seniors, one female and one male, who “excel in high ideals of living, in fine spiritual qualities, and in generous and unselfish service to others.”

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

Paxton Peacock, Natalie Conboy and Chris Nunn Receive Sullivan Awards at Auburn

By Neal Reid

An alumnus with more than two decades of community leadership and a pair of accomplished students recently were tabbed as the 2020 recipients of the prestigious Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award at Sullivan Foundation partner school Auburn University.

Community leader Chris Dernard Nunn, animal sciences and pre-vet major Paxton Wade Peacock, and biomedical sciences and psychology double-major Natalie Elizabeth Conboy are the 2020 recipients of the Sullivan Award, which is given annually by Auburn University to individuals who embody high qualities and nobility of character.

Related: “Service is a lifestyle I live by”: Meet the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award winners at the University of South Carolina

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 has honored Nunn as an exemplary alumnus.

photo of Sullivan Award winner Paxton Peacock with a prize pig

Paxton Peacock (left) shows off a prize NBC Showpigs hog.

Paxton Wade Peacock
Paxton Peacock, from Wicksburg, Alabama, serves as a leader not only in the local community, but also within the state, nation and world. He is the founder of NBC Showpigs, which raises, shows and sells elite show hogs. He also founded an international service organization called Chick-Chain Project, which sends chickens and chicken coops to third-world countries.

Peacock has traveled on a medical mission trip to Guatemala, where he established a library in a rural African community by donating more than 1,000 books, and has helped to rebuild a church for the homeless in Paris. In addition, he supervises his family’s Peacock Farms and works as a healthcare policy intern for the Healthcare Leadership Council in Washington, D.C., and he also managed horses at the Auburn University Equestrian Center.

Related: “The Beloved Community”: Sullivan Award winner Alexus Cumbie’s poetry, policy and passion for changemaking

Peacock is a student in the Honors College, an Undergraduate Research Fellow and is active in the Student Government Association, Undergraduate Research Ambassadors and the Collegiate Board of the National Society of High School Scholars.

After graduation, Peacock will attend medical school at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

photo of Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award winner Natalie Conboy at Auburn University

Natalie Conboy, a winner of the 2020 Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award at Auburn University, is also the President’s Award winner for Auburn’s College of Sciences and Mathematics.

Natalie Elizabeth Conboy
Natalie Conboy, a resident of Birmingham, takes helping others to new levels. Since she was a freshman, she has volunteered as a tutor at the Esperanza House, a local nonprofit that serves low-income Hispanic children and families. She supports academic and personal growth of more than a dozen children in the program through workshops and recreational events.

She is president of the Student Association for Mentoring, where she helps to train and match student mentors with local school children. She also has been part of a number of research projects, including screening community and student participants for traumatic experiences.

Conboy—who also is this year’s President’s Award winner for the College of Sciences and Mathematics at Auburn—has presented her research at national conventions in Washington, D.C., and Atlanta and was named a Fulbright Scholar semifinalist. After graduation, she plans to attend medical school.

photo of Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award winner Chris Nunn of Auburn

Chris Nunn has led Project Uplift at the Lee County Youth Development Center for 20-plus years.

Chris Dernard Nunn
A 1990 graduate from Auburn’s College of Liberal Arts, Nunn upholds the meaning of the Auburn Creed in every way. For more than 20 years, he has served as executive manager of community services for Project Uplift at the Lee County Youth Development Center. He has led the community and university project that has placed more than 10,000 volunteers and children together. To improve the overall experience, Nunn developed a more careful screening process, expanded services the program offers and grew communication and data keeping efforts.

Outside of Project Uplift, Nunn has served on a number of community boards, including the East Alabama Medical Center, the City of Opelika Zoning Board of Adjustments, the Opelika Chamber of Commerce, and the Lee County Department of Human Resources.

A former gospel music radio announcer and juvenile probation officer, Nunn also has been involved with area churches as a youth and young adult choir director, Christian education director and youth minister. He currently serves as pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Hurtsboro, Alabama.

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

Related: Ole Miss honors five changemakers with Algernon Sydney Sullivan Awards

Imani Belton, Gabriel Dias Receive Sullivan Awards at Winthrop University

Sullivan Foundation partner school Winthrop University recognized two graduating seniors—Imani Belton of Simpsonville, South Carolina (pictured above), and Gabriel Dias of Joinville, Brazil—for their service to the campus and community with prestigious Sullivan Awards on May 6.

Since Winthrop’s campus is closed due to the pandemic, the award winners were announced on Facebook.

“We are extremely proud to present these awards each year,” said Shelia Higgs Burkhalter, vice president for student affairs at Winthrop. “Even though we could not celebrate these recipients in person, we still wanted to acknowledge their hard work, service, commitment and leadership that positively impacted Winthrop. These students have left their mark on our university, and we are very grateful for each one’s contributions.”

photo of Imani Belton, winner of the Mary Mildred Sullivan Award at Winthrop University

Imani Belton

Imani Belton, an integrated marketing communication major, received the Mary Mildred Sullivan Award. Belton is the outgoing chair of Winthrop’s Council of Student Leaders (CSL). During her tenure, she regularly gave student body updates to Winthrop’s Board of Trustees. Belton has served as an Academic Success Center tutor, Diversity Peer Educator, Peer Mentor and as a member of the Leadership Institute for First-Timers (LIFT) conference planning committee. She previously served as the CSL’s public relations committee co-chair. Belton also received the division’s Diversity and Student Engagement Award.

Belton is a first-generation college student, and Winthrop was recently recognized by the Center for First-generation Student Success for its efforts to create a positive, productive experience for students like her. “Throughout my time at Winthrop, I’ve been able to connect with first-generation faculty, staff and students, which has made my collegiate experience 10 times better because of bonds we’ve created,” Belton said at the time. “Being a first-generation student is a point of pride for me and other Winthrop students who have benefited from learning on a campus that provides outreach and services for students like us.”

photo of Gabriel Dias, winner of the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award at Winthrop University

Gabriel Dias, winner of the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award, is captain of the men’s tennis team and a noted scholar-athlete.

Business administration major Gabriel Dias captured the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award. A member and two-time captain of the men’s tennis team, Dias displayed leadership on and off the court. He represented Winthrop and the Big South Conference on the student advisory group for the NCAA. The highly selective group consisted of just 32 student-athletes from across the country. Dias also served as president of Winthrop’s Student-Athlete Advisory Council and as a member of the CSL. He stood out in the classroom, earning a spot on the Big South Conference All-Academic Team during his junior year.

This article has been edited from the original story appearing on the Winthrop University website.