By Ebbie Davis
Chapel seemed like any other May 6, until Union University’s professors walked in with their robes, hoods and banners beginning the season of commencement ceremonies.
The annual Awards Day chapel honored the achievements of Union students who have gone above and beyond for their majors and practices, in order to achieve greatness.
Union faculty, staff and students awarded Dr. Keith Bates, associate professor of history, the Faculty of the Year Award in honor of his leadership and ability to put students on the top of his priority list.
Union also awarded Robbie Graves, assistant vice president for undergraduate admissions, the Staff Member of the Year Award. Graves was characterized as one of Union’s “biggest fans” because everywhere he goes he tells people about Union and its students.
During the ceremony more than 70 students, faculty and staff were awarded for their talents. Forty-three Academic Excellence Medals were given out, recognizing graduating seniors with the highest grade point averages in their field of study.
The winners of this medal are as follows: Kelsey Nagy, art; Faris Adam Bakeer, biology; Jill Frank, chemistry; Ryan Allen Hoover, advertising; Joel Alex Green, broadcast journalism; Jordan James Hatchell, digital media studies; Angela Ruth Abbamonte, journalism; Rachel Joy Golias, public relations; Mikias M. Seid, computer science; Richard Kyle Harris engineering; Elizabeth A. Davis, English; Elizabeth Marie Blevins, history; Charlotte C. Kline, applied linguistics; Emily Louise Alm, French; Shannon Leslie Dempsey, Spanish; Emily Louise Alm, teaching English as a second language; Mikias M. Seid, intercultural studies; Kristin Darling Nettle, mathematics; Anna Elizabeth Choate, music; Anna Raines Wicker, music with a bachelor of arts degree; Emily Joanne Logan, music performance; Kelsey Alecia Samples, music education; Edward Scott Yarbro Jr., physics; Laura Alison Grossberndt, political science; Tiffany L. Best, psychology; Deborah Lily Lai, accounting; Kyndal Keoki Bradford, business administration; Brad T. Boswell, economics; Susan Lusk Krigbaum, organizational leadership; Joy Lanee Howard, learning foundations; Emily Suzanne Peden, elementary education; Catherine Elizabeth Jenkins, special education; Clayton Harris Mallard, athletic training; Roberta Elaine Turner, physical education and health; Kelsey Amanda Duling, sports management; India Irene Carter, sports medicine; Amber Jean Gaylord, social work; Mary Lou Verbois, nursing; Shawn Emrich Chandler, biblical studies; Sarah Daniel Johnson, biblical studies-languages; Brad T. Boswell, Christian ethics; R. Justin Cole, philosophy; and Micah Derek Gentle, Christian studies.
The awards given to students for outstanding work in their fields or organizations are as follows: the Barnabas Leadership Award to Luke Allison and Courtney Allen; the Bettye and Kermit Whiteaker Freshman Biology Award to Brandon Churchill; the Bettye and Kermit Whiteaker Chemistry Award to Samantha Howard; the Bill Truex Award in Computer Science to Mikias M. Seid; the Broadman and Holman Award to Hunter Bragg; the Dr. Bill Bouchillon Psychology Excellence Award to Corey Brawner; the Chi Omega Award to Holly Stevens; the Kappa Delta Memorial Scholarship to Michelle Kossick; the Kyle L. Hathcox Memorial Physics Award to Emilie Huffman; the Zeta Tau Alpha Award to Elizabeth A. Davis; the Curtiss E. Scott Business Excellence Award to Deborah Lilly Lai; the Engineering Through Service Award to Claire Elmblad; the Fred DeLay Memorial Award to Kayla Hudson; the John C. Moore Award to Kelsey Duling and Micah Gentle; the Kina S. Mallard Communication Arts Student of the Year Award to Angela Abbamonte; the Georgia Wilson Memorial Award for Clinical Nursing to Mary Lou Verbois; the Helen Blythe Creative Writing Award to Kate Cline; the Professor James Alex Baggett History Research Award to Mary Alisa Techentin; the Intramural Male Athlete of the Year to Chase Tuggle; the Intramural Female Athlete of the Year to Megan Daniel; and The Wolfram Award in Computational Science to David Clark.
The Nora Smith Barker Student Teachers of the Year Award went to Callie Davenport for Elementary Student Teacher of the Year and to Anna Jones for the Secondary Student Teacher of the Year.
The Greek Scholarship Cups went to Alpha Tau Omega and Chi Omega.
This year’s scholarship cup marks the 64th consecutive year the ladies of Chi Omega have been honored with this award.
The Howard Newell Innovative Teaching Award went to Dr. Fonsie Guilaran, associate professor of physics.
The teaching award also recognized Ashley Blair, Dr. Roman Williams, Dr. John Netland and Dr. Geoffrey Poore with an honorable mention.
Awards Day is the traditional kick off to Union’s spring commencement ceremonies. This annual service recognizes both students and faculty who have given 110 percent and whose accomplishments have put them on top.