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Academic Achievement

Algernon Sydney Sullivan and John Hague, Ph.D., certainly would have been proud. So, too, would have Dorothy L. Fuller, Ph.D.; Ted Surynt, Ph.D.; Michael McFarland, Ph.D.; and many others.

At Stetson’s 2018 Undergraduate Awards and Recognition Ceremony, presentations in such names were among the more than 50 awards given out to students and faculty. The event was held May 11 at Lee Chapel on the university’s historic campus in DeLand, as a prelude to Stetson’s Commencement 2018 on the following day.

In addition, approximately 30 awards were presented to outstanding academic achievers at other college, school and university program venues.

On this day, a great sense of anticipation and excitement, along with a measure of relief, was in the air, as Stetson President Wendy B. Libby, Ph.D., opened the ceremony with robust congratulations.

Then Executive Vice President and Provost Noel Painter, Ph.D., summarized the sentiment on a stage filled with prideful faculty with following message to students: “We are here in celebration of the fact that each one of you inspires us — inspires the faculty of this institution to teach better, to come to work and be excited about the things that we do, to realize the fruit of our labor in people who take things further than we could ever have imagined that they would. So, thank you, for doing that for us. Your piece of Stetson is really, really powerful.”

The Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award, jointly conferred by Stetson and the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Foundation to two members of the graduating class (male and female), was presented to Adam Cooper and Sarah Coffey.

Adam Cooper, Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award winner

Sullivan was a public citizen and attorney who dedicated his life to service for others. The Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award was created nearly 100 years ago to honor that devotion; at Stetson it recognizes the male and female student who best personifies “nobility of character.”

Cooper excelled in his chemistry studies as well as in the Bonner Program, with community engagement focused on water quality and safety research. Also, he worked internationally during two summer research internships and in DeLand through an internship with Stetson’s Institute for Water and Environmental Resilience. Further, he regularly presented at national conferences, was published in respected journals and has been accepted to all the top educational programs for chemistry nationwide— “undoubtedly on a path to continue his work of literally saving lives through research,” commented one nominator. Those were only a few of his academic highlights, as outlined in his nomination.

Sarah Coffey, Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award winner

Coffey arrived at Stetson full of curiosity and focus, along with heart of service, her nomination cited. She committed herself to working directly with faculty, staff and administrators to increase the sustainability and transparency of environmental and food systems. As a first-year student, Coffey became Stetson’s inaugural Environmental Values Fellow, a collaborative role between the Department of Environmental Science and the Center for Community Engagement. As a Fellow, she coordinated on-campus environmental awareness programs, managed a campus community garden, and worked with students and faculty to conduct a bi-annual campus carbon audit that was intended to reduce campus emissions and water usage. She accomplished much more.

Mayhill Fowler, Ph.D., winner of the John Hague Award for Distinguished Teaching in the Liberal Arts and Sciences

The John Hague Award for Distinguished Teaching in the Liberal Arts and Sciences was presented to Mayhill Fowler, Ph.D., an assistant professor of history and director of Stetson’s Program in Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies. Under Fowler’s spirited leadership, SPREES is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year.

Hague, Professor Emeritus of American Studies at Stetson, was an admired teacher, scholar and academic leader who led the university’s application to earn a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa in 1982; Stetson’s chapter was the first established at a private university in Florida. The Hague award celebrates Stetson’s devotion to scholarship, morality and friendship — the guiding principles of Phi Beta Kappa, the nation’s oldest and most prestigious undergraduate honorary society.

Michael Candelaria