Did you miss the barbeque at the Art Department, or the Student Leadership Institute’s reception? If you went looking for these or the other dozen or so events that typically close out an academic year, you would never have found them.
If you went to the Celebration of Excellence, though, you got to see all those tiny celebrations rolled into one big event. Dr. Thom D. Chesney, president of Brookhaven College, made the first suggestion to bring these disparate events together, so it was only fitting that he give the welcome to all those who came.
Approximately 250 students, family members, friends and college employees came together for some sweet treats before the awards ceremonies started. If every one of the awardees were in attendance, they would have just about filled the audience as there were more than 200 students recognized for scholarship, leadership and service as well as for their work in athletics or at the Courier.
Rodger Bennett, vice president for academic affairs and student success, recognized the 61 merit and special scholarships. Combined, these students received thousands in scholarship funds from endowed or donated scholarships. Doris Rousey, executive dean for mathematics and science, announced another 21 students who were STEM Scholars and T-STEM scholarship winners.
Brookhaven College Student Government Association officers were presented with medallions they will wear at commencement in recognition for their year of service. Daniel Marold, past BSGA president, graduated last year and now attends SMU, but he returned to do the honors and announce the awardees, and Yasaman Contractor, assistant director of the Office of Student Life, presented the actual medallions. Kendra Vaglienti, executive dean for the Communications Division, announced those students who had completed College Reading and Learning Association certification process as part of the tutoring program.
Sheri Van Court, ESOL professor and club sponsor, recognized seven Phi Theta Kappa officers, including the names for scholarships and transfer schools that many of those officers will be moving on to next year.
Brian Borski, director of Student Life, recognized the student club presidents for their service and leadership, and Dominica McCarthy recognized those who had participated in the Student Leadership Institute.
Rick Maxwell, executive dean for the School of the Arts, listed and congratulated 19 students for a variety of awards and honors. Daniel Rodrigue, journalism/photography professor and sponsor of the award-winning student newspaper the Brookhaven Courier, gave his kudos to his team for the many awards they had earned at the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association conference.
Kevin Hurst, athletic program director and proud coach of the Brookhaven Bears Basketball Team, recognized more than 40 students who excelled in their chosen sports as well as in their academic pursuits.
Andrew Deibert, service-learning and civic engagement coordinator, closed out the awards with the winners of the Civic Engagement Showcase that had happened just a few hours before the big event.