Ouachita Baptist University recognized the academic achievements of students across the university at its 31st annual academic awards banquet April 29.
“The Academic Awards Banquet provides a wonderful opportunity for us to celebrate the accomplishments of students in every discipline and to honor their hard work and dedication to academic excellence,” said Dr. Stan Poole, OBU vice president for academic affairs.
Philip Williamson, a senior philosophy, political science and Christian studies major with an emphasis in Christian theology, was named the university’s Overall Academic Achiever as well as Senior Outstanding Man. The Batesville, Ark., native was also recognized as the Academic Achiever for the W.H. Sutton School of Social Sciences, as a Blue Ribbon Finisher for completing the Carl Goodson Honors Program and as the Bob Riley Outstanding Graduate in Political Science. He also received the Don Harbuck Award for Excellence in Philosophy and the Preben Vang Award for Excellence in Christian Theological Studies.
“To begin with, I was absolutely floored to receive the awards that I did,” Williamson said. “I was not expecting it, but I felt incredibly honored to be recognized in that way. It really does make four years of work feel worthwhile.
“No one makes it to graduation alone,” he added. “Many, many thank-you’s go to the faculty for their patience, love for teaching and most importantly their love for this student.
“My classmates here are incredible; I would not be the student I am without them,” Williamson noted. “Honestly, the best part of the night was sharing the experience with my friends. Most of the seniors here are good friends; I thoroughly enjoyed watching their work honored, as well.”
Molly Magee, a mass communications and Spanish major from Conway, Ark., was honored as Senior Outstanding Woman. She also was named the School of Humanities Academic Achiever.
“It is an incredible honor to be recognized by the faculty at Ouachita who have been so instrumental in the last four years of my life,” Magee said. “Each of my teachers over the last eight semesters has encouraged and challenged me in a special way. It has been a blessing to be a student at Ouachita and to be able to study under professors who I admire so much, professors who have helped to cultivate within me a love for learning.”
Andrew Ford, a senior political science and business administration major with emphases in finance and marketing from Arkadelphia, Ark., was recognized with the Rotary Club Service-Above-Self Award.
Dr. Terry Carter, associate dean of the Pruet School of Christian Studies and W.O. Vaught Professor of Christian Ministries, was honored as Most Inspirational Professor, an award voted on annually by Ouachita’s entire student body.
Each of Ouachita’s seven schools chose a senior student as its top Academic Achiever. Ryne Dubach, a senior accounting and business administration major with an emphasis in management from Marvell, Ark., was honored by the Hickingbotham School of Business. Holly Koder, a senior music major from Garland, Texas, was honored by the School of Fine Arts. Barry McCaskill, a senior physics major from Arkadelphia, Ark., was honored by the J.D. Patterson School of Natural Sciences. Darlene Seal, a senior Christian studies major with emphases in Christian missions and Biblical studies from Bryant, Ark., was honored by the Pruet School of Christian Studies; Seal also received the Robert Stagg New Testament Greek Award as well as the Outstanding Student in Christian Missions and Outstanding Student in Biblical Studies honors. Leah Turner, a senior middle school education and Spanish major from Carrollton, Texas, was honored by the Huckabee School of Education; Turner was also recognized as the Phi Delta Kappa Teacher in Training for Middle School Education.
Shirley Hardin, Ouachita development officer, presented endowed awards in honor of her mother and grandmother on behalf of her father, OBU President Emeritus Daniel R. Grant. These annual awards recognize one female student from each class who best exemplifies Ouachita’s twin ideals of academic and Christian excellence. The Mrs. J.R. Grant Endowed Awards are given in honor of the late Grace Sowers Grant, Ouachita’s first lady from 1933 to 1949. They were awarded to freshman Catie Bennett, an early childhood education major from Nixa, Mo., and to senior Brittany Vick, a mass communications and Christian studies major with an emphasis in Biblical studies from Conway, Ark. The Betty Oliver Grant Endowed Awards are given in honor of Dr. Grant’s wife, who was first lady from 1970 to 1988. The recipients were sophomore Abby Dekle, a biology major from Sachse, Texas, and junior Becca Watts, a mass communications major from Smackover, Ark.
The Carl Goodson Honor Program also made recognitions. Nicci Fillinger, a sophomore mass communications and Christian studies major with a Biblical studies emphasis from Perry, Ark., was named the Ben Elrod Scholar, and Nolan West, a sophomore biology major from Bolivar, Mo., was named the Carl Goodson Scholar. Dr. Randall Wight, professor of psychology and biology, was recognized as Most Valuable Professor.
The following students were recognized as Honors Council Scholars: Ananda Boardman, a junior political science, mass communications and Spanish major from Geronimo, Texas; Reuben Cash, a sophomore accounting and business administration major with a finance emphasis from Springfield, Tenn.; Amy Guiomard, a senior biology and psychology major from DeSoto, Texas; and Nate Peace, a sophomore mass communications, Greek and Christian studies major with emphases in Christian ministries and Biblical studies from Bedford, Texas. Peace also received the Andrew and Harriet Grant Hall Sophomore Ministerial Award.
The following seniors were recognized as Blue Ribbon Finishers for completing the requirements for the Honors Program: Heather Baker, a musical theatre major from Cleburne, Texas; Haley Barron, a Russian and Christian studies major with an emphasis in Biblical studies from Flower Mound, Texas; Rance Collins, a mass communications major from Hillsboro, Texas; Sarah Horton, a sociology, Hebrew and Christian studies major with emphases in Christian missions and Biblical studies from Rockwall, Texas; Kathryn Merrill, a communication sciences and disorders major from Keller, Texas; Austin Phillips, a mathematics major from Arkadelphia, Ark.; Katie Potts, a dietetics and nutrition major from Kennett, Mo.; and Adam Wheat, a mass communications major from Ruston, La. Collins was also recognized for his work in the video production office and received the Williiam D. Downs, Jr. Outstanding Mass Communications Student Award. Phillips was also named the Outstanding Mathematics Senior.
Other awards given by the Hickingbotham School of Business include:
Dr. Lera Kelly Outstanding Senior in Business Administration Award: Daniel Graham
Margaret Wright Outstanding Senior in Accounting Award: Jessica Bruchan
Johnny Heflin Excellence in Leadership & Academics Award: Kendra Pruitt and Stephen Johnson
Outstanding Business Scholar Athlete: Rob Greer and Radu Badalac
Other awards given by the Pruet School of Christian Studies include:
Andrew and Harriet Grant Hall Sophomore Ministerial Award: Jesse Pruett
Outstanding Student in Christian Ministries: Rachel Swayne
Don Harbuck Award for Excellence in Philosophy: Stephanie Fisher
Preben Vang Award for Excellence in Christian Theological Studies: Amanda Baker and Nick Dawson
Elementary Hebrew Award: Jesse Pruett
Old Testament Hebrew Award: Rachel Swayne
Zondervan Elementary Greek Award: Leasha May
Other awards given by the Huckabee School of Education include:
Alice Searcy Award: Rebecca Atkinson
Sylvia Gates Webb Award: Natalie Holms and Lauren Tallakson
Maude Wright Memorial Award: Whitney Moore
Phi Delta Kappa Teacher in Training: Brooke Belcher (secondary education), Mallory Bussey and Camille Jones (early childhood education)
Charles Chambliss Distinguished Educator Awards: Camille Jones
Outstanding Kinesiology & Leisure Studies Award-Woman: Randi Wilson
Outstanding Kinesiology & Leisure Studies Award-Man: David Armstrong and Jessie Parker
Other awards given by the School of Fine Arts include:
Francie Phelan Outstanding Senior-Graphic Design: Joseph Stout
Francie Phelan Outstanding Senior-Studio Art: Elizabeth Baker
Raybon-Berry Outstanding Freshman Visual Arts Major: Rebekah Poyner
Russell Shad Memorial Art Award for Outstanding Junior: Greta James
Theatre Arts Outstanding Student Award-Freshman: Heather White
Theta Alpha Phi Senior Award: Michael Krikorian
Phi Mu Alpha Collegiate Award: Landon White
Sigma Alpha Iota College Honor Award: Carrie Brown
The Presser Scholar: John Ashburn
Rachel Fuller Scholarship: Kinsey Carpenter
James Harrison Scholarship: Rachel Chapman
Friends of Fine Arts Scholar for Art: Grace Janzen
Friends of Fine Arts Scholar for Instrumental: Aubrey Elliott
Friends of Fine Arts Scholar for Piano: Christina Wood
Friends of Fine Arts Scholar for Theatre: Samantha Spradling
Friends of Fine Arts Scholar for Voice: Xavier Lagunas
Other awards given by the School of Humanities include:
Outstanding Senior English Major Award: Ian Whitlow and Cora Fay Nykolaishen
Outstanding Junior English Major Award: Molly Fincher
Outstanding Sophomore English Major Award: Dielle Short
Bill & Vera Downs Mass Communications Outstanding Sophomore Scholarship: Leah Garavelli
William D. Downs, Jr. Outstanding Mass Communications Student Award: Holland Powell
Publication Awards: Megan Lindsey (Ouachitonian), Holland Powell (The Signal), Emma Smith (Online Signal) and Callie Stephens (Photo Lab)
Outstanding Modern Foreign Language Award for French: Amy Wood
Outstanding Modern Foreign Language Award for Russian: Anna Rawles
Outstanding Modern Foreign Language Award for Spanish: Katie Osment
Roy Buckelew Outstanding Speech Communication Student: Laura Kirby
Other awards given by the J.D. Patterson School of Natural Sciences include:
Richard H. Brown Biology Award: Grace Whitaker
Outstanding Freshman Biology Award: Whitley Poole
Outstanding Senior in Biology Award: Lauren Nelson
Outstanding Dietetics & Nutrition Award: Celeste Bird
Ethel & Nell Mondy and E.A. Provine Scholar: Amy Wood and Emily Coffman
Freshman Chemistry Award: Hollyn McCarty
Outstanding Graduate in Chemistry: Dax Demaree
Harvey Research Award: Grace Whitaker
Rowland Memorial Awards in Mathematics & Computer Science: David DeYoung, Rachel Griffith, Elisee Habimana, Jordan Neal, Stephen Jones, Trent Schmidt, J.K. Slyby, Josh Stewart, Rebecca Wright
Rowland Memorial Award in Physics: Taylor Tarlton
Hannah Joy Sullivan Scholarship for a rising senior pre-medical student: Brandi Hughes
Other awards given by the School of Social Sciences include:
Everett Slavens History Award: Sarah Barteux
Lavell Cole Award: Austin Hall
Fran Coulter Phi Alpha Theta Excellence in History Award: Katie Osment
R.C. Daily Outstanding Senior Award: Austin Hall
Phi Alpha Theta Award: Hannah Holmes
Curtis Echols Lion’s Club Scholarship: Rebecca Atkinson
Psychology Faculty Award: Taylor Bartel and Alyson Walker
Michael D. Murphy Disciplinary Zeitgeist Award: Sarah Davis and Ashley Knight
Weldon Vogt Outstanding Psychology Senior Award: Christina Albee
Outstanding Graduating Senior Sociology Award: Felicia Arnold
By Brooke Zimny