Honors Convocation 2024

Wittenberg Recognizes Academic Achievement During Annual Celebratory Event

Recognizing the many accomplishments of students and faculty members, the campus community came together to celebrate during Wittenberg’s annual Honors Convocation in historic Weaver Chapel, today, April 5.

During the ceremony, the 2024 Alumni Association Award for Distinguished Teaching was presented to Associate Professor of Education and Department Chair Amy McGuffey. Established in 1960, this award is the highest recognition Wittenberg bestows on its faculty. Candidates must have taught at Wittenberg for more than five years and are nominated by students, alumni, faculty, and staff.

Professor of Practice in Education Layla Besson was recognized for her work with the Omicron Delta Kappa Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award. Besson also received the Academic Advisor of the Year Award.

Additionally at the ceremony, Victoria Pipinich, Lucas, Texas, was named Alma Mater, an honor bestowed upon a junior student on the basis of character and integrity, service to the community, concern for others, and high standards of scholarship. Naevon Boykin, Bowie, Maryland, was named Alma Lux, an honor bestowed upon a junior student who possesses qualities of leadership, scholarship, and service.

Hope Messer, Indianapolis, Indiana, received the Heimtraut Dietrich Award, which was established in 1981 to recognize the student who best emulates the spirit of the late associate dean of students' devotion to Wittenberg through faith and service. Cameron Stevovich, Rocky River, Ohio, earned Ohio Campus Compact’s Newman Civic Fellowship. Campus Compact is a statewide membership organization that serves to promote community service initiatives at colleges and universities.

The M. Alice Geiger Award was presented to Parker Hayes, Cincinnati, Ohio. The award, named for Wittenberg's first woman graduate, recognizes a senior woman for outstanding contributions to the campus in the areas of performing or literary arts, athletics, co-curricular leadership, new programming, special academic pursuit, or through special representation at any time during her college career.

The John F. Mitchell Award, honoring the senior man who best represents the liberal arts tradition at Wittenberg, was presented to Joseph Kuzilwa, Canal Winchester, Ohio. The award goes to a top student who is a positive force in academic, cultural, and social aspects of the campus.

The Alpha Delta Pi Scholarship Award, created in 1990 by the Springfield Alumnae Association and Chi Chapter of Alpha Delta Pi sorority, recognizes two junior women, one Greek and one non-Greek, who best exemplify the characteristics consistent with the ideals and goals of the sorority. This year's recipients are Grace Hehman, Cincinnati, Ohio, (non-Greek) and Haley Scott, Russiaville, Indiana (Greek).

The E. Charles Chatfield Global Awareness Award, instituted in 1992, recognizes seniors who contribute to greater global awareness within the Wittenberg University community. This year's recipient is Sloane Thor, Nashville, Tennessee.

The Charles J. Ping Student Community Service Award is presented in recognition of outstanding leadership and ability to meet the needs of the community by working in partnership with members of the community. It recognizes the student's effort to create an organization and to lead and to involve others. Ohio Campus Compact sponsors this award. This year's recipient is Mikayla Myers, Huron, Ohio.

Branden Nicholas, Oak Park, Michigan, and Trinity Dicks, Washington, D.C., were the recipients of the Martin Luther King Jr. Award for positive examples to members of the African American community and to the University.

Olivia Campbell, South Portsmouth, Kentucky, and DeLaney Jordan, Wapakoneta, Ohio, received the Broadwell Chinn Award, named for one of the first African American students to enroll at Wittenberg in the 1870s. The award honors the student holding the highest grade point average among African American juniors.

Three seniors were recognized for having a 4.0 grade point average: Danny Bean, Fort Wayne, Indiana; Nick Brown, Fairborn, Ohio; and Caroline Sedor, Newark, Ohio.

Presidential Scholars, named for former presidents of Wittenberg, are the junior students having the top 14 grade point averages of their class. Those students are Kendall Black, Defiance, Ohio; Harper Crews, Ypsilanti, Michigan; Mackenzie Hessick, Hilliard, Ohio; Alexa Repp, Franklin, Ohio; Sydney Striker, Toledo, Ohio; Bailey Drews, New Carlisle, Ohio; Owen Treece, Ohio City, Ohio; Kaitlyn Brown, Powell, Ohio; Kaitlyn Miller, Greenwood, Indiana; Morgan Bush, Loveland, Ohio; Justin Katona, Liberty Township, Ohio; Sarah Tagg, Fairborn, Ohio; Erin Reichert, Perrysburg, Ohio; and Jenna Hallett, Delta, Ohio.

Introduced in 2009, the Lillian C. Franklin Diversity Award is presented each year to honor a student and a faculty/staff member who have made outstanding contributions in promoting and furthering the goal of diversity in the Wittenberg community. Candidates must uphold the tradition of diversity embodied by the award's namesake, demonstrate high standards of personal integrity, commitment to the education of the whole person, global vision, and leadership. The 2024 student recipient is Anaiah Lightner, West Covina, California; and the faculty/staff recipient is Chad Sloss, visiting assistant professor of sociology.

The Champion Award for Community Impact recognizes an individual’s commitment to service, the quality of that service, and its positive impact on the City of Springfield and Clark County. It is not merely the hours of service, but the impact on the quality of life in the Springfield community that is most important. This year’s student recipient is Branden Nicholas, Oak Park, Michigan, along with faculty member, Amy McGuffey, associate professor of education and department chair.

The Copeland Community Service and Social Justice Award, instituted in 2019, recognizes a rising senior who has demonstrated engaged citizenship in the City of Springfield. It is not only the student’s hours of service, but the ability to think critically about difficult societal issues and the willingness to work to confront these issues with compassion and commitment that is most important. This year’s recipient is Parker Hayes, Cincinnati, Ohio.

The Rose Award for Excellence in Community Partnership recognizes a member of the Greater Springfield community who serves as an exceptional co-educator for students. Recipients help students bloom into well-informed, engaged, and productive citizens, and they make a significant difference in the community. The recipient is selected based on their level of investment in the development of students as well as their sustained commitment and innovative approach of connecting with the University. This year’s award goes to Carrie Hanna, Hayward Middle School.

Cindy Holbrook
Cindy Holbrook
Senior Communications Assistant

About Wittenberg

Wittenberg's curriculum has centered on the liberal arts as an education that develops the individual's capacity to think, read, and communicate with precision, understanding, and imagination. We are dedicated to active, engaged learning in the core disciplines of the arts and sciences and in pre-professional education grounded in the liberal arts. Known for the quality of our faculty and their teaching, Wittenberg has more Ohio Professors of the Year than any four-year institution in the state. The university has also been recognized nationally for excellence in community service, sustainability, and intercollegiate athletics. Located among the beautiful rolling hills and hollows of Springfield, Ohio, Wittenberg offers more than 100 majors, minors and special programs, enviable student-faculty research opportunities, a unique student success center, service and study options close to home and abroad, a stellar athletics tradition, and successful career preparation.

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