Numerous academic, athletic, and community achievement awards were awarded to members of Christendom College’s Class of 2020 on Friday, May 29. The annual Senior Awards honored the best and brightest of the class, recognizing these individuals for their extraordinary contributions to the Christendom community.
Typically, the college’s Senior Awards would be presented during an awards luncheon after Christendom’s finals week. With classes moved online in March, however, the awards were presented digitally, with each award-winning graduate set to be also recognized later during the college’s Commencement Ceremonies in August.
Kicking off the Senior Awards, the Student Activities Council’s (SAC) Joe McGlynn Award for Service was given to Mikaela Bailey, honoring her for her selfless acts of service for the Christendom community.
“Each year, the class officers select one graduating senior on SAC who has demonstrated selfless acts of service on SAC, hard work, and dedication to serving the student body through the actions of SAC,” said director of student activities Marilyn Charba. “[Bailey] dedicated countless hours of hard work and leadership, showing quiet leadership and support for her team throughout her time on SAC. Motivated by a selfless willingness to serve, [Bailey] made it easy to choose her as our model of service.”
The Crusader Leadership Award was given to three deserving student-athletes this year: Mary Heisler, Ian Heisler, and Tommy Vander Woude. Each was an important leader both on and off the field during their time at Christendom, leaving behind an impressive legacy that includes multiple USCAA All-American and All-Academic honors and other achievements.
Each of the college’s academic departments honored members of the Class of 2020 as well. For the English language and literature department, the Robert C. Rice Award for Outstanding English Language and Literature Major was awarded to Emma Klein.
“This year, our department was fortunate to have an unusually high number of extremely qualified candidates for this award,” said Dr. Lisa Marciano, chairman of the department. “In fact, it would be fair to say that this was the most difficult choice the department has ever faced with respect to the award. [Emma], however…stood out among all the excellent candidates. She seeks wisdom for its own sake, possessing keen insights, addressing works with patience and humility, and reading them sensitively to see what they reveal to her. Finally, she was a leader on campus through her work in the Writing Center and various other activities. We congratulate Emma for her fine work.”
The English department further recognized five additional members of the Class of 2020 for their exemplary devotion to the study of literature: Katarina Federici, Lily Mann, Emilie Scarchilli, Emily Wenzel, and Abby Wynne.
For the philosophy department’s Outstanding Senior Philosophy Major Award, department chairman Dr. Mark Wunsch recognized Isabella Reilly, who stood out for her contribution to the academic life of the department.
“[Isabella] produced outstanding written work and offered well-prepared contributions to the classroom experience with law-like regularity. But more than that, she exhibited all of the traits we want to see in our students. She unfailingly manifested a love for truth, a sense of wonder, a willingness to learn from others, and a humility that enabled her to avoid presumption. There is not an ounce of intellectual apathy, boredom, or indifference in her. She is passionate about the higher things and sucked the marrow out of her college education. She will be sorely missed.”
The history department’s Warren H. Carroll Award for Outstanding Senior History Thesis was given to two members of the Class of 2020 this year, who both exemplified the historical scholarship standard set by Christendom’s founder, Dr. Warren Carroll. The first winner: Edith Lagarde.
“Lagarde’s masterful interdisciplinary senior thesis addresses several issues in our understanding of a significant ecclesiastical reform movement in tenth- and eleventh-century England. To cap it all, Lagarde displays her skill with languages, working with confidence in Old English sources and providing her own translations from Latin sources,” said Dr. Chris Shannon, chairman of the history department, in reference to Lagarde’s thesis on monastic and intellectual influences of the English Benedictine Reform.
The second Warren H. Carroll Award was given to Lucy La Fave, honoring her for her thesis about the Anglo-American Rommel legend.
“How are legends created, and how can historians sort out the truth from the fiction? This thesis asks these questions of the legend surrounding the Second World War German Field-Marshal Erwin Rommel. The author’s precise sifting of evidence and exemplary historical thinking make this thesis an outstanding example of undergraduate research,” said Shannon.
Riley Damitz pulled off a rare feat this year: earning two different academic awards. The first came from the college’s theology department, with Damitz earning the William H. Marshner Award for Outstanding Senior Thesis.
“Riley is known for her excellence in Latin and dedication to sound theological discourse. The Theology Department is pleased to recognize her achievements these past four years,” said Dr. Matthew Tsakanikas, chairman of the theology department.
Damitz was also awarded the political science and economic department’s Outstanding Senior Political Science & Economics Thesis Award.
“Riley wrote an outstanding thesis on the subject of Catholicism in America, which she examined largely through the work of Alexis de Tocqueville. In addition, Riley has been an outstanding student and PSAE major throughout her four years at Christendom. The PSAE faculty is honored to present her with this award,” said political science department chairman Dr. Joseph Brutto.
For the department of mathematics and natural science, the inaugural Outstanding Thesis Award in Mathematics was awarded to Emily Palm. Palm, who demonstrated exceptional excellence in her depth of research, command of topic, and clarity of exposition in her senior thesis, wrote on “The Linear Algebra Behind Search Engines.”
“The Department of Mathematics and Natural Sciences takes great pleasure in announcing Miss Emily Palm as the inaugural recipient of the Outstanding Thesis Award in Mathematics in 2020,” said Miriam Byers, chairman of the department.
Finally, the department of classics and early Christian studies awarded three awards this year to outstanding members of the Class of 2020. Edith Lagarde joined Riley Damitz as a double award-winner for 2019-20, also being awarded the St. Jerome Award for Latin and Greek Scholarship.
“Edith has done outstanding work at the upper level of Latin from the beginning of her freshman year,” said department chairman Dr. Andrew Beer. “Beyond her extraordinary classical scholarship, Edith served many semesters as a tutor in both Greek and Latin.”
Theresa Crnkovich was awarded the department’s St. Ambrose Award for Latin Scholarship.
“[Theresa] has written excellent papers on the relationship between labor and otium in the Georgics, the difference between formulaic epithets in oral and literary epic poetry, and an outstanding senior thesis on pater as an epithet and its relation to the theme of fatherhood in Virgil’s Aeneid,” said Beer. “Theresa was a stalwart in our Latin and Greek tutoring program, while also teaching Latin at a local middle school.”
Fernando Sanchez was honored with the final academic award for 2019-20: the St. John Chysostom Award for Greek Scholarship.
“Fernando distinguished himself by his outstanding work throughout the Greek core and for his eager interest and special aptitude for conversing in both Latin and Greek,” said Beer. “Fernando served many semesters as tutor in both Latin and Greek and was a regular participant at our Latin reading groups.”
Christendom’s annual Senior Awards are given out to recognize the best and brightest of each graduating class at Christendom College, acknowledging their academic and leadership achievements before the entire Christendom community.