Special Recognitions: Multiple generations

June 04, 2012

Special_Recog_1A number of different Saint Leo University community members have distinguished themselves and been honored during the final months of the traditional academic year and the ensuing commencement season. Though these individuals reflect different generations and backgrounds, their individual and combined accomplishments reflect the shared Saint Leo core values of excellence, respect, integrity, personal development, community, and responsible stewardship.

Adult learner Shakeya Scott (pictured), for instance, a 2012 graduate who studied through the Center for Online Learning (COL), was selected for the Dr. Michael Rogich Endowed COL Student Award, as an outstanding representative from the center. Scott, who works as a teaching assistant in the Norfolk, VA, public school system, came to Saint Leo to earn her bachelor’s degree in business administration after losing her husband in 2006 during his Army service in Afghanistan. The couple had three children, now ages 9, 14, and 20. The young widow had always worked in customer service, and thought getting a college degree would help her and her children move ahead after the devastating loss. As her eventual goal is to “open up a state-of-the art-daycare center,” she decided to major in business at Saint Leo. Her next step is to attain a master’s degree in education; the cash scholarship of $450 from the Rogich award will help.

Special_Recog_2Another Virginia resident, Professor Emerita Marilyn Mallue (pictured with University President Arthur F. Kirk, Jr.) was awarded the university’s Marion Bowman Distinguished Service Medal during one of the April commencement ceremonies at University Campus. The Bowman medal is named for one of the most influential figures in the history and leadership of Saint Leo, Father Marion Bowman (1925-1999). The award was established in 1998 to recognize outstanding leadership and commitment. Dr. Mallue, a full professor of psychology based in the Virginia region, retired at the end of the 2010 academic year. Her career included not only dedicated service to students and colleagues locally, but also significant service to university governance and academic administration. Known for her encouraging nature, Dr. Mallue commented that felt she was receiving a “most valuable player” recognition, and was honored by the distinction.

In Sumter, SC, 2012 graduate Helen Mitchell captivated her fellow classmates and the local newspaper, The Item, with her graduation story. She began her educational journey at a junior college in 1962 in Oklahoma. Marriage and relocations owing to her husband’s military service prevented her from completing that academic work––until now, 50 years later. She registered for classes with Saint Leo at age 66, two years ago. In May, she happily accepted her associate degree from Dr. Maribeth Durst, and received a standing ovation from classmates and the audience. “Miss Helen” as she is affectionately known, told the local newspaper reporter who featured her, “I believe you should learn all the days of your life.

Special_Recog_3_BannerAt University Campus, a graduating senior was named as the outstanding student at each of the three schools: Arts and Sciences, Education and Social Services, and the Donald R. Tapia School of Business. Psychology major Adaixa Padron, who was also awarded the Clara McDonald Olson Scholarship Award for attaining the highest scholastic average of students enrolled for their complete four years at Saint Leo, was named outstanding Arts and Sciences Student. She had several undergraduate research projects to her credit, and plans to earn a doctorate in her field. Criminal justice major and 2011-12 captain of the women’s golf team Goeun Leewas named outstanding student from the School of Education and Social Services. Considered an outstanding scholar, she hopes to study law. Christine Holcomb, who was also named the top accounting student of the year, was selected as the outstanding student at the Donald R. Tapia School of Business. In addition to excelling personally, she helped fellow students by serving as a tutor, and leading the student accounting club. She plans to study for a master’s degree in the field and hopes to work eventually as a senior executive of a major corporation. All three students posed for a photo with Dr. Maribeth Durst, vice president of academic affairs. (Pictured above from left to right: Dr. Durst, C. Holcomb, G. Lee, A. Padron).

Special_Recog_4Finally, two young undergraduates from University Campus were honored with the first Algernon Sydney Sullivan awards given at Saint Leo University. The awards were created by the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Foundation to recognize young people whose “nobility of character” and dedication of service makes them an example for others to follow. This year, Amanda Altu, a social work student, and Sherman Milton, a marketing major, were selected as recipients of the award and received bronze medallions through the program. Both have been deeply involved in service projects at Saint Leo, including through the Students Engaged in Rewarding Volunteer program, which arranges volunteer service trips for Saint Leo students. (Pictured here with Dr. Rhondda Waddell, director of the Center for Values, Service, and Leadership.)