Outstanding Sweet Briar students honored during Founders’ Day Convocation

Posted on September 24, 2019 by Janika Carey

Founders' Day Convocation President Meredith Woo speaks at Sweet Briar’s Founders’ Day Convocation on Friday, Sept. 20, in Murchison Lane Auditorium.

During Sweet Briar’s 2019 Founders’ Day Convocation on Friday, Dean Teresa Garrett announced the winners of the academic and College awards.

Each year, the College recognizes academic achievement by conferring the honorary title of Emilie Watts McVea Scholar on the highest-ranking member of each class. The award bears the name of the second president of the College. This year’s winners are Sophia Dessart ’20, Jordan Elliott ’20, Sydney Campbell ’21, Emma Hines ’22, Emma Leaseburg ’22 and Rose Murphy ’22.

The Nancy Godwin Baldwin ’57 Scholars were awarded for the first time in 2015, honoring Baldwin’s 54 years of service to Sweet Briar. The scholarships are awarded to students who have made major contributions to the school and community through their leadership and demonstration of academic excellence. This year’s Baldwin Scholars are Kayleigh Bekisz ’20, Julie Horton ’20, Karlynn McCarthy ’20, Lacey Tucker ’20 and Emily Wandling ’20.

Courtney Nelson ’20 and Amelia Burnett ’20 were recognized with the Mary Kendrick Benedict Award, established in 1945 by former students, colleagues and other friends of the first president of Sweet Briar College, to honor an upperclass student of high academic standing and personal integrity who has shown a purpose for service in her college experience.

The Sarah Porter Boehmler ’65 Scholarship was awarded to Riahn Iris Holcomb ’23. The scholarship was established in 2006 to recognize a first-year student who exemplifies the qualities of leadership, character and integrity, as well as academic and extracurricular achievement balanced with participation in sports, dance or other health-related activities. This scholarship honors its namesake for her role as a mentor to young women and the first woman senior executive of the American Stock Exchange.

The Legacy Scholar award went to Mary Grace Williams ’20. Established in 1974 by the board of the Alumnae Association (now Alumnae Alliance) to honor an alumna legacy student in either the junior or senior class who has demonstrated, while at Sweet Briar, the traditions of sound learning and social responsibility that have characterized the alumnae of the College since its founding.

DaZané Cole ’20 was awarded the Manson Memorial Scholarship, established in memory of N.C. Manson Jr. to give recognition to an upper-class student of high academic standing who shows qualities of leadership and makes a constructive contribution to student life.

Elizabeth Martin ’22 was recognized with the Rickards Award. Established in 1974 by Frances Murrell Rickards, Class of 1910, in memory of her son, who died in World War II, and her husband, this award is given to one or more members of the rising sophomore class who best demonstrate potential for leadership, academic excellence and community involvement — qualities that have distinguished the College throughout its history.

Finally, the Mary Mackintosh Sherer Award went to Samantha Runyon ’21. Established by friends of Mary MacKintosh Sherer, the award recognizes a rising junior who, as a leader and scholar, demonstrates the outgoing and cheerful qualities long associated with Mary MacKintosh Sherer.

The following students were recognized with departmental academic prizes:

  • The Jean Besselievre Boley Award: Raven Minyard ’20


  • The Julia Sadler de Coligny Award: Jessica Bell ’20


  • The Gill Scholarship: Alexis Culley ’20


  • The Kenmore Scholar: McKenna Snyder ’20


  • The Rebecca Tomlinson Lindblom Award: Kathleen Snyder ’20, Corey Lamas ’20


  • The Irene Mitchell Moore Scholarship: Julie Horton ’20


  • The Shakespeare Prize: Erin Snyder ’20


  • The Loren Oliver Award in Studio Art: Amelia Mendelsohn ’20


  • The Lucile Barrow Turner Award: Mary Grace Williams ’20

Watch a full video of Founders’ Day Convocation below: