Spring Convocation Celebrates Community, Leadership, Academic Excellence
From the campus leader who helped get his childhood friend out of prison to the talented artists, athletes and academics, Davidson College honored outstanding students, faculty and staff at Spring Convocation on Thursday.
It’s the first time in three years that the college held an in-person convocation. It’s also the last time that President Carol Quillen will preside over convocation as the college’s leader; she’s stepping down after 11 years.
Spring Convocation 2022 precedes Commencement, which will be held May 15. Convocation gives the college community a chance to celebrate leadership and an assortment of achievements. For many, it was especially significant to be together after the COVID-19 pandemic turned the past two years’ convocations into virtual events.
Brandon Reid ’22 (formerly Harris), who served two years as the Student Government Association president, received the Ben Callinder award.
“Brandon has impacted this community since he first arrived on campus,” the award says. “Through his work with the student government and beyond, Brandon has embodied all of the qualities the award requires, as he has worked tirelessly to improve student experiences and unite people from all walks of life.”
A well-known leader on campus, Reid became known to the world after what started as an independent study project, “Telling Stories of the Ignored and Forgotten,” led to his convincing a judge to free his childhood friend, Sura Sohna, from prison. The judge determined that Sohna, who’d committed property crimes as a troubled adolescent and had another 12 years left in prison, should get a second chance. Multiple newspapers and major television networks covered the story, and just last week, the two friends appeared on The Ellen show.
Spring Convocation awards celebrate service, character, sportsmanship and innovation. It’s also a time to take heart that these future diplomats, doctors, economists, mathematicians, military leaders, writers, teachers, sociologists, scientists and artists will bring their talents into a troubled world.
The college also recognized honor society members, scholarship recipients and students planning on post-graduate international fellowships.
In addition to recognizing students committed to the arts, sciences and humanities, convocation celebrates the staff and faculty members who serve as mentors. Those awards include:
Omicron Delta Kappa Awards
2022 ODK Teaching Award – Professor C. Shaw Smith
With over 35 years of teaching, mentoring, inspiring and challenging students, C. Shaw Smith exemplifies leadership, honor and integrity. C. Shaw Smith’s passion and care result in students achieving the purpose of Davidson College, developing humane instincts, and disciplined and creative minds for lives of leadership and service.
2022 Odk Staff Award – Sally Fredricks
Sally Fredricks exemplifies the care and support necessary for student success. She greatly impacts Davidson through her genuine passion for students, staff, faculty and all whom she encounters in the Chaplains Office and Alvarez College Union. She is an important presence in the Davidson community, as she purposefully engages, encourages and uplifts others.
2022 ODK Community Member Award – Robert Lutz, M.D.
Robert Lutz, M.D., serves as the essential influencer in Davidson College’s ability to navigate the impacts of COVID-19. He continues to work with students, faculty, staff and the community to ensure their safety during the pandemic, which remains no easy task. ODK recognizes Lutz’s decision to rise to the needs of the college and values his impact on the community.
Student Government Association Awards
2022 Faculty Award – Professor Brenda Flanagan
As the Edward Armfield Sr. Professor of English, SGA would like to honor BrendaFlanagan’s contributions to both the Africana and English departments. Her writing and literature courses have connected with students across campus for more than 15 years.
2022 Pre-Major Faculty Advising Award – Associate Professor Melissa González
The SGA would like to present the SGA Holistic Advising Award to Melissa González. González has shown immense passion in the sustained development of her advisees. Advisees have spoken of how she has aided in their personal growth and taken action to help build routines for their mental health and well-being. She is extremely welcoming and encourages students to grow out of their comfort zones, build relationships on campus and pursue impactful experiences. She continues her efforts beyond advising as a professor and a major voice of advocacy on campus for the LGBTQIA+ community, and works hard to ensure Davidson fosters a safe space for all students.