On April 20, distinguished members of the Kenyon community processed into Rosse Hall for this year’s Honors Day, the College’s annual event recognizing academic, artistic and athletic achievements; service contributions and outstanding character with awards, scholarships and honorary degrees. Acting President Jeff Bowman presided over the Honors Day ceremony, while Associate Professor of Political Science H. Abbie Erler served as the faculty marshal.
The Scioto Valley Brass and Percussion Company, a Columbus-based brass band, performed as faculty, administrators and awardees filed into Rosse Hall. Following the procession, Bowman gave a welcome speech, which was followed by the presentation of honorary doctorates.
This year, Kenyon conferred honorary doctorates to three alumni: David Lewis Bergman ’72, Julie Ann Cerel ’94 and Marela Zacarías ’00. Bergman, a professor emeritus of English at Towson University, received a Doctor of Humane Letters, presented by Special Assistant to the President David H. Lynn ’76. Cerel, a clinical psychologist and professor in the College of Social Work at the University of Kentucky, received a Doctor of Science, presented by Professor Emiritia Linda M. Smolak. Zacarías, a Mexican-American artist, received a Doctor of Fine Arts, presented by Professor of Art Claudia J. Esslinger.
A performance by the Kenyon College Chamber Singers, directed by Professor of Music Benjamin Locke, followed the ceremony.
After the anthem, awards and prizes were presented. Student Council President Ubongabasi Asuquo ’23 won the E. Malcolm Anderson Cup and the Doris B. Crozier Award. The Anderson Cup is awarded to the student who, in the opinion of students and faculty members, has done the most for Kenyon during the year, while the Crozier Award is presented to students who demonstrate superior qualities of vision, responsibility and dedication to excellence. Bowman praised Asuquo’s meaningful contributions to campus. “Ubong’s work on campus has been truly exceptional. I have valued her creativity, care, imagination and positive energy,” he wrote in an email to the Collegian.
The Trustee Teaching and Excellence Awards were presented by Brackett B. Denniston III, chair of the Board of Trustees, to Professor of Chemistry Kerry Rouhier and Assistant Professor of Psychology Leah Dickens. Professors were nominated for awards by students and faculty and were selected by the Board of Trustees.
Fellowships and awards, including those not sponsored by the College such as Fulbright Fellowships, were presented to students by Bowman. Students and alumni who received the Fulbright Fellowship included Ngone Fall ’23, Felix Heisch ’23, Katie Hileman ’22 and Madeline Vonk ’23. Departmental prizes were presented to students by Acting Provost Sheryl Hemkin, while College prizes were presented to students by Vice President for Student Affairs Celestino Limas.
Students involved in athletics and the arts were also recognized at this event. These included the North Coast Athletic Conference Scholar-Athlete Award, which was presented to Drew Albrecht ’23 and Payton Doan ’23, and the Paul Newman-Joanne Woodward Award for Best Performance, which was presented to Julia Friedman ’23 and Grace Jolliffe ’23.
Bowman emphasized the importance of the occasion. “It’s wonderful to be able to celebrate the accomplishments of current students (and faculty) alongside those of alumni who have had significant positive impact in their fields,” he wrote in an email to the Collegian. “The honorary degree recipients each captured in their own distinctive voices the joy and the sense of purpose that Kenyon students can find in their work.”