Graduates Recognized with Awards at Commencement
Publication Date: 5/17/2011
Annual awards were presented at the 162nd Commencement Exercises of Rhodes College on May 14 on campus. Rhodes graduates Margaret Lauren “Maggie” Rector and John Edward Pevy and Rhodes Religious Studies Chair Gail P. Streete received the 2011 Algernon Sydney Sullivan Awards. The awards are presented annually to two graduating seniors (one male and one female) and one non-student who have given selflessly to others and the college.
Rector of Peachtree City, Ga., graduated cum laude with a bachelor of arts degree in English. One student wrote in nominating her for the award, “From teaching in a classroom to coordinating philanthropy events for her sorority, Maggie gives her heart to the organizations in which she is involved.”
Another wrote, “Maggie Rector is a silent leader on this campus. She guides through example, optimism and a relentless desire for all that is good. Her gentleness and humility are unmatched, and her smile never fails to light a room.”
It also was stated that Rector was instrumental in raising money to grant a wish to a teenager through the Make a Wish Foundation, and she made arrangements for a Rhodes international student who was unable to travel home one winter break, to come home with her. Rector also has studied in Chile as a Buckman Scholar for Study Abroad, and as a writer, she has blogged the experiences of The Ruka, Rhodes’ intentional community in which participants are involved in civic engagement and community service.
Pevy of Clinton, Tenn., graduated cum laude with a bachelor of arts degree in history. One student wrote, “John exemplifies what it means to have a heart for service, as well as for those being served.”
A first-generation college student, Pevy serves as an advocate for the homeless and has done community service through the Rhodes’ Bonner Scholars and Kinney Program. Another student wrote, “John’s passion for poverty-stricken people not only inspires Rhodes students, but has also been recognized at the national level. Most notably, John has been named a recipient of the Emerson National Hunger Fellowship, a postgraduate fellowship presented by the Congressional Hunger Center.”
Pevy also has served as a coordinator and regular volunteer at Rhodes’ student-run soup kitchen. During the past two years, he served on the steering team that led spring break trips to Costa Rica and Dominican Republic.
Professor Streete, who joined the Rhodes faculty in 1990 and is now retiring from the college, has excelled as a teacher, mentor, scholar and leader.
One of her students wrote, “Professor Streete is not only incredibly informative, she also brings humor and passion to the classroom.” A colleague wrote, “She has provided tireless, judicious and generous leadership for the college.”
Since 1990, she has served on 18 committees, chaired the Tenure and Promotion Committee and the Educational Development Committee, raised awareness for domestic violence both on and off campus and helped program various study abroad initiatives. She also works with the National Coalition Building Institute, a series of prejudice-reduction workshops, because, she says, they “help people share stories and work toward solutions of problems.”
Streete also has received the college’s Dean’s Award for Research and Creative Activity and the Jameson M. Jones Award for Outstanding Faculty Service.
Also at commencement, Daniel Judson Williford of Memphis, Tenn., received the Peyton Nalle Rhodes Phi Beta Kappa Prize given to the graduating senior who exemplifies the highest qualities of achievement, creativity and commitment to the liberal arts and sciences.
Said Professor Gail Streete in presenting the award, “Your recommenders, as well as the committee, have found that, as a history and French double major, you have developed habits of the mind that embody a unique combination of willingness to take scholarly risks and an unusual amount of academic humility.”
It was noted that not only has Williford achieved “near-native fluency” in French, but also he has studied upper-level Spanish and embarked on the study of Arabic. “You are able, not merely to cross disciplines, but to connect them in new and compelling ways,” said Streete.
Williford graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor of arts degree in history and French. He also completed honors research and this year accepted membership in Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society.