Annual Awards Presented at Rhodes Commencement
Publication Date: 5/15/2012
Annual awards were presented at the 163rd Commencement Exercises of Rhodes College on May 12 on campus. Rhodes graduates Kelly Parry and Salar Rafieetary and Rhodes Admission staff member Dorothy Brownyard received the 2012 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.
Rhodes alumnus Bruce Lindsey ’70 received the Rhodes College Distinguished Service Medal, and Rhodes graduate Colin Antaya was awarded the Peyton Nalle Rhodes Phi Beta Kappa Prize, the college’s highest academic honor.
Algernon Sydney Sullivan Awards
Kelly Parry of Avondale Estates, Ga., graduated cum laude with a bachelor of arts degree in psychology.
One student wrote in nominating her for the award, “Kelly pours her heart into not only serving Rhodes and the Memphis community, but also by leading a program in which she can help instill a desire to serve in the hearts of other Rhodes students. As the dedicated co-lead moderator of the Kinney service organization, she exemplifies what it means to build meaningful connections with community neighbors, passionately break down cultural barriers, and attempt to mold Rhodes students into advocates for a more just world.”
Another student wrote, “Kelly’s heart for service led her to develop and implement her own fellowship in which she started up a photo club at neighboring Lester Elementary School. This club not only motivated students to become involved in the creative arts, it also aided them in finding creative outlets for expressing themselves.”
Also noted was Parry’s service to the Class Council and her dedication to the Department of Psychology, facilitating honor society gatherings, helping younger majors navigate their intro psychology class and select future classes, serving on the Psychology Student Advisory Council, and serving on the research team of Professor Marsha Walton.
One person complimented her work ethic and her contributions to Rhodes’ Bonner Center for Faith and Service by saying, “Kelly does SO much work. She will speak up, she will volunteer, and she is the one in the office when everyone else has gone home (or is not yet awake). I think she might be irreplaceable.”
Salar Rafieetary of Memphis, Tenn., graduated cum laude with a bachelor of science degree in neuroscience.
Elected Rhodes Student Government President and Mr. Rhodes, Rafieetary “truly embodies everything that is important to the Rhodes College campus, while also going above and beyond to give back to the community,” wrote one nominator.
Another wrote about his attitude, “What really sets Salar apart is the way he approaches his commitments. He always appreciates learning new things about himself and the community through those experiences. He is not afraid to ask for help, and he fosters other peoples’ ideas.”
Regarding his efforts to increase school spirit, one student wrote, “During his leadership in Rhodes Student Government, Salar brought back the Homecoming Parade. He also has been an essential part of creating The Pack, an initiative to garner more school spirit and attendance at sporting events.”
In addition to serving as RSG president, a student trustee, and an Admission Diplomat as well as being a member of Sigma Nu fraternity, Reformed University Fellowship, Phi Beta Kappa and numerous honor societies, Rafieetary extends his commitments beyond the Rhodes campus working with Streets Ministries, where he helps young men see the potential they have for success. “A fabulous leader, role model, and friend,” is how one individual described him.
In the fall of 1983, Dorothy Brownyard joined the college’s admission staff. Hired by Dave Wottle, former dean of admission and an Olympic Gold Medalist, she discovered that running was the nature of the job, and she hasn’t slowed her pace since. Said Wotttle, “Dorothy is a creative thinker, consistent supporter, a sensitive listener, wise counsel and true friend.” These attributes were recognized by many on campus as she quickly became the “go to person” in the admission office.
For 28 recruitment years, she has warmly welcomed prospective students and their families, kindly answered their questions, and gently guided them in the right direction. She has been called “the foundation of the campus visit experience.”
Brownyard’ nominators wrote her ability to deal with crises as well as her talent in thinking outside the box sets her apart. “She has an uncanny aptitude to pull people together from across campus and rally them around events that enable the college to shine to prospective students and families. Her rapid response to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina gave Tulane students a place to land and an opportunity to remain on track for graduation. Her work in developing Rhodes Express, a one-stop shop for all student services, is her latest leadership endeavor.”
Throughout her Rhodes career, Brownyard has mentored countless numbers of student employees, tour guides, and admission interns. And invariably, when they return to campus after graduation, they stop by to offer her a heartfelt thank-you for being there during their Rhodes experience.
Distinguished Service Medal
Bruce Lindsey, a member of the Rhodes Class of 1970, serves as the Chief Executive Officer of the William J. Clinton Foundation, the global public service initiative dedicated to turning good intentions into measurable results.
“From his college days, to Georgetown Law School, and beyond, Bruce has always believed in measurable results,” said Chairman of the Rhodes Board of Trustees, William J. Michaelcheck in presenting the award. “Bruce began as a Political Science major at Rhodes, then switched to History, having been inspired by Professors Doug Hatfield and Jim Lanier. His honors thesis, directed by Professor Lanier, focused on the ways liberalism was being redefined in the years following World War II, and the subject resonated with his emerging activism. As a sophomore, he resigned from his fraternity when the national headquarters would not accept an African American friend who had pledged. In the spring of 1970 following the riots at Kent State, while under pressure to complete his honors paper, Bruce organized a group of Rhodes students to drive overnight to Washington, D.C., to participate in an antiwar march.”
A longtime adviser to former President Clinton, Lindsey served in the White House as an Assistant to the President, Deputy White House Counsel, and Senior Adviser.
President Clinton has said, “Throughout the more than 40 years I’ve known him, he has remained a deeply committed and extraordinarily gifted public servant, and a wonderful friend. His service has benefited countless people in Arkansas, the United States and many, through the work of the Clinton Foundation, around the world. He always does great work and never asks for the credit. Bruce is a true servant leader.”
Peyton Nalle Rhodes Phi Beta Kappa Prize
Colin Antaya of West Windsor, N.J., received the 2012 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. The Rhodes Prize is named after Dr. Peyton Nalle Rhodes, longtime Professor of Physics and later President of the College.
Said Professor Scott Newstok in presenting the award, “Colin, your professors lavished praise upon you as one of the most thoughtful, disciplined, dynamic, and self-directed students they had ever worked with at Rhodes. You articulate complex ideas with sophistication. And you creatively integrate what you learn in the classroom with the practical challenges and constraints we all encounter in daily living. . . .”
“You are an equally gifted writer, as your verbal acuity translates well to the page. This past year, your seminar paper on propaganda in World War One America was well-received at a national scholarly conference before it was published as this year’s lead article in the Rhodes Historical Review.”
Antaya also was described as “one of those students professors happily talk about in the hallways, remarking with envy how fortunate other colleagues are to have him enrolled their classes.” In addition, he received the 2012 John Henry Davis Award given annually to the outstanding senior history major.
A member of Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society, Antaya graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor of arts degree in philosophy and history (double major).