Judson College held its 181st commencement on June 29, 2019. Families and friends of graduates gathered in historic Alumnae Auditorium for the conferring of Associate Degrees in Nursing and Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, and Bachelor of Social Work degrees.
Dr. W. Mark Tew opened his first commencement as president with the addition of a new tradition to the ceremony: the ringing of the College’s cherished Triangle, a symbol whose history dates back to the 19th century when students were called to begin a new day with its unmistakable sound. Tew wanted to acknowledge this history and to recognize “the new day facing each graduate”. Senior Class Song Leader Kate Wright of Lathrop, Mo., led the commencement procession with the Triangle.
“Since 1838,” Tew said, “Judson has graduated young women who have been leaders in industry, jurisprudence, research, teaching, and model citizens with every imaginable responsibility.” Addressing the Class of 2019, Tew said, “Your future is limited only by the extent of your ambition and creativity…We will all follow your example as you become the mentors and teachers of another generation.”
The commencement speaker was Sharon Curry Thompson, a 1991 Judson graduate, who shared her story of trusting God through the “seasons” of her life, from being a military wife and becoming a mother to entering corporate banking “from scratch” at age 35.
Reflecting on Matthew 22:37-39 and the profound impact the “greatest commandments” had had on her life, Thompson exhorted graduates to let love for God and neighbor direct their lives after graduation. “I can tell you that there is no greater aspiration than to live your life in this way: to love God with your whole being, from beginning to end, and to love every person along the way,” Thompson said. Thompson, who was named Central Atlanta President of United Community Bank in May 2019, credited her corporate success to the integration of faith into her daily work. She told graduates that, even in a corporate setting, she had sought to bring the care of Christ to each interaction with her with co-workers and customers. “Living this way will change your life,” Thompson said, “and it will change the world.” She reminded the Class of 2019 that pursuing accomplishments and awards–“success” by the world’s standards–should be secondary to whole-heartedly loving God and others. Then, she said, God’s strength and presence would guide them, no matter the “season” of their lives.
Ms. Stephanie Peek, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies, received the Lula and Alton Holley Award for Excellence in Classroom Teaching, an annual faculty award determined by vote of graduating seniors. The award was established in 1982 by Howard and Martha Holley and Mildred and Annie Ruby Holley to recognize excellence in classroom teaching at Judson.
Several special student awards were presented to the following:
Erin Brown, biology and chemistry major from Hartselle, Ala., received the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Student Award, in recognition for her “nobility of character as expressed through spiritual qualities in daily living”.
Megan Matthews, biology, chemistry, and psychology major from Belton, Texas, received the J.C. Faulkner Award, given to honor an “outstanding student and…enthusiastic supporter of Judson College.”
Kayla Oliver, psychology and religious studies major of Odenville, Ala., received the Bible Award, an annual award presented to the senior exhibiting the most “outstanding Christian spirit” and rendering “Christian service to her college” during her tenure as a Judson student.
Four graduates received Scholarship Awards, presented to seniors with excellent academic records at Judson. Award recipients, who maintained 4.0 grade point averages throughout their time at Judson, were Kacie Adams of Clanton, Ala., Erin Brown of Hartselle, Ala., Logan Lanier of Waycross, Ga., and Valentyna Trull of Northport, Ala.
Graduates by degrees and hometowns, including honors earned, are as follows:
Associate Degree in Nursing
Marion, Ala. – Kristina Averette
Merillville, Ind. – LeUndra Henning
Montevallo, Ala. – Hailie Cordes Poole
Moundville, Ala. – Davida Lashell Long
Selma, Ala. – Jessica Shinese Miree; Cynthia Newton; Josephine Doosuur Tion
Tuscaloosa, Ala. – Whitney Shanea Brady; Shaton Council
Uniontown, Ala. – Caitlin Noel Osmer
Bachelor of Arts
Enterprise, Ala. – Shelby Grayson Cranford
Marion, Ala. – Gabriel Lockhart Johnson
Mobile, Ala. – Arienne Borowski, cum laude
Monroeville, Ala. – Samantha G. Queijsen, cum laude
Myitkyina, Kachin, Myanmar – Kai Bu, cum laude
Odenville, Ala. – Kayla Marie Oliver
Orange Beach, Ala. – Leslie Anne Pope, magna cum laude
Panama City, Fla. – Micaylee A. Clayton, cum laude, Degree with Distinction in Secondary English Language Arts Education, Thesis: Flipping the Classroom: An Alternative Teaching Method to Promote Effective Learning
Robertsdale, Ala. – Blair Elizabeth Carrier
Bachelor of Science
Alabaster, Ala. – Katie Allen Etheridge, cum laude
Bay Minette, Ala. – Mattye Wren Crowder, summa cum laude, Degree with Distinction in Biology and Chemistry, Thesis: The Effects of 3-Nitrotyrosine on Skeletal Muscle Cell Growth and Viability
Beauregard, Ala. – Kathryn A. Daniel, cum laude
Belton, Tex. – Megan Lindsey Matthews
Clanton, Ala. – Kacie Michelle Adams, summa cum laude
Greensboro, Ala. – Sydney Parr
Hartselle, Ala. – Erin Elizabeth Brown, summa cum laude, Degree with Distinction in Biology and Chemistry, Thesis: Investigating Histone Deacetylation during Chorion Gene Amplification in Drosophilia Oogenesis
Hoover, Ala. – Bailey Sloan
Jacksonville, Ala. – Quenteeria Shondranique Mooney, magna cum laude, Degree with Distinction in Biology and Chemistry, Thesis: Environmental Analysis of Freetown Creek in Perry County
Lebanon, Tenn. – Cheyenne Nicole Melson
Lowndesboro, Ala. – Samantha Nicole Smith, summa cum laude
Madison, Ala. – Aqui Delois Lacy
Marion, Ala. – Charlotte Faye Tipton
Mathews, Ala. – Kaitlyn Lane Sweat, magna cum laude
McCalla, Ala. – Chakia Lakoie Hinkle
Mineral Bluff, Ga. – Joy Elizabeth Thompson, summa cum laude
Northport, Ala. – Leslie Mikaela Wheat, cum laude; Valentyna Camille Trull, summa cum laude, Degree with Distinction in Biology and Chemistry, Thesis: Expression of Recombinant Human Tamm-Horsfall Protein Analogs in Kidney Cells for Large Scale Isolation and Purification
Selma, Ala. – Rhonda Gayle Caver Barnes; Lauren Ellis; Tori Jean Hatfield
Silverhill, Ala. – Holly Katherine Brock
Soddy Daisy, Tenn. – Macy Michelle Ingle
Somerville, Ala. – Kailee Mai Ramsey
Uniontown, Ala. – Royale Jeronica Fikes
Violet, La. – Shelby Nyree Lauzon, summa cum laude, Degree with Distinction in Biology and Chemistry, Thesis: Annelid Living in Toxic Hydrogen Sulfide
Waycross, Ga. – Logan Lanier, summa cum laude
Bachelor of Social Work
Ardmore, Ala. – Jaquelin Michelle Gerhold
Marion, Ala. – Dalilah Marain Parrish
Milton, Fla. – Jessica Thompson