Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Premier award recipients named

The recipients of the 2014 Premier Awards were announced last week and will be recognized during Honors Week at The University of Alabama. The 2014 Premier Awards, the University’s highest honors, recognize students and faculty who excel in participation for scholarship, leadership and service.

Mark Nelson, vice president for student affairs and vice provost, said the winners reflect some of the University’s most exceptional students.

“The Premier Awards are among the University’s highest honors,” Nelson said. “The winners are truly exceptional students and faculty members who have given of themselves to the University and the community and who will have a lasting impact on everyone who has been associated with them.”

The Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award recognizes two graduating seniors and one non-student winner. The award recognizes excellence of character and service to humanity, according to the award application. David Phelps and Kirkland Back were the student winners, with Margaret Garner as the faculty winner.

(See also “Premier Awards honor student role models“)

Back, a Gadsden, Ala., native majoring in English, currently serves as the president of the Honors College Assembly. Jacqueline Morgan, associate dean of the honors college, nominated Back for the award.

“My essay talked about this continual experience that a lot of women at Alabama have, which is one where you come to campus, and you get involved in every organization known to God and man, which is exactly what I did. I was a Capstone woman, I was on SGA, I did everything,” Back said. “I no longer wanted what was prescribed to me. I didn’t want to be a part of it. I wanted to do something more. I decided to change the way that I was living and change my approach to campus. I’ve set out on a personal exploration.”

Phelps, a New Orleans, La., native majoring in chemical engineering, said he was in awe with the entire experience. Morgan also wrote a letter of recommendation for the award for Phelps’ application.

“She had really encouraged me to apply. I looked at the awards and didn’t think I had a chance of getting it. It was something that was an insane chance thing to do,” Phelps said. “After graduation I’ve been blessed with a chance to move to New York, and I will be teaching middle school math. I’ve got a ton to learn, but I’m in a great school that will mentor me and teach me how to get better.”

According to the application, the Morris Lehman Mayer Award honors one graduating senior and one teaching faculty recipient who exemplifies the qualities of Morris L. Mayer – integrity, selfless service and leadership. The student winner was Mary Sellers Shaw, and the faculty winner was Caroline Fulmer.

(See also “Junior premier recipient credits award to advisors“)

Shaw is a Birmingham native majoring in communication studies and civic engagement.

“I’ve done a lot of research in Blend, which is focusing on putting together diverse interactions in the campus community,” Shaw said. “I’ve been involved in the Honors College and SGA, and all of those helped me [shape] my viewpoint to teach me about leadership.”

After graduation, Shaw said she is planning to take a year to do service work.

The John Fraser Ramsey Award is given to a junior student with broad humanistic interests who has exerted a positive influence on his or her contemporaries, according to the application. The winner was Brian McWilliams, from Pittsburgh, Pa., who is majoring in biology.

McWilliams is the co-president of a new chapter of Alabama Advocates for World Health, which collects unused, surplus medical supplies from local hospitals and donates them to countries like Haiti and the Dominican Republic, he said.

“Right now I’m working towards a bachelors in biology and a masters in administration,” McWilliams said. “After that I plan on going to med school.”

In addition to the aforementioned awards, the William P. Bloom Scholarship Award honors a junior who has improved intergroup relations within the University community. This year’s recipient was Al-Karim Gilani. The Catherine J. Randall Award is also given to one graduating senior who exemplifies outstanding student scholarshp at the University based on GPA, rigor of course study and extraordinary scholarly or creative endeavors, according to the Division of Student Affairs. This year’s recipient was Joshua Moon.

(See also “Nelson to receive faculty premier service award“)

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