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Eckerd College Commencement
Award Recipients

Award Recipient Notables

The Philip J. Lee Honor Award

Ronald Kenneth Porter of Randallstown, Maryland, recipient of the Philip J. Lee Honor Award - presented to the senior student whose scholarly achievements at Eckerd College have demonstrated both exceptional accomplishment and superior promise. Ronald will give the welcoming remarks on behalf of the Residential Program graduates and is a political science major and international relations/global affairs minor with a 3.98 GPA.

Ronald's international experiences include a semester in our London Program, a service learning project in Venezuela, and a summer program which took him to Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam last summer (2004). He applied for and received a Freeman Foundation Grant in Asian Studies to fund this summer program, which allowed him to visit urban and rural areas, gather research data for his Ford Scholars Project on the trafficking of women and children as well as on HIV/AIDS, participate in teaching children at local orphanages, and explore the social conditions and cultural traditions found in these countries. Ronald was a finalist for the Rhodes Scholarship this year, only the second time ever that a Florida Presbyterian/Eckerd College student has been invited to the regional finals for the Rhodes.

Ronald is a Bill and Melinda Gates Millennium Scholarship Recipient (4-year scholarship to Eckerd); 2004 Rhodes Scholarship Regional Finalist; 2004 Omicron Delta Kappa (ODK) Leadership Honor Society; Who's Who Among American Colleges and Universities 2005; and recipient of multiple honors and Dean's List achievements.

Irving G. Foster Award

Christian Damon Vogel of Palm Harbor, Florida, recipient of the Irving G. Foster Award - presented to the graduate of the Program for Experienced Learners who demonstrates excellence in overall academic achievement. Christian is a double major in American studies and business management. The first person in his family to graduate from college, he is the recipient of the Excellence in American Studies Award and The Clifford F. Griggs Award for Excellence in Pre-Law Studies. Christian was recently inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa honor society. After graduation, Christian plans to attend law school and specialize in entertainment, copyright and contract law.

James H. Robinson Award

Tonya Michelle Womack of Pensacola, Florida, recipient of the James H. Robinson Award - presented to the senior student who has by leadership and example contributed significantly to the minority experience at Eckerd College and to a fuller appreciation of cross-cultural values throughout the whole Eckerd community. Tonya is an international relations/global affairs major with a double minor in Chinese and political science. She has served as president of the Afro-American Society, manager for Eckerd's women's basketball team, a member of Eckerd's student government, and is a student member of the St. Petersburg Community Alliance. Through her leadership, Tonya has implemented various campus wide volunteer programs to serve the local community, for example, several Eckerd students are afterschool tutors at McCabe United Methodist Church.

The David and Blanche Colgan Memorial Prize

Vanessa Pinckney of St. Petersburg, Florida, recipient of the David and Blanche Colgan Memorial Prize - presented to a graduate of the Program of Experienced Learners who has demonstrated extraordinary determination and perseverance in achieving a solid academic record and who exemplifies the spirit of life-long learning. The award is provided through the generosity of Eckerd College trustee Mary Miller, a 1997 PEL graduate herself, in memory of her parents. Vanessa is a double major in American Studies and Business Management. In addition to completing the requirements for two majors, Vanessa also started her own business while attending Eckerd College. Vanessa's perseverance and motivation in achieving her goal inspired one of her nominators for this award to write, "A mother of two children, Vanessa is not only a role model to her children; she is also a role model for her fellow students and an inspiration to Program for Experienced Learners faculty and staff. She exemplifies the power of determination and the quest for knowledge and understanding." After graduation Vanessa plans to earn her MBA and eventually hopes to attend law school.

The Robert A. Staub Outstanding Teacher Award

Marjorie S. Hardy of St. Petersburg, Florida, Associate Professor of Psychology, recipient of the Robert A. Staub Outstanding Teacher Award - Eckerd's equivalent to "Teacher of the Year". Click here for the complete text to Marjorie S. Hardy's award citation.

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