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Eckerd College Commencement
Award Recipients

Award Recipients

The Philip J. Lee Honor Award
Zoe Friedman, recipient

The Philip J. Lee Honor Award is presented to the senior student whose scholarly achievements at Eckerd College have demonstrated both exceptional accomplishment and superior promise.

This year's recipient is from New York. She is a double major in Visual Arts and Spanish.

She has been a Ford Scholar and a Klarin Scholar, and received both an Honors Scholarship and Talent Scholarship in Visual Arts. She received a Freeman Grant for study abroad twice, and conducted research on the arts and culture of China in 2005 and Malaysia in 2007. She also spent a semester abroad in Spain in the spring of 2006.

She is also the recipient of a Fulbright Award this year to teach English in Malaysia. She was a member of the Dainty Art Collective, a quartet of Interdisciplinary and Visual Arts majors that last summer created a multi-media performance work for the community gallery, Studio@620.

This spring she mounted a multi-media thesis installation in Elliott Gallery. She contributed to the cover art for the Ford Scholar and the Eckerd Review and participated in the public art event Shrimp Attack two years ago.

In June she will participate in a faculty-student research trip to Malaysia where she will interview youth of that country about the westernization and Islamization of their country, focusing mostly on their connections with the arts.

In July, she will return to campus to teach English to 36 Japanese students in the Eckerd Kinjo program.

In November she will return to Malaysia for one year, under the auspices of the Fulbright program, to teach English.

She will thereafter apply to graduate programs in Visual Arts in preparation for a career in teaching art at the college level.

Her exceptional scholarly promise is certain to make her alma mater proud.

This year's Phillip J. Lee Honor Award Recipient is Zoe Friedman.

The Irving G. Foster Award
Pamela Lyra Hilliard, recipient

The Irving G. Foster Award is given to a graduate of the Program for Experienced Learners who demonstrates excellence in overall academic achievement.

This year's recipient of the Irving G. Foster award is from St. Petersburg. She is majoring in American Studies with a minor in Anthropology. She is considered by her professors to be an exemplary student, an outstanding writer, and superb analytical thinker. Her research projects have included a critical analysis of Robert Kennedy's memoir of the Cuban missile crisis.

She also spent several months in Ireland gathering data on the Irish perceptions of Americans. In recognition of her academic excellence, she was selected into the PEL Honors Program, and is graduating with high honors. Next fall she will attend Utah State University where she will be working on her Masters degree in American Studies.

This year's Irving G. Foster Award Recipient is Pamela Lyra Hilliard.

The James H. Robinson Award
Charlotte J. Quandt, recipient

The James H. Robinson Award is 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.

This year's recipient is from St. Petersburg, Florida. Today she will be graduating with a major in history. Prior to her enrollment at Eckerd, she was already making a difference in her community through the Ebony Scholars' Program.

She has contributed significantly to the enrichment of the minority experience through her participation as a member of the Afro-American Society and student government.

She served as Parliamentarian for the Afro-American Society, and as general manager for the campus radio station, WECX. Through her leadership as general manager of this station, she has made significant changes, and has enabled the radio station to offer state of the art on-line streaming, which allows students to listen to their favorite songs and music from their individual computers. She has also planned events that encourage partnership between the radio station and various clubs and organizations on campus.

She organized a group of Eckerd College students and created an after school tutorial program for students who are members of the Soulful Arts Dance Studio in downtown St. Petersburg.

This year's James A. Robinson Award Recipient is Charlotte J. Quandt.

The David and Blanche Colgan Memorial Prize
Olesea Tran, recipient

The David and Blanche Colgan Memorial Prize is awarded to a graduate of the Program for 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.

This year's recipient was born in the small Eastern European country of Moldova. She attended Odessa State University in Ukraine. She studied Spanish and Literature and worked as a journalist for five years. She left Ukraine in 2003 with her nine-year-old son after thugs broke into her apartment in the middle of the night. They physically threatened her when she wrote newspaper articles exposing the city mayor for fraud. Not feeling safe in her native country she chose to move to the Untied States which in her words "was the only society where you know the law works."

Fluent in four languages but knowing very little English, she started her education in the United States by taking English as a Second Language courses and immersing herself in the language. After moving to Florida in 2005, she enrolled in the Program for Experienced Learners at Eckerd College.

Overcoming cultural and language barriers, she is graduating with high honors with a major in American Studies. In recognition of her academic excellence she was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa; she is one of six recipients of the Writing Excellence award; and she received the Clifford E. Griggs pre-law award for Excellence in Pre-Law Studies. After graduation she plans to attend law school and specialize in trial law and immigration law.

This year's David and Blanche Colgan Memorial Prize Recipient is Olesea Tran.

The Ronald Wilson Memorial Award
Daniel James Rudge, recipient

The Ronald Wilson Memorial Award is presented to a senior student who has made a significant contribution to the total College community.

This year's recipient is from Millbury, Massachusetts. He will soon be an alumnus with a major in management and minors in finance and economics.

His record of campus leadership and overall contribution to the College is exemplary. During his junior and senior years he served on the Eckerd College Organization of Students as a member of the Financial Affairs & Academic Affairs Committee, Assistant to the ECOS Vice President of Financial Affairs, Chair of the ECOS Financial Affairs Committee, and Vice President of Financial Affairs.

He has held several other appointments during his tenure at Eckerd: Fitness Center Student Supervisor; Facilitator of the Leadership and Self-Discovery Practicum; Eckerd College Student Media Task Force Member; Students in Free Enterprise; and winner of the Eckerd College International Business Senior Leadership Award for 2007.

His other contributions include volunteer service as a Junior Clinic Golf Instructor for children ages 6-12; Habitat for Humanity; and teaching a basic finance course to 7th and 8th grade students at Academy Prep.

This year's Ronald Wilson Memorial Award Recipient is Daniel James Rudge.

The Miller Award
Audrey Copeland, recipient

The Miller Award is presented to the senior student whose life activities best exemplify the ideal of unselfish and public-spirited service to the community, off campus as well as on campus.

This year's recipient is from Ashland, Oregon. She will soon be an alumna of Eckerd College with a double major in Environmental Studies and Anthropology and a minor in Spanish.

Throughout her four years here she has contributed greatly to the Eckerd College community. She was president of the Sustainable Campus Task Force in her junior and senior years. She participated in volunteer opportunities such as Into the Streets, Community Plunge and the Eckerd College Homeless Outreach program.

It was her involvement in environmental issues that set her apart from other students. She volunteered for the Beth-el Farm Workers Mission and service learning trips to Panama and Nicaragua where she assisted local communities with ecotourism and other development initiatives. She became the foremost advocate for the environment on campus and steadily became a crusader to eliminate Styrofoam in the college cafeteria and The Pub. Through her hard work and negotiations, the cafeteria and Pub switched to biodegradable containers.

She is a sterling scholar, one of only 16 student inductees into Phi Beta Kappa this spring, a member of ODK, a Ford Scholar, and the recipient of the Edward B. Tylor Award for Excellence in Anthropology.

In the near future she would like to work on grassroots conservation issues. For next year, she has accepted an Americorps position to coordinate environmental service on Eckerd College's campus. Long term her goal is to get a joint MBA and environmental studies master's degree and pursue a degree in green business.

This year's Miller Award Recipient is Audrey Copeland.

Robert A. Staub Distinguished Teacher Award
Laura Reiser Wetzel, recipient

For your creative and innovative approaches to the teaching of marinegeophysics;

For your constant attention to finding fresh ways to engage students and increase your teaching effectiveness;

For your leadership in revising and strengthening the marine science curriculum;

For your skill in designing assignments that enable students to develop further their writing and quantitative skills while mastering course content;

For helping to make your colleagues more effective teachers in the general education program through your contributions to Western Heritage in a Global Context;

For your creation of the Sabbaticals in Seismology program for faculty sponsored by the Incorporated Research Institution for Seismology and the development of instructional materials for Spreadsheets Across the Curriculum project;

For your meticulous mentoring of first year students and marine science majors;And for making the study of geology important, engaging and even fun in a state without any good rocks,

Eckerd College presents the Robert A. Staub Distinguished Teaching Award to Laura Reiser Wetzel, Associate Professor of Marine Geophysics

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