It’s Friday afternoon. The sun’s shining brightly as students, mostly seniors, head for Swasey Chapel. There’s a buzz in the air with members of the Class of 2011 wondering who might receive an award. Professors, administrators and members of the Board of Trustees are robed in the bright colors of academic regalia, and before long, Swasey’s pews are overflowing.
It’s the Academic Awards Convocation—a highlight of the year for many, with no shortage of cheers and even a few tears. It’s when the campus stops in the middle of the day to recognize achievements that have been four years in the making.
President Knobel set the tone with thoughts about Denison’s 3,000 stairs, citing them as symbolic of the sustained climb of lifelong learning.
“The women and men we celebrate today have achieved academically by dogged, hard work,” Knobel said. “We recognize as class academic leaders…those who have excelled across the curriculum, and our idea of liberal arts education is that success in college is a prelude to a life of learning.”
Garrett Jacobsen, associate professor of classics and chair of the faculty, awarded President’s Medals to seven outstanding seniors, and earlier this week, Distinguished Leadership awards were conferred on 24 members of the Class of 2011.
Among other highlights from the ceremony, President Knobel presented the Class of 1954 Richard G. Lugar Professorship in Public Policy to Associate Professor of Political Science Andrew Katz. Senator Lugar ’54, a Trustee of the college, was in attendance today for the ceremony.
Provost Brad Bateman presented the Charles A. Brickman Teaching Excellence Award to Professor of English Kirk Combe. The award is given each year to a faculty member who is a master craftsman in the profession—a model of dedication to students and to student learning.
Those in attendance also heard a cool, jazzy version of that familiar song “To Denison,” arranged by Harry Brisson ’11 and performed by five students on saxophone. The convocation ended with the traditional rendition, with students, faculty, Trustees and parents singing to their fair college on the hill.