Reinhardt celebrates student achievements

By Erika Neldner

Evening of Honors is a tradition at Reinhardt University where juniors and seniors are recognized for their hard work through the academic year. The coronavirus outbreak and related governmental executive orders forced Reinhardt University to cancel group gatherings for the remainder of the academic year, including the much-anticipated Evening of Honors, originally scheduled for April 9.  

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“Our faculty and staff look forward to celebrating the academic achievements of our students every year. In this new environment, we have to seek alternative methods to accomplish what we are used to doing every year,” said Dr. Mark Roberts, acting president, executive vice president and provost. “While we have been forced to cancel this year’s Evening of Honors ceremony, we will be sending each honored student their respective awards.” 

This year’s Students of the Year exemplify teamwork, dedication to community and a strong spirit for success. 

Erinn Marroquin, the 2020 Traditional Student of the Year, came to Reinhardt sight unseen and from nearly 2,000 miles away. What she found is a place God called her to and a place filled with family away from her biological family.  

“Over my three years attending Reinhardt, I have seen how  its mission to develop the intellectual, social, personal, vocational, spiritual and physical dimensions of its students has positively influenced my life and the lives of other Reinhardt students. Since my first day on campus, Reinhardt has been a significant blessing in my life,” Marroquin said.  

Two years ago, Reinhardt showed her what it meant to be a family. She spent two stints in the hospital with acute pancreatitis and later gall bladder surgery, and her support system rallied around her. Reinhardt leadership and staff visited her at her bedside, solidifying her choice of selecting the best collegiate family away from her home in Arizona. 

“The feeling of comfort and support those visits provided me during an extremely difficult time is indescribable. I felt like it was home away from home and could feel the love and care from the Reinhardt family,” she said. “This event single-handedly impacted my life’s philosophy (of following Christ’s example) more than any other during my time at Reinhardt. The Reinhardt community showed me the love and compassion I strive to give others and their examples motivate me to continue in that philosophy for the rest of my life.” 

Anthony ReFour, the 2020 Non-Traditional Student of the Year, has balanced his educational responsibilities while also serving as a patrol sergeant for Emory University Police. He has more than 15 years of experience in law enforcement and chose to pursue higher education, knowing that his efforts will help him reach his goal of leading a law enforcement agency. ReFour is married with a new baby girl and credits his wife, Denise, for being his “rock” and supporting him during his quest for his associate’s and bachelor’s degrees. ReFour graduated with an associate’s degree from Reinhardt and quickly enrolled in the Bachelor of Criminal Justice program.  

“Though I have solely been a student in the online program at Reinhardt, I still feel a deep connection to the university. I’ve never felt as though I’m just another individual passing through the program, which I believe has been one of the driving factors in my success within the program,” he said. “My experience in life has taught me that only through hard work and determination, even in the face of exhaustion, can one begin to shine. I feel as though my experience at Reinhardt has truly exemplified that statement.” 

Engaged Learner Award 

MaKayla Newell, a senior set to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in education, is the 2020 Engaged Learner Award recipient. The award is given annually to a Reinhardt student who has earned a 3.5 overall GPA, exhibits campus leadership inside and outside the classroom, participates in Center for Innovative Teaching and Engaged Learning (CITEL) scholarly activities with faculty, and has engaged in at least three High Impact Practices.  

“MaKayla received a research grant from CITEL to redesign a Reinhardt classroom to mirror a typical public school inclusion classroom and studied how access to these materials impacted teacher disposition, knowledge and efficacy,” said Dr. Mason Conklin, director of the Center for Innovative Teaching and Engaged Learning. “Her efforts give future Reinhardt education students a unique opportunity for hands-on experience, and her research was accepted by the Southern Regional Honors Conference. MaKayla has a 4.0 GPA, and is actively involved in the President’s Leadership course, campus ministry and new student orientation.” 

No Greater Love Award 

Jamie Rhinehart is the 2020 “No Greater Love” Award winner, as she exemplifies a spirit of caring for others through her work with Campus Ministries.  

“Jamie wanted to serve Campus Ministries for three years, and her selfless devotion to that program is part of the reason she received that award,” said Campus Pastor Jamie Hudgins. “She has an amazing eye for details to help keep other people’s experiences positive with all of the programming we’ve been doing. She’s constantly thinking of how other people will be impacted and affected by everything we are doing, which illustrates her heart for people.” 

The No Greater Love Award has been given since 1998 at Reinhardt University to a student who has expressed a spirit of caring through extraordinary and exemplary community service and love of fellow humans. This award was created in memory of Ernest “Chip” Koella IV, grandson of longtime Reinhardt University supporters, the late Steve and the late Virginia Tumlin, whose final act reflected John 15:13 as he laid down his life while attempting to save the life of a stranger.   

School Student Achievement Awards 

Abigail Merchant was selected as the School of Arts & Humanities award winner, as she took full advantage of educational opportunities during her time at Reinhardt. She is graduating with a double major in history and art, with a museum studies minor.  

“Abigail Merchant came into Reinhardt with a wealth of experience working in historical museums as a dedicated teenage volunteer.  At Reinhardt, she turbocharged her education through a History major and a Museum Studies minor,” said history professor Dr. Ken Wheeler. “She co-authored a prize-winning historical article in one course, worked a year on a major historical exhibit under a grant won by Dr. Donna Little, and has done multiple internships, including studying with Professor Jeff Bishop, who runs the Funk Heritage Center.  Because she is highly energetic and responsible, with a keen appetite for knowledge, it is no wonder Abigail won acceptance into the graduate program in public history at the University of West Georgia.  We’re all very proud to claim her as a Reinhardt graduate.” 

Assistant Professor of Art Brett Mullinix was impressed with Merchant’s dedication to excel in everything she does.  

“Abbie is perhaps one of the most driven and creative art students that my colleagues and I have had the good fortune to work with. From her first intro drawing class to her Exhibition Thesis Portfolio, she has consistently gone above and beyond in every visual challenge put before her,” Mullinix said. “Abbie’s creativity is only surpassed by her kindness and infectious positivity, which will be sorely missed. There is, however, some solace in knowing that she will be sharing her many talents and boundless energy with others as she pursues her graduate studies at the University of West Georgia.” 

McCamish School of Business & Sport Studies  

Madison McElroy was selected as the 2020 McCamish School of Business & Sport Studies award winner based on the leadership she portrayed during her time at Reinhardt.  

“Madison is a leader, not only in the classroom, but also across campus.  She has maintained success in the classroom, while holding officer positions in SGA and working in the HR office on campus,” said Melissa Hickman, associate professor of accounting. “Her quiet demeanor and attention to detail have made her an ideal leader in the classroom and her peers look to her for guidance and support.  It has truly been a pleasure to watch her grow academically and professionally.” 

“Madison is attentive and strives to be excellent in all areas,” said Dr. Tony Daniel, associate professor of business. “As her advisor, I’ve had the opportunity to talk with her one on one and see her passion for learning.  She has a high academic standard, participated in SGA and also participated in external business community activities (part time job/internship).” 

Laykn Hager is the second award winner for the McCamish School of Business & Sport Studies, representing sport studies. The 4.0 student made a strong impression on the Sport Studies faculty, as she’s known for her strong work ethic and compassion for others.

“Lakyn is a wonderful student that cares deeply about learning and making everyone around her better,” said Dr. Joe Mullins, program coordinator for Sport Studies. “Lakyn’s work ethic and her compassion for her fellow classmates is something that all students should strive for.”

Price School of Education 

Annese Blockley’s heart for children and dedication to learning is what made her stand out as the 2020 Price School of Education award winner.   

“Annese is the teacher you want your kids to have. She has a deep desire to facilitate success for special needs and low-income students,” said Dr. Nancy Marsh, dean of the Price School of Education. “Her passion for learning and teaching is an inspiration.” 

School of Mathematics & Sciences 

Gemma Hall, who is graduating with a degree in biology, sets her academic goals high and has a passion for learning. Hall is the 2020 School of Mathematics & Sciences award winner.  

“Gemma Hall has displayed a remarkable ability to perform at the highest level academically (4.0) in a high credit major (Biology), while being a leader on the athletic field (soccer), in the resident halls (RA) and even in the classroom/laboratory where she was a work study student,” said Dr. Jacob Harney, dean of the School of Mathematics & Sciences. ” I feel fortunate to have been at RU during her undergraduate education and am convinced she will make RU proud in any endeavor she pursues.” 

Cauble School of Nursing & Health Sciences 

Madison Price has been selected as the 2020 Cauble School of Nursing & Health Sciences award recipient. Dr. Linda Morgan, interim dean of the Cauble School, said Price exemplifies “what a good nurse should be.” 

“She is not only intelligent, but perceptive, caring and compassionate,” Morgan said. “Madison will be working in pediatrics, which takes a very special person who can balance excellent critical thinking skills, with playfulness.” 

School of Performing Arts 

Jaime Mandujano’s vocal talent is a sound to behold, but Dr. Fredrick Tarrant, dean of the School of Performing Arts, agrees Mandujano’s integrity and academic prowess are just as exemplary. 

“Jaime is an exemplary student in the School of Performing Arts,” Tarrant said. “His integrity as a person, an academic, and a musician makes him a worthy recipient of the School Award.” 

School of Professional Studies 

Anthony ReFour, who is earning his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, maintained the highest grade-point average in the School of Professional Studies, and is this year’s School of Professional Studies award recipient.  

“It is important to note that he accomplished this while working full-time as a police officer for Emory University and while attending the Professional Management Program at Columbus State University,” said Trey Drawdy, interim dean of the School of Professional Studies. “Additionally, his superior academic achievement was recognized earlier this year through induction into  Reinhardt University’s chapter of Alpha Chi.” 

ACADEMIC DEGREE PROGRAM AWARDS 

ART

Art: Abigail Marie Merchant; Ruth Anne Thomas 

Graphic Design: Sarah Lynn Shaula Crawford 

Biology: Michael John Arnold; Hope Ann Elrod 

BUSINESS

Accounting: Audrey Leigh Frost; Jacob Gregory McWhorter 

BBA Online: Robert Matthew Anderson 

General Business/General Comm: Cristian Darwin DeLeon-Velasco 

Management: Lindsey Warren Graham; Mary Madison McElroy 

Marketing: Valerie Suzanne Bartlett; Eric Franz Josef Weixlbaumer 

OML: Logan Christopher Couch 

Sport Studies: Connor Thomas Bean; Glauka Carvajal 

COMMUNICATION ARTS 

Communications & Media Studies: Mason Candler Smith; Adam Ray Warmouth 

Digital Media Arts: James Harrison Gilbert; Nataleigh Dawn Long 

CRIMINAL JUSTICE (BCJ)

Joshua Scott Chancey 

Phillip Grant Stacy 

EDUCATION 

Early Childhood Education: MaKayla Gwendolyn Newell; Carson Burke Ivester 

Middle Grades Education: Kaitlyn LeeAnn Baggett 

Secondary ELA: Abigale Regina Bearden; Megan Ann Pruett 

Secondary Math: Allison Camille Storm; Kaitlin Emily Marick 

HEALTHCARE ADMINISTRATION (BHA)

Emily Lois Joyce 

Stephen Anthony Renner 

HISTORY

Abigail Marie Merchant 

Joshua William Cole Carver 

INTERDISCIPLINARY STUDIES

Hannah Nicole Nettuno 

Jamie Lynne Rhinehart 

MATH

Edward Gordon Dudley 

Jesus Antonio Guzman Bonilla  

NURSING

Shannon Nicole Champion 

Jessica Lynn Mirocha 

PERFORMING ARTS 

Music Education: Shawn Alen Speight; Kayla Alexandra Thomas 

Music Performance: Zoe Annelise Reddick; Spenser Grace Dunn 

Theatre Studies: Megan Ashley Hancox; Rhonda Fay Kelley 

Musical Theater: Anastasia Hope Cutter; Daniel Steven Ware 

POLITICAL SCIENCE

Jenna Marisa Purpura 

Noah Benjamin Bailey 

PSYCHOLOGY

McKenzi Rae Shelpman

Trinity Ann McManus 

SOCIOLOGY 

Criminal Justice: Hanna Elaine Braswell; Carlos David Molina 

Cultural Diversity: Hanna Elaine Braswell 

Reinhardt University Academic Scholars
Awarded to seniors and juniors with a cumulative grade-point
average of 3.9 or higher. (*Graduated Fall 2019)

Seniors

Sarah Witten Ackerson*
Robert Matthew Anderson*
Annese Noel Blockley
Joshua William Cole Carver
Joshua Scott Chancey
Tessa Elizabeth Colden
Sarah Lynn Shaula Crawford
Cristian Darwin DeLeon-Velasco
Daniel Raymond Dolensky
Jessica Marie Fanczi*
Brook Elizabeth Fountain*
Audrey Leigh Frost
James Harrison Gilbert
Lindsey Warren Graham
Lakyn Alexis Hager
Gemma Samantha Hall
Elizabeth Nicole Johnson
Stephanie Morgan Kinney*
Nataleigh Dawn Long
Jaime Alberto Mandujano
Erinn Gabrielle Marroquin
Mary Madison McElroy
Sarah Amber McFarland*
Abigail Marie Merchant
Carlos David Molina
Katherine Elizabeth Nash*
MaKayla Gwendolyn Newell
India Leigh Pilgrim
Zachary Bryan Pinson
Jenna Marisa Purpura
Zoe Annelise Reddick
Anthony Louis ReFour
Jamie Lynne Rhinehart
Emily Faith Smith
Mason Candler Smith

Juniors
Elizabeth Jane Andrews
Aidan Thomas Blockley
Kimberly Marissa Cabrera
Allie Kiersten Childers
Turner Rock Cho
Elizabeth Gwendolyn Day
Nicholas Andrew DiPuma
Jacob John Klebar
Cameron Kulkarni
Sasha Noelle Laveing
Kaitlin Emily Marick
J’aiLa Christina Price
John T. Reed
Hannah Reich
Hannah Grace Roberts
Tripp Wesley Wickard

2020 Hugh Peterson Jr. Academic Scholars
Awarded to seniors and juniors with a cumulative GPA of 3.6 to 3.89. (*Graduated Fall 2019)

Seniors
Harrison Cole Adams
Karyn Elizabeth Arnold
Michael John Arnold
Evan Michael Ashburn
Nathan Robert Ashburn
Kaitlyn LeeAnn Baggett
Noah Benjamin Bailey*
Valerie Suzanne Bartlett
Connor Thomas Bean
Abigale Regina Bearden
River Kayle Brannon*
Hanna Elaine Braswell
Isabelle Lee Breitbarth*
Michaela Elizabeth Brock
Sarah Jayne Elizabeth Burgess*
Kendall Preston Byrd
Michael James Carew
Ashlyn Lauren Carlton*
Glauka Carvajal
Shannon Nicole Champion
Alexandra Diane Chappell
Breanna Sheree Chastain*
Levi Parrish Cochran*
Logan Christopher Couch*
Alexandra Valentina Cuello Morillo*
Anastasia Hope Cutter
Megan Seraphina Cypher
Cameron Thomas Dalton
Joshua Allen Daniels
Emily Lynn Draper
Edward Gordon Dudley
Hope Ann Elrod
Oshorenua Emily Erameh
Joseph D. Fortunato
Julie Ann Frais
Sai Jacob Gonyea
Megan Ashley Hancox
Jackson Wesley Helfrich*
Destini Rebekah Hill
Carson Burke Ivester
Maya Cherelle Jaffar
Amani DeBorah Jones
Brynn Rose Jones
Emily Lois Joyce
Bruno Alejandro Juarez
Rhonda Fay Kelley
Blade Holliday Kendall
Haley Grace King
Nicole Elizabeth Korch
Lauri Mikael Malinen
Trinity Ann McManus
Jacob Gregory McWhorter
Jessica Lynn Mirocha
Ashlee Marie Morgan
Hannah Nicole Nettuno
Trevor Jacob Owenby
Madison Leigh Price
Megan Ann Pruett
Brandon Lee Roberts
Jocelyn Blair Satterfield*
George Richard Seddon*
McKenzi Rae Shelpman*
Shawn Alen Speight
Phillip Grant Stacy
Ashton Taylor Sutton
Chandler Marie Sutton*
Joshua Alan Teague
Eddie Terry
Kayla Alexandra Thomas
Ruth Anne Thomas
Daniel Steven Ware
Cassie Marie Watkins*
Sydney Leigh Weaver
Eric Franz Josef Weixlbaumer*
Christopher David Whitney
Brandon Alan Wix*
Amberlee Blair Zeller

Juniors
Sarah Elizabeth Allen
Robert Cade Archer
Cydney Taylor Arrington
Ariana Azahar
Joshua Steven Belden
Erin Elizabeth Benjamin
Ana Carolina Bezerra
Thomas Ian Boyd
Thomas Akridge Brumbeloe
Laura Diana Chambers
Marc Izan Chavales Torada
Nicholas Phillip Crosby
Alana Celine Crowe
Jacklyn Savanna Davis
Leonardo Fagioli
Gus Daniel Fidler
Josephine Elizabeth Freeman
Reyna Gijon-Vasquez
Marissa Anne Ginsberg
Zoie Grace Hart
Jacob Evan Henderson
Alissa Marilee Hobby
Howard Wayne Hubbard
Rachel Elaine Hutto
Kaylee Glen Jones
Tanner Stephen Kuth
Catherine Collier Lee
Daphne Arlene Lefevers
Sebastian G. Legarra
Elizabeth Claire McCandish
Tiffany Michelle McKibben
Emma Noelle Nettuno
Jonathan Robert Paolozzi
John Tyler Pawlenko
Karen Sinai Perez Castellanos
Gianna Elizabeth Sanders
Slade Alexander Searcy
Kimberlee Alexis Smith
Allison Camille Storm
Michael Charles Sumner
Jernigan Martin Tidwell
Brandon Trey Wilkerson
Havyn Chantel Wilson