Yesterday was Awards Convocation — the day when we celebrate the academic accomplishments of Sweet Briar students.
In my opening remarks, I pointed out that those receiving awards are far from the only students who achieved meaningful things this year. During the course of the year, every student on campus has fulfilled some aspiration, realized a personal best, or attained a new level in her field. When we gather for Convocation we celebrate an academic year full of daily successes and hard-won victories.
Congratulating an honoree with Professor Cheryl Mares
Many recognitions are given at Convocation: you can find the list of all awards on our web site. As each student is recognized, the chair of her program or department joins me on the stage to shake her hand — and often to offer a hug and an appreciative word. It really is a lovely moment, acknowledging the ties forged by years of shared study.
I have the privilege of awarding the Presidential Medal, which recognizes academic excellence as well as dedication to other key educational values — such as appreciation for the arts, a global perspective, athletic excellence, community service, leadership, integrity of character. This year’s medalist is Spencer Beall, recognized for her outstanding work in French and cultural studies, her dedication to the humanities in an international framework, and her unfailing graciousness and warmth.
And, as is fitting, Convocation is a joyous event!
The faculty procession was welcomed into Babcock by the concert choir, singing a rousing version of “Let The River Run.” (Senior professors were clapping and swaying, marvelous.) And afterwards, we had a reception on the lawn featuring the music of Skiffle USA. When you’re the only women’s college with a steel pan drum ensemble, you want to make sure the world knows about it. What better occasion than awards convocation to make a joyful noise?