Several honored for academic achievement during MC's April 12 ceremony

April 17, 2003

Amanda K. Baker, a senior art major from Clinton, Tenn., was named the 2003 Outstanding Senior at Maryville College during the Academic Awards Ceremony held on campus April 12.

Established by the Maryville College Alumni Association in 1974 and first presented in 1975, the Outstanding Senior award recognizes those students whose overall record of academic achievement and participation in extracurricular activities stand out as most exemplary.

According to Helen Bruner, director of alumni and parent relations at the College, the purpose of the award is to recognize a senior “who has been active in a broad range of activities in college, who exemplifies an ‘ideal’ Maryville College graduate and who has the potential to be an outstanding alumnus/alumna – both as a representative of the College and in his or her service to the institution.”

Baker, the daughter of Debbie Baker of Clinton and Allen Baker of Knoxville, enrolled at Maryville College in 1999, following graduation from Clinton High School.

In presenting his advisee at the April 12 ceremony, Dr. Carl Gombert, associate professor of art, described Baker as an exemplary student, a talented artist and performer and a visible member of the community.

“ Last year, I had the honor of standing here and presenting Amanda Baker as the first-ever recipient of the Ryan Newhouse Award for her contributions in the arts and in business,” Gombert said. “Tonight I have the greater privilege of again standing before you and extolling the virtues of Amanda Baker, a nominee for the Outstanding Senior Award. Whether or not she is named THE Outstanding Senior, she is truly an outstanding person.”

Baker’s list of college activities includes the Academic Integrity Board, the Academic Life Council, the President’s Roundtable, the College’s Non-Profit Leadership Development Program, the Community Choir and Voices of Praise, the MC Dance Team, the Student Programming Board, WZUP radio station and Omicron Delta Kappa. She worked as a conference assistant during the summer of 2001, taught art during a January-Term Kid’s College and assisted new students through the Peer Mentor Program.

Off-campus, Baker interned with the prestigious Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston, S.C., and the 2002 Foothills Fall Festival in Maryville. During her college career, she also has volunteered with YOKE Youth Ministries and served on Calvary Chapel’s worship team in Knoxville.

Only those seniors with a minimum grade point average of 3.0 are considered for nomination for the Outstanding Senior Award. A committee that includes student, faculty and staff representation is given the responsibility of choosing five finalists. Those finalists are invited to respond in writing to questions about their view of their future role as alumni of Maryville College, their goals for the future and their understanding of how the College has influenced them and helped shape those goals.

In her essay, Baker wrote that the College has been “everything that [she has] been about in the past four years.”

“ Maryville has given me my friendships, my knowledge, my experiences and my challenges,” she wrote. “ … I feel that just taking the classes I have taken has given me a wider perspective of the world and the cultures, opinions and conflicts that fill it.

“… My curriculum here has included everything from painting to economics to sculpture to accounting. Throw in world religions and environmental toxicology and my fascination for the world is only just beginning!” she added in the essay. “Maryville College has given me a curiosity to know and the courage to ask.”

Finalists for the Outstanding Senior award included Preston Fields of Knoxville, Tenn.; Rachael Garza of Springfield, Va.; Lois Gray of Shelbyville, Tenn.; and Ben Wicker of Knoxville. For more information on each finalist, read their stories.

As finalists, Fields, Garza, Gray and Wicker were all presented a framed award. Baker was presented a framed award, as well, plus a cash award of $500. Her name will be added to the Outstanding Senior plaque displayed on campus.


Several honored for academic achievement during MC's April 12 ceremony

April 17, 2003

More than 50 different awards were presented to 56 students during Maryville College’s Academic Awards Ceremony held April 12 in Wilson Chapel. Attended by students, their parents and other family members, the ceremony began with a procession of faculty members and administrators led by mace bearer Dr. Terry Simpson, associate professor of secondary education and the recipient of the 2002 Outstanding Teaching Award.

“ We take immense pride and personal satisfaction in the accomplishments of these students as we recognize them for their special commitment to learning, their passion for understanding, their sensitivity to nuance, and their willingness to apply those talents for the common good,” said Dr. Robert Naylor, vice president and dean of the College, who described the ceremony as “a celebration of scholarship and the ideals of the liberal arts.”

Below is a list of awards given and students recognized in all seven academic divisions, general education and other departments.



Rebecca Garvin, a senior psychology major from Carrollton, Texas, was honored with the David H. Briggs Award.

Lois Gray, a senior education major, of Shelbyville, Tenn., was the recipient of the Child Development Award.

The Irma Young Outstanding Senior Award in [sign language] Interpreting was given to Lauren Doyle, a deaf studies and sign language interpreting major from Medford, Mass., and Gentry Fischer, a psychology and sign language interpreting major from Middletown, N.Y.



Lori Brown, a junior physical education major of Maryville, was honored with the Phi Epsilon Rho Scholarship Award.

The award for Outstanding Student Teacher in the Elementary Grades was presented to Kelly Cook, a child development major from Hixson, Tenn.

The award for Outstanding Student Teacher in the Secondary Grades was given to Amelia Keller, an English major from Maryville; Keller also received an award in the Humanities.



Music education major Katie Wagner, a senior from Maryville, was honored with the Barraclough Choir Award.

Junior Dustin Norwood, a music major from Knoxville, received the Davies Fine Arts Award.

Marissa McInnis, a junior music and environmental studies major from Pace, Fla., was the recipient of the Maryville College Music Faculty Award for Superior Performance.

The Bates Forensic-Drama Award was conferred upon senior Aja Rodriguez, a writing/communications and theatre major of San Benito, Texas.

Sonja Hanchar, a sophomore theatre major from Clarksville, Tenn., was awarded the Evelyn Seedorf Prize in Dramatic Arts.

Heidi Hansen, of Athens, Tenn., was chosen as the Outstanding Senior Theatre Student.

Sophomore Rennie Salata, a music major from Maryville, was honored twice during the evening, receiving both the Dorothy Barber Bushing Award and the Star of Delta Omicron. Salata was also recognized for outstanding achievement in Spanish.

The Clark Family Prize was awarded to sophomore graphic design major Amanda Davis of Maryville.



Senior biology major Brent Robinson from Greenback was presented with the Glenn Hewitt Award in Ethics.

Senior international studies major Jodi Poore of Clinton received the Liberal Arts Award.



The Ruth Lloyd Kramer Memorial Scholarship Award was presented to senior writing/communications major, Scott King. King, of Blountville, Tenn., and senior English major Jennie Lowe, of Powell, were also awarded the Charlotta Cook Hensley Memorial Award.

The Alexander English Prize was awarded to seniors Amelia Keller and Sara Moore, a writing/communications major from Sarasota, Fla.

Russell Hayes, a junior from Maryville, was recognized with the Verton M. Queener Award for History.

The Bates Bible Award and the T.T. Alexander Scholarship Award were presented to senior religion major Preston Fields of Knoxville.

Wesley Andrew Lombardo, a senior from Maryville, received the Edwin R. Hunter Award for Excellence in Research in English or American Literature.

Impressions, MC’s campus literary magazine, presented three awards for excellence to magazine contributors. The award for Best Art/Photography was given to senior Sherry Williams, a business major from Maryville; the award for Best Poetry went to senior English major Hannah Thompson of Gwinnett, Ga.; sophomore Leslie Ann Johnson, a sign language interpreting major from Fredericksburg, Va., won the magazine’s award for Best Prose.

Four students were recognized for outstanding achievement in foreign language, including junior Kimberly Collins, a biochemistry major from Oak Ridge, in French, freshman Patricia Nee, of Tullahoma, Tenn., in German, and Rennie Salata and junior Olena Tymchenko, a business major of Melitopol, Ukraine, in Spanish. Collins also received an award in the Natural Sciences.



Nate Lee, a junior math major from Sevierville, accepted the Russell N. and Frances Lane Edwards Scholarship Award.

Senior math major Valerie Freel of Maryville received the George A. Knapp Mathematics award.

The West Chevrolet Academic Award was presented to three freshmen from Maryville: Nick Giles, Brandon Roberts and Eric Weatherbee.

Math majors Beth Davis, a sophomore of Oneida, Tenn., and Hayley Smith, a junior of Knoxville, were both recognized with the William H. Dent Calculus Award.

The Jerry L. Pietenpol Computer Science Award was presented to Jeremy Baucom of Chattanooga.

Senior business major Lisa Ritter of Cincinnati, Ohio, was presented with an award for Outstanding Achievement in Statistics.



Jessica Pope of Maryville was the recipient of the Sophomore Biology Award.

Junior Alan Brock, a biology major from Etowah, Tenn., accepted the Susan Allen Green Award.

Senior biology majors Molly Tveite of Benton, Ky., and Catherine Webb of Knoxville both were honored with the A. Randolph Shields Award.

Damon DeLeon, a freshman from Maryville, received an award for Outstanding Performance in Inorganic Chemistry; Knoxville sophomore Chelsea Kissinger and Maryville junior Eric Johnson received awards for Outstanding Performance in Structural Chemistry. At the event, Johnson was also awarded the College’s Presidential Scholarship, an award valued at $17,000 for tuition.

Justin Caughron, a senior from Maryville, was honored with an award for Distinguished Achievement in Chemistry. Maryville College President Dr. Gerald W. Gibson later presented Caughron with the 2003 LeQuire Award, which is reserved for a promising senior who is pursing a career in medicine.

The George A. Knapp Physics Award recognized junior engineering major Darren Dachelet, of Anniston, Ala.

Kimberly Collins was the recipient of the Elizabeth Hillman Award.



Christopher Hixon, of Clearwater, Fla., was honored twice during the evening, accepting both the John W. Burgess Award, and the Outstanding Senior Award for the Student Majoring in Economics.

Sevierville’s Wesley Blalock, a junior business major, was the recipient of the Wall Street Journal Award.

The Verton M. Queenor Political Science Award was presented to junior Stephanie Rowan of Lenoir City.

Sophomore Amanda Atkins, a political science major from Maryville, received the Agnes Thornton-Bird Endowed Memorial Award.

Sociology and business major LeeAnn Godbey, a senior from Iredell, N.C., was honored with an award for Outstanding Achievement in Sociology.

Jeremy Baucom received a second accolade during the evening with the Judson Murphy Award.



Jasmina Tumbas, sophomore art major from Werl, Germany, was presented with the Mary Elizabeth Jackson Award for outstanding achievement as an international student. Tumbas was also awarded MC’s Presidential Scholarship, which is a $17,000 award to cover tuition.

Junior Leslie McDade, a history and economics major of Maryville, received the Newhouse Award.

Junior psychology major Rhyannon Bemis of Maryville and Wesley Blalock were recognized with the Alpha Gamma Sigma Award.

Molly Tveite was honored for a second time with the Alpha Delta Lambda Award.

The Maryville College Alumni Association presented Amanda Baker, a senior art major from Clinton, Tenn., with the Outstanding Senior Award. Finalists for this award included Preston Fields of Knoxville; Rachael Garza of Springfield, Va.; Lois Gray of Shelbyville, Tenn.; and Ben Wicker of Knoxville.



Maryville College is ideally situated in Maryville, Tenn., between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Knoxville, the state's third largest city. Founded in 1819, it is the 12th oldest institution of higher learning in the South and maintains an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA). Known for offering its students a rigorous and highly personal experience that includes an undergraduate research requirement, Maryville College is a nationally ranked institution of higher learning that successfully joins the liberal arts and professional preparation. Total enrollment for the fall 2016 semester is 1,198.