At Oglethorpe’s 2019 commencement I was presented with both the Sally Hull Weltner Award for Scholarship and the James Edward Oglethorpe Award. The Sally Weltner award is a very nice bowl which “honors the student in the graduating class who has attained the highest grade-point average with the greatest number of hours in course work completed at the university.” The James Edward Oglethorpe award is “presented annually to two individuals in the graduating class who, in the opinion of the faculty, have excelled in scholarship, leadership and character.”
I was honored to share the Sally Weltner award with my fellow Honors student and friend Gillian Rabin. (Ties are unusual for the Sally Weltner award, but happily not this year!) I have known Gillian since our shared Scholarship Weekend with the theater department four years ago. She has been a remarkable student and performer over the years, and it was wonderful to take the stage with her.
I was also honored to share the James Edward Oglethorpe Award with my good friend Brad Firchow. I cannot think of any individual who exemplifies leadership and character the way Brad does. To be frank, he is clearly carrying the weight of the award in those two categories this year. Brad had a far larger impact at Oglethorpe than I did, and he accomplished this by being a stupendous leader. He was the best person to receive the award.
When I explained to my family what the James Edward Oglethorpe Award was, my dad called it the “teacher’s pet award.” There is some truth to this. I certainly would not have won the award without the votes of our beloved Oglethorpe faculty. Their recognition means far more than any diploma I obtained that day.
I am not quite finished with academia. I am now a graduate student in the mathematics department at Rutgers University. Even being so far away, I will surely return to Oglethorpe from time to time in person and on this blog if anything notable happens.