As a throng of family and friends looked on, dozens of graduating Franklin & Marshall College seniors were honored May 9 at the College's annual Senior Awards Ceremony.
"We're here to honor these outstanding students, and of course, we recognize all of our students in the Class of 2014," F&M President Daniel R. Porterfield said in his welcoming remarks.
Melissa Serrano '14 received the annual Dick Winters '41 Award for Perseverance and Leadership, named for the F&M alumnus whose World War II leadership as a solider and an officer was recounted in Stephen Ambrose's 1992 book "Band of Brothers" and subsequent HBO min-series.
In her four years at F&M, Serrano has served as coordinator for F&M SLAM, an afterschool mentoring program; spent spring break of her junior year in Honduras working at a medical mission; and visited Europe for five weeks in the summer on a Humanity in Action Fellowship, studying minority rights and conducting research on intolerance and resistance to democratic values. This summer, with the help of a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship, she will teach English at a university in Mexico and work on a social change project.
F&M established the Winters Award in 2013 to honor the Pennsylvania soldier's legacy and to recognize a student who exhibited the strength of character, the quality of perseverance and the skill of leadership that defined Winters.
In 2012, a monument was dedicated to Winters on the causeway to Utah Beach in Normandy, France. To date, he is the only American soldier so honored. Stephen Spears, the sculptor who created the monument, designed the medal for F&M's Winters Award.
The ceremony, held in a packed Ann & Richard Barshinger Center for the Musical Arts, included the presentation of awards to seniors who made significant contribution to various aspects of the College. The award winners were:
Dozens of other students received academic department awards during the ceremony, which included the premiere of "2014," a musical arrangement composed by Christian Walsh '14 and performed by a senior ensemble:
As it does each year, the College also recognizes a high school teacher for outstanding work in encouraging learning and motivating students. The recipient of this year's High School Teacher Award was Emily (Bagoly) Pickering '76, who teaches at the Shipley School in Bryn Mawr, Pa. A former student of hers, Sarah Blank, F&M's Class of 2014, nominated Pickering for the award.