Ninety years after Union celebrated its first awards day, members of the campus community gathered at the Memorial Chapel on Saturday to honor students for their achievements in academics, leadership and community service. .
A total of 112 awards were handed out as the event returned to in-person after the pandemic forced the ceremony to be a virtual affair in 2020 and 2021.
President David R. Harris presented the first two awards to Unglid Paul ’22 and Bethany Costello ’22.
A Posse Scholar with a major in English with a double minor in French and Black Feminist Theory, Paul received the Josephine Daggett Award, given annually to a senior for conduct and character.
In acknowledging Paul, Harris noted that his greatest contributions to Union have focused on issues of fairness and equality.
She is a leader of the Office of Intercultural Affairs, where she served as a student facilitator and ran various dialogue-focused programs. She founded Spill the Tea, which is dedicated to creating a courageous space for students, staff and faculty to share different perspectives related to diversity, equity and inclusion. She is also leader of the Gospel Choir.
As a recipient of a scholarship from the Fund for Education Abroad, she lived and studied in Senegal. While there, she was a volunteer intern with the Association des juristes sénégalaises, a pro bono organization of women lawyers that protects and supports children and low-income women who are victims of domestic violence.
In addition to the Daggett, Paul received five other awards on Prize Day.
“This student is a model of character and conduct,” Harris said. “She is an accomplished scholar and activist who has worked tirelessly to make the campus more inclusive.”
Costello, a mechanical engineering major with a minor in energy studies and a minor in Seward’s organizing theme in urban climate change mitigation, was awarded the Frank Bailey Prize (1885). It is awarded annually to the senior who has rendered the greatest service to the College in any field.
A passionate environmental advocate, Costello is Co-Chair of U-Sustain and Vice President of Sustainability for the Student Forum and a member of the Sustainability Committee. She is also the winner of a $25,000 Green Fee, which she used to install eight new water bottle filling stations on campus to reduce consumption of single-use plastic bottles.
Last spring, she was named a Udall Scholar. The winners, who receive a $7,000 scholarship, are chosen in part for their commitment to careers in the environment, tribal public policy or Indigenous health care.
She was also awarded a prestigious Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, which gives her the opportunity to spend the next year traveling to cities in Europe and Asia to volunteer with grassroots and policy-focused organizations. who work on environmental issues.
Costello was also co-organizer of Student Efforts to Advance NY Sustainability, a conference that brought together more than 140 students from 32 campuses across the state.
“Through her leadership and example, this student has empowered others on campus and far beyond to work for positive change,” said Harris.
In addition to the Bailey, Costello received three other awards on Saturday.
Other presenters at Award Day included Michele Angrist, Dean of Faculty Stephen J. and Diane K. Ciesinski and Vice President of Academic Affairs; Fran’Cee Brown-McClure, Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students; Lynn Evans, Class Dean for the Class of 2022; and Michelle Osborn, acting dean of studies.
The ceremony included musical performances by Japanese Drumming and Global Fusion, the African Dance Club and Diane McMullen, music teacher and organist at the College.
The first day of the awards was held on May 18, 1932, complementing the annual Block U Dinner for Athletic Achievement. The new event honored 20 seniors for their intellectual achievements.