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Academic achievement awarded during Celebration of Excellence


Illinois College recognized academic achievement during the second annual Celebration of Excellence. The daylong celebration allowed students and faculty to take part in activities that commend academic excellence, a hallmark of the college since its founding in 1829.

The Honors Convocation, the ceremonial portion of the day’s activities, was held in Rammelkamp Chapel. Elizabeth Tobin, dean of the college, offered remarks on the subject of excellence, after which five major awards for academic excellence, service and teaching were awarded to Illinois College students and faculty. The student marshals for the 2012-2013 academic year were named, graduates slated for induction into Phi Beta Kappa were recognized and the Julian Monson Sturtevant Campus Leadership Award winners were announced. The Harry Joy Dunbaugh Distinguished Professor Award and the inaugural Don P. Filson Faculty Award for Vision for the Future were also presented.

Ryan Blesse of Jacksonville and Cassie Jarvis of Washington, both juniors, were chosen as student marshals for the 2012-2013 academic year. The marshals who were chosen based on demonstrated academic excellence and campus leadership will lead academic processionals held on campus throughout the year. This designation is considered one of the highest honors a member of the incoming senior class can receive.

Phi Beta Kappa is the nation’s oldest and most distinguished honor society. One of only 11 colleges in the state to offer membership into this distinguished society, the Illinois College Epsilon chapter was founded by Charles Rammelkamp in 1931. Those inducted into Phi Beta Kappa include Samer Anabtawi (Jenin, Palestine), Joseph Craven (Springfield), Alyssa Gerhardt (Sutter), Annamarie Goldstein (Kirkwood, Mo.), Whitney Hagy (Vandalia), Darcy Holloway (Springfield), Claire Hummel (Quincy), Cassie Jarvis (Washington), Samantha Killebrew (Winchester), Samantha Kinder (Brussels, Ill.), Tyler Ludwig (Farmer City), John McCormick (Decatur), Lauren Reece (Lombard), Andrea Schultz (Sherman), Djenan Soumahoro (Abidjan, Ivory Coast), Katherine Wagers (Mahomet) and Rayyan Yassin (Beirut, Lebanon).

The Sturtevant Leadership Awards call attention to a select group of students who demonstrate active campus service and leadership throughout their college careers. The 2012 Sturtevant Leaders are Anabtawi, Craig Bals (Troy, Mo.), Morgan Brown (Springfield), Holloway, Meaghan Karaffa (Girard), Damian Peyton (Auburn) and Holly Ziegler (Teutopolis).
Steven Gardner, associate professor of modern languages, was named the Harry Joy Dunbaugh Award winner during the convocation. This prize is considered the greatest honor bestowed upon an Illinois College faculty member. A student committee, with oversight from the dean of the college, selects the recipient each academic year.

The Don P. Filson Faculty Award for Vision for the Future was awarded to Kelly Dagan, associate professor of sociology. This honor is awarded to the faculty member who sees beyond the scope of the status quo, to further develop or implement a vision which can move the college forward. This faculty award was established by 1970 Illinois College graduate Darlene Nelson in memory of Dr. Filson’s vision which was for Illinois College to have a computer science department.

The Celebration of Excellence featured more than 40 students presenting recent research efforts during presentations and poster sessions in various locations on campus. Presentation and poster subjects covered all areas of the liberal arts curriculum and were as far-ranging as the use of technology in the classroom to a study of Jacksonville’s Civil War hero Benjamin Grierson.

The Illinois College Department of Music Honors Recital was performed in Rammelkamp Chapel and a dessert reception concluded the Celebration of Excellence activities later that evening. The reception was a final opportunity to recognize various academic departmental honors.
About Illinois College

Founded in 1829, Illinois College is a residential liberal arts college fostering academic excellence rooted in opportunities for experiential learning while preparing students for lifelong success. The college is located in Jacksonville, Ill. With an enrollment of about 1,000 students, the college offers over 50 undergraduate programs and a Master of Arts in Education degree program. In 1932 the society of Phi Beta Kappa established a chapter at Illinois College, and it remains one of only 11 in the state.

Illinois College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association.

Visit or call 217-245-3467 for more information.

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