Last Friday, April 8th, was Honors Day here at the University. It’s a day when classes are dismissed so that departments can recognize and celebrate their students. In typical fashion, REL hosted an Honors Day banquet, back here on the balconies of Manly for the first time in a couple years. Profs, parents, and students gathered together to celebrate the student’s achievements while chowing down on some delicious catfish of course.
As the festivities began and guests trickled in, we served food out on the balconies. Most decided to take their plates into the classroom and watch the videos made this year by our Silverstein Fellows, Jared Powell and Caity Walker.
Prof. Ted Trost kicked off the recognitions by calling each Silverstein Scholar up to the table. They received a trophy for their efforts, but you know we had to have some fun with those. Look closely–the trophies feature cheerleaders, gymnasts, bowlers, and more. Our students sure our multi-talented! First up was Jared Powell, who stayed at the table to help pass out trophies.
Silverstein Scholars not pictured are Parker Evans–you can see him up top and below, but somehow we missed getting his picture here (oops)–and Khortlan Patterson, who was unable to attend.
After the recognition of our Silverstein Scholars, Prof. Michael Altman called Sarah Griswold front and center to present her with the Outstanding Student in the Academic Study of Religion award. Congratulations to Sarah!
Next, Prof. Vaia Touna took the floor to recognize our outgoing RSSA officers. First up was our valiant and courageous leader, Anna Davis.After Anna came our “calm and collected” Secretary, Catie Stewart. Anna and Catie were given framed pictures of themselves, in keeping with tradition. Cuz, ya know, everyone likes to be a little vain sometimes.Last but not least, our Vice President Jared Powell stepped up to the plate. His gift was a bit more of a surprise, as Prof. Touna pulled a massive bag from under the table. You can see the anticipation (and maybe horror?) on his face.
Prof. Touna reached into the bag and presented Jared with…hangers? But wait, there’s more! The hits just kept on coming as she also gave him starch, stain remover, a tabletop ironing board, and the piece de resistance–an iron! If you’re not aware of the backstory and the joke behind these gifts, then ask Dr. Altman–the story kills at parties! Let’s just say Jared has a passion for ironing.
After recognizing this year’s officers, Prof. Touna announced the incoming officers for next year. Out with the old, in with the new, right? The President will be Sierra Lawson, in the striped dress in the picture below, and our Vice President will be Caity Walker, in the blue dress.And we can’t forget our Secretary, Parker Evans.Next, Prof. Steven Ramey came to the table to present Prof. Touna with a surprise gift of her own. It’s tradition in the department that each new professor receives an historic picture of Manly Hall after completing their first year. However, Prof. Touna has taught here before for an exchange program–for more on that, check out her faculty page. So she was instead presented with a montage of pictures from throughout the year.
Prof. Touna isn’t the only new addition to the Manly crew this year, we now have Prof. Matt Bagger too! So Prof. Nathan Loewen presented Prof. Bagger with his framed photograph of Manly Hall. Many thanks to both of these new professors for their excellent work with us this year!At this point, Prof. Ramey retook the stage because apparently the fun wasn’t over for Jared. Many of you know that Jared has worked for the past two-and-a-half years as a Silverstein Fellow in our main office. In recognition for his service to the department–planning events, making movies, and more–he was given a framed comic strip from our Praxis Squad series. Thanks Jared!
Our final award goes to our fearless leader here in Manly Hall. Prof. Russell McCutcheon came to us in 2001, and he came with a vision. His tireless work has revolutionized this department, and fifteen years later I think we all owe him a great bit of gratitude. Prof. Trost and Ms. Betty Dickey presented him with a framed Praxis Squad strip of his own. Thanks Russell and here’s to many more!It’s fair to say this has been a great year for REL. We’re proud of our student and faculty honorees, and we look forward to another great year here at Manly Hall! (And of course, thanks Betty and Vaia for all of these photos!)