Academic achievement prizes, prize scholarships and other recognition of student accomplishments were awarded at Hamilton’s 64th annual Class & Charter Day convocation on Monday, May 12, in the Chapel. Among the top prizes Meghan O’Sullivan ’15 was awarded the Milton F. Fillius Jr. /Joseph Drown Prize Scholarship, and Maggie Doolin ’14 was named the recipient of the James Soper Merrill Prize.
Mary Evans ’82, assistant vice president of the Career Center, gave the address titled “We Know Them as People,” a phrase that she said came from the late Professor of Economics Sidney Wertimer. “Sidney insisted that the thing that sets Hamilton apart is that members of our community really care about each other,” said Evans.
“Faculty, staff and students get to know one another here as individuals: people with hopes, ambitions and dreams, not just teachers, students or classmates. This, Sidney said, makes Hamilton a special place. My premise is that this hasn’t changed much in 200 years,” she noted, “and helps explain why generations of Hamiltonians feel such a strong bond. The relationships fostered here engender a commitment to people and a loyalty to place that motivates us to make the college better for ourselves and for those who follow,” Evans remarked.
When Evans arrived in the fall of 1978 she joined Hamilton’s first coeducational class with the merging of Kirkland College and Hamilton. “Hamilton was struggling to complete a challenging combination of two strong-willed and distinct colleges,” she recalled. “Over the course of those four years, my classmates and I came to know one another as people. Not all the same people, for sure. We had very different hopes, dreams and aspirations, but people none the less and I’d like to think that it was here we learned to respect and appreciate one another as those individuals we were and are.”
Fillius /Drown recipient Meghan O’Sullivan is a comparative literature and public policy major from Madison, Conn. She studied abroad in Spain this semester and participated in the Levitt Leadership Institute in 2013. Last summer O’Sullivan was the recipient of a Kirkland Summer Associate Research grant. She worked with refugee women in nearby Utica to create a podcast about their experiences.
O’Sullivan volunteers on and off the Hill She is an Outreach Adventure pre-orientation leader, a COOP Service Intern, founder and director of the Sidekicks mentoring program at Clinton Elementary School, and director of the first-year leadership and mentoring program, LEAP.
The Milton F. Fillius, Jr. /Joseph Drown Prize Scholarship, established by the Joseph Drown Foundation, is awarded to a student completing the junior year who has been very successful academically, who has demonstrated outstanding leadership qualities while at Hamilton and who is likely to make a significant contribution to society in the future.
Soper Merrill awarded Maggie Doolin is a biology major from Marlboro, Mass. She is a COOP Senior Fellow, responsible for connecting sports teams and Greek societies with group service opportunities at local nonprofit organizations. She is also liaison in charge of spreading word to the campus community when a nonprofit has an upcoming event for which they need young, active volunteers.
Doolin is a member of both the women's indoor and outdoor track teams and has earned five NESCAC all-academic team honors at Hamilton. She is an Outreach Adventure leader for pre-orientation and a mentor for LEAP. Doolin volunteered at a Nicaragua coffee farm during spring break.
The James Soper Merrill Prize is awarded to the member of the graduating class “who, in character and influence, has typified the highest ideals of the College.” The winner is selected by the faculty and speaks at Commencement.
A total of 157 students won other prizes and scholarships for public speaking, writing and achievement in all academic disciplines. Visit the Class & Charter Day website to view the complete list of award recipients.