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Gagnidze ’20, Stickel ’19 Receive Top Student Prizes


Academic achievement prizes, prize scholarships and other recognition of student accomplishments were announced at Hamilton’s annual Class & Charter Day convocation on Monday, May 13, in the Chapel.

Among the top prizes, David Gagnidze ’20 was awarded the Milton F. Fillius Jr. /Joseph Drown Prize Scholarship, and Jonathan Stickel ’19 received the James Soper Merrill Prize. Dan Chambliss, the Eugene M. Tobin Distinguished Professor of Sociology, delivered remarks, telling the students that “you represent the best of what Hamilton has to offer the world.”

all award recipients watch ceremony

David Gagnidze '20
David Gagnidze '20 working at his internship at Caucasus Institute for Peace, Democracy and Development (CIPDD) in Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia.

David Gagnidze, currently studying in Prague, earlier this year was awarded a Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship for study abroad. Last summer he received a Diversity and Social Justice Project Fund internship and returned to his native Republic of Georgia, to work at the Caucasus Institute for Peace, Democracy and Development (CIPDD) in Tbilisi. Founded in 1992, the nonprofit hosts workshops with local youth, assesses the economic problems of regional communities, and studies religious and ethnic minorities in Georgia.

Gagnidze is also the president of the Shenandoah-Kirkland Initiative (SKI) on campus, where he leads the initiative to mend the relationship between Hamilton College and the Oneida Nation.

about David Gagnidze ’20

Major: Anthropology

Hometown: Newburgh, N.Y.

High school: Newburgh Free Academy

video announcing award

The Milton F. Fillius, Jr. /Joseph Drown Prize Scholarship, established by the Joseph Drown Foundation, is awarded to a junior who has been very successful academically, has demonstrated outstanding leadership qualities while at Hamilton and who is likely to make a significant contribution to society in the future.

Jonathan Stickel ’19, a tri-captain forward on the men’s hockey team, was selected to Phi Beta Kappa academic honor society in September. Consistently named to NESCAC’s All-Academic Team and a recipient of Hamilton’s Scholar-Athlete award, he was chosen to speak at Hamilton’s 2018 Scholar-Athlete Award luncheon. He is a teaching assistant in economics, mathematics, and computer science and organizes numerous community service activities for the hockey team. 

Professor of Economics Betsy Jensen said “(He) is an outstanding student who . . .  works as hard or harder than any student I have taught in my 35 years at Hamilton; he never comes to class or office hours unprepared and he has always takes advantage of any opportunities offered to learn further.

“Watching [him] interact with other students in class and during office hours, I see his contributions as a leader. He is the type of student that comes along very rarely in a professor’s career, someone who, in a quiet way, demonstrates exactly what I hold to be 'the highest ideals of the College'…” 

William Kenan Jr. Professor of Mathematics Dick Bedient, wrote “As an indication of the … department’s regard, [he] was asked to be part of the group of students that we sent to lunch with our job candidates.  In making this choice we were looking for students who would represent the best of our majors.”

Men’s Ice Hockey Coach Rob Haberbush said that as team captain, Stickel organized community service projects that included volunteering at the Daniel Barden Highland Mudfest, the Hamilton College Walk for Autism, the Red Cross Blood Drive, the “Be The Match” Marrow Registry, the “Breaking Bread Program,” where Hamilton players are paired with youth hockey players in Clinton and serve as mentors, a charity game for the Wounded Warrior Project, and the Central NY Association for the Blind, teaching them to play hockey.

about Jonathan Stickel ’19

Majors: Economics and Mathematics

Hometown: Pittsburgh, Pa.

High school:Franklin Regional High School

Video announcing award

At the fall 2018 Convocation, Stickel was awarded the Benjamin Walworth Arnold Prize Scholarship given to a member of each class who has achieved the best record in college coursework.

At last year’s Class & Charter Day, he received the James L. Bennett Prize, awarded to a rising senior who completed the junior year with distinction, and the Sidney and Eleanor Wertimer Prize Scholarship in Economics for excellence in study.

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.

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