2nd Annual Awards Ceremony Honors Graduates, Faculty, and Staff

The King’s College honored outstanding students in the class of 2018 and recognized faculty and staff who have made significant contributions to the King’s community.

Julia Hansen and Michael Martinez
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On Friday, May 4, 2018, The King’s College held its second annual formal award ceremony to honor outstanding students in the class of 2018 and to recognize faculty and staff who have made significant contributions to the King’s community. The event took place at the historic Trinity Church in lower Manhattan and was attended by graduates and their families as well as students, faculty, and staff of the College.

Dr. Mark Hijleh, provost, delivered a welcome and invocation. Virginia Hart Pike, lecturer of musical theater, then led the congregation in the hymn “Great Is Thy Faithfulness.” Acting President Tim Gibson took the podium to deliver a presidential address which, he teased, was more importantly a chance to introduce Michael Martinez (Business ’18), who was selected by the class of 2018 to deliver the senior address. Gibson described this time of the academic year as “bittersweet,” mentioning the close relationships that staff and faculty have developed with the graduating class. Gibson said that he would personally miss Martinez’s “kindness, which is rooted in his sincere desire to represent Christ.”

During his four years at King’s, Martinez served as a student representative in the Office of Admissions at King’s, a brand partnerships intern at charity: water, a fundraising intern at Everytown for Gun Safety, and the 2017-2018 Student Body President. This coming year, Martinez will continue working at Everytown for Gun Safety.

In the senior address, Martinez congratulated his peers and expressed his sadness to realize that “tomorrow may be the last time we will all be together.” However, more than sadness he feels gratitude: at King’s he became close to “staff members who feel like friends, and friends who feel like family.” Martinez said that The King’s College gave him the conviction that “before we can change the world, we need to change ourselves.” It is easy to long for that “flashy job or a seat at the head of the boardroom,” Martinez said, but “shame on us if that’s the only thing we are chasing.” He urged his class to instead be known by “how we treat strangers, neighbors, and friends.” Martinez closed with a quote from the poet and author “and my personal hero” Maya Angelou: “Right may not be expedient, it may not be profitable, but it will satisfy your soul.” Martinez received a standing ovation.

Martinez then presented The King’s Council Awards. Director of Student Services Katie Steele, who is also a staff advisor to the House of Sojourner Truth, was given the Outstanding Service to the House System Award for her faithful, creative service. Martinez noted the “quiet, diligent leadership” of Chris Josselyn, academic support coordinator and institutional research analyst, and named him Staff of the Year. Dr. Joshua Blander, assistant professor of philosophy, was named Faculty of the Year for his year-long efforts to respond to serve the community with excellence, charity, and love. Julia Hansen received the second annual Student Service Award for her consistent positive contributions to the student body, motivated not by title or prestige, but by her identity in Christ alone.

Athletic Director Bryan Finley presented the athletic awards. The Scholar Athlete Award was given to Megan Starnes (PPE ’18), who achieved a 3.897 GPA while fulfilling all her team’s practice and game commitments. Starnes was a basketball team captain at King’s and member of USCAA Hudson Valley All-Academic Team, and also served as chamberlain of the House of Corrie ten Boom, faculty assistant, and intern at the United Nations. Kylie Locklar was named Athlete of the Year. Locklar is the first student at the New York City campus of The King’s College to compete in two sports—basketball and soccer—during all four years of study. While at King’s, Locklar served on the Student Athlete Advisory Committee, was the alumni associate for the House of Susan B. Anthony, and completed internships at Paramount Pictures, the Specialists Ltd., and Rolling Stone.

Dr. Henry Bleattler recognized two MCA graduates on behalf of the faculty of the Media, Culture, and the Arts program. The Academic Excellence Award was presented to Evelyn Stetzer (MCA ’18) for her promise in pursuing future graduate work in the fields of media, culture, and the arts. Brittin Ezekiel Ward (MCA ’18), a Founders scholar who performed a one-man production of Macbeth as his senior project, received the MCA Capstone Award of Excellence.

On behalf of the Politics, Philosophy, and Economics program, Dr. David Innes, professor of politics, delivered the Academic Excellence Award to Megan Starnes. Megan “Broad Stripes and Bright Starnes” stood out both on the basketball court and in the classroom through her academic performance and exemplary character.

Clemente Lisi, affiliate assistant professor of journalism, awarded Jessica Mathews (Business ’18) the Outstanding Journalism Award for her journalistic courage and engagement. Mathews interned at CNBC this spring and served as editor-in-chief of the College’s student-run Empire State Tribune.

Dawn Fotopulos, associate professor of business, presented the Joe T. Ford award to Carter Fletcher (Finance ’18). Fletcher served on the “dream team” that earned The King’s College first place in CapSim, an international business simulation competition. As the director of Spiritual Life on the student cabinet, Fletcher was a driving force behind the Public Reading of Scripture initiative at the College. Fotopulos praised him for being “as gracious in defeat as in victory,” as he had ceded the presidency of his House to another classmate earlier in the year.

Hijleh then presented the Fulbright Teaching Award to Isabella Jordan (RTS Dec ’17) to publicly acknowledge her Fulbright Teaching Assistantship to Malaysia. “Across the world, the name of Fulbright stands for students with exceptional promise, ability, and dedication,” Hijleh said. The Fulbright Program was founded in 1946 as an ambassadorial program that promotes cultural understanding and goodwill between the United States and other countries. This is the first year that King’s has put forward applicants for this competitive award, and Hijleh congratulated Jordan for the extraordinary honor this assistantship represents.

Dean of Students David Leedy also awarded the William R. Bright award to Isabella Jordan. The award is named in honor of the co-founder and former president of Campus Crusade for Christ to recognize a student who embodies Bright’s passion for missions, evangelism, and discipleship. Jordan was part of the King’s team to Indonesia to engage with modern Muslims and has taught English as a Second Language to elementary students in Vietnam. She has volunteered as a citizenship course teacher and interned with Immigrant Hope to provide legal and immigration services to marginalized populations. Jordan is also the class of 2018 salutatorian.

Leedy then presented the William Wilberforce Award to Taylor Johnson (PPE ’18). Johnson has served as a coordinator of King’s trips to China, South Africa, and Cuba. As a junior, she was selected to serve as a student representative on the President’s Commission on Multi-Ethnicity. In 2017 she became the first president of The Table, a student organization formed to support ethnic minorities at King’s. Since graduating in December, she has served on staff at The Black Institute, doing research and public advocacy. The Wilberforce Award, named for the English statesman whose service in Parliament helped to end the slave trade in England, honors a graduate who represents the College’s mission to vigorously engage the public square with truth and civility.

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