Commencement 2015 Award Winners

May 17, 2015

BethanyZaimanAlgernon Sydney Sullivan Student Award: Bethany Zaiman

Recognizing unselfish service, noble character, and spiritual qualities. The student also receives the accompanying Mary Keith Fitzroy Award.

In all of her interactions and roles at Mary Baldwin University, Zaiman demonstrates respect for all people and values the diverse perspectives of others. The anthropology/sociology major enthusiastically revived the anthropology club, and she has both found personal enrichment and enriched the campus community with leadership roles at the Spencer Center, Quest interfaith group, and the Mary Baldwin chapter of the Clinton Global Initiative University. Travel to Mexico, the Czech Republic, Northern Ireland, and Haiti during her college tenure has strengthened an already acute sensitivity to the struggles of people around the globe. Zaiman employed her Margaret Kable Russell Award to develop a senior thesis that examined the purity culture movement in contemporary Evangelical Christianity, undertaking a study that was both academically rigorous and beneficial to the broader community. She also earned the Carrie Douglass Award for Excellence in Anthropology and graduated summa cum laude with distinction in her major.


MariahDittrichCollege of Education Outstanding Graduate Student: Mariah Dittrich

As the first BA/MAT graduate to earn the College of Education’s highest honor, Dittrich thrives as an inquiry-focused teacher and leader in the classroom. Her infectious enthusiasm and wide-ranging connections at Mary Baldwin — which include roles as PEG resident advisor and senior class advisor — also garnered her the Unsung Hero Award in 2014. Noted by peers and professors alike for her “good-natured attitude, commitment, and desire to positively impact her community,” Mariah has served as Class of 2014 secretary; chairwoman for the Association for Campus Outreach and Resources for New Students (ACORNS); board of elections co-chair; peer advisor for Honors Scholars, Career Academy, and Healthy Lifestyles gateways; Honors Scholars president; and a team leader in Grafton Library.


CearaArmstrongCollege of Education Outstanding Undergraduate Student: Ceara Armstrong

Professors in the College of Education saw Armstrong’s potential early in her undergraduate tenure, and she represented Mary Baldwin at the annual Teachers of Promise Institute as a freshman. Her drive and disposition for teaching, learning, and leadership, made Armstrong stand out as this year’s honoree. She plans to remain at Mary Baldwin to earn her Master of Arts in Teaching.





JimLottAlgernon Sydney Sullivan Non-Student Award: Jim Lott, dean emeritus and professor emeritus of English

Recognizing unselfish service, noble character, and spiritual qualities.

During his 37-year tenure at Mary Baldwin, Lott effortlessly balanced intense academic and programmatic discussions with the lighter side of campus life. A consummate scholar and published author in his own right, Lott’s measured leadership guided the Mary Baldwin faculty — and the college as a whole — through several periods of transition. His contributions to the community are wide-ranging, including theater performances; membership at Emmanuel Episcopal Church; and service on the boards of several non-profit agencies, such as the Salvation Army and Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library.


SophiaStoneMartha Stackhouse Grafton Award: Sophia Stone

Given to the graduate with the highest cumulative grade point average.

Triple major (biology, chemistry, psychology) Stone started earning academic accolades in her first semester at Mary Baldwin and has served as a class marshal for several years by carrying one of the highest GPAs in her class. Her psychology Capstone project was presented at the Society for Behavioral Neuroendocrinology and the Society for Neuroscience annual meetings, and is being considered for publication in a peer-reviewed journal. She also completed summer research internships at Oklahoma State University and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. Stone earned a bachelor of science with summa cum laude honors and distinction in two majors, and she will pursue her master’s degree at the University of Washington in the fall.

Stone excelled in the athletic arena as well as the classroom, becoming Mary Baldwin’s first All-American in cross country and placing 19th at the NCAA championship meet as a junior.


Baldwin Online and Adult Programs Outstanding Student: Shawna Mills Franklin

Franklin was among the first Baldwin Online and Adult Programs Social Work majors in the Roanoke area. In addition to maintaining an impressive 3.96 GPA, she juggled a family and community service through the Court Appointed Special Advocates program and the Conflict Resolution Center in Roanoke. Franklin is passionate about child welfare, adheres to high standards of excellence, and handles challenges admirably. She was the recipient of an Baldwin Online and Adult Programs Loyalty Fund Scholarship in 2014.


MarshallMLitt/MFA Ariel Award: Marshall B Garrett

Recognizing outstanding program service and leadership to the Shakespeare and Performance program.

A leader in the classroom, the conference room, and in the rehearsal room, Garrett is often sought out by other Shakespeare and Performance students for guidance. Truly an actor-scholar, he never fails to bring out the best in others, and he has learned that he is at his best when helping others. Garrett is continuing at Mary Baldwin University to pursue his masters of fine arts, but, according to S&P Director Paul Menzer, “he has already mastered the fine art of service.”



LynMcDermidHonorary Doctor of Humane Letters: Margaret E. “Lyn” McDermid ’95

The first Baldwin Online and Adult Programs graduate to earn an honorary doctorate from Mary Baldwin and also the first to serve as chair of the Board of Trustees, McDermid has been an invaluable partner and generous friend to the college in visionary planning as well as giving and development. Most recently, she has been instrumental in bringing Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences to fruition and championing the historic fundraising effort Ever Ahead: The Campaign for Mary Baldwin University. She readily shares her considerable experience and business acumen with the college, gleaned through leadership positions at Dominion Resources and the Federal Reserve Bank.