The University has announced the first three 2009-10 recipients of the Pearigen Award for Commitment to Community: Bevin Williams, Annie Maselli, and William Watson.
Bevin Williams, of Shelbyville, Tenn., is a junior Classical Language major who gives generously and energetically to the community as a student leader. She serves not only as a proctor in Quintard Hall, but as an assistant proctor for two groups of first year students. Working in the Residential Life Office last summer, she prepared for the arrival of a new class of first year students and 1,100 returning students, building and analyzing spreadsheets of housing data, reading through hundreds of housing applications, helping to match roommates, and guiding prospective students through the housing process. Director of Residential Life Nicky Hamilton says of Bevin, “I am so grateful to Bevin for her tireless effort this summer. She has an amazing positive spirit and her incredible work ethic is both admirable and inspirational.” With a core of other students, Bevin organized a new club, Sewanee SELF, which is devoted to raising awareness and funds for various health-related causes and to encourage fitness in all students. She is a tour guide with the Arcadians, and serves as the President of Sewanee’s local chapter of Kappa Delta National Sorority. Bevin has previously served on Student Assembly and the family weekend committee, always eager to bring bright ideas, an incredibly positive outlook, and a drive for perfection to projects that will improve the community.
Kara Antoinette (Annie) Maselli, of Lake Charles, Louisiana, is a senior majoring in International and Global Studies, with a focus on the Latin American world. Annie was recognized for her achievements during the summer and into the fall semester, but her commitment to community seems to deepen in its expression each day. She envisioned and coordinated the many events of first-year student orientation, and leapt into every task with a smile. Assistant Dean Mary Beth Bankson said, “Annie has an energy about her that is absolutely contagious. It is that energy that made this year’s Orientation an amazing experience for both our student leaders and our new students.” In addition to serving this year as the Head Proctor for First-Year Students, Annie is in her of second year providing guidance counseling to students at Grundy County High School, assisting local students in identifying higher education as a goal, applying for college, taking the ACT, and visiting college campuses to get information. Annie also serves as student chair of the university Dining Council, advancing the needs and interests of students and helping to promote positive interactions among students and the dining services staff. When asked to describe her own motivations, she says she truly loves learning about others and encouraging them to reach their goals.
William Watson, of Sherman, Texas, is the third 2009-10 recipient of the Pearigen Award. University Lay Minister Seth Olson describes him this way: “Will Watson's gifts are diverse and many; among those that stand out are his compassion, his maturity, and his wisdom. All these gifts become our gifts, as he is also quick to share with others.” Early in his sophomore year, Will developed a variety of venues, events, and strategies to teach the Sewanee community about the organization known as Falling Whistles, which strives to help children forced into war as soldiers in the Democratic Republic of Congo. His efforts included recruiting a team to sponsor a talk at Growing in Grace; a public talk in Convocation Hall; a Pinnacle Luncheon at the Women’s Center; and class visits. Will’s efforts raised the consciousness and contributions of Sewanee students, staff, faculty, and community members, and a student organization is forming around this cause. On campus, Will is also involved with Invisible Children, as a van driver for BACCHUS, and as a worship leader at Growing in Grace. In addition, Will co-leads trips into caves with the Outing Program. He explores the world with a curiosity eager to learn, not just for learning’s sake, but for learning the answer to the question: How can I help?
Congratulations to all three outstanding students!
The Pearigen Award for Commitment to Community was created in the fall of 2006 to recognize outstanding student contributions to the Sewanee community. It is named for Robert Wesley Pearigen, C’76, currently associate professor of Political Science and vice president for university relations, and the former dean of students. As Dean, Pearigen believed strongly in the concept of community, and his goal was for each student to “find their place” here on the mountain. Pearigen spent the majority of his time, whether in the classroom or in one-on-one conversations, engaging with students and challenging them to make Sewanee a stronger community. His commitment to the Sewanee community continues today and is now carried forward by the positive contributions made by the recipients of this award.