Top cadet and faculty awards presented during The Citadel’s Virtual Commencement Plus

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Recipients recognized for outstanding academic and professional achievements

The Citadel honored four of its most outstanding cadets and two distinguished faculty members during the South Carolina Corps of Cadets Virtual Commencement Plus on Saturday, May 9.

The awards, which are given out annually, recognize the two cadets with the highest grade-point averages, the most courteous member of the graduating class, a cadet and a faculty member who achieved academic excellence, and a faculty member for his or her love of teaching.

The two academic leaders of the Corps

The David Shingler Spell First and Second Honor Graduates are the two cadets whose grade-point averages are the highest in each graduating class, based on the total college record of that class. Recipients of the awards receive a plaque and a stipend for educational expenses at the graduate level.

This year, Cadet Jeffrey Hunter McGee, an Accounting major from Bowling Green, Kentucky, earned the prestigious position of First Honor Graduate. McGee is a member of Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society and Omicron Delta Kappa. For the past year, he led the Corps of Cadets as the Regimental Academic Officer. McGee will be taking a position as a Risk Advisory Consultant for Ernst and Young in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The Second Honor Graduate for the Class of 2020 is Cadet James Rea Quimby. Quimby is a Physics major from York, South Carolina. In addition, Quimby is the recipient of numerous academic scholarships, and is a member of Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society and Omicron Delta Kappa. During his senior year, he served as Second Battalion Commander. Quimby will go forward to serve his country as a Second Lieutenant in the Air Force. He will proceed to Air Force Pilot training, where he hopes to become an Air Force Test Pilot.

Cadet Col. Ben Snyder earns John O. Willson Ring

The Class of 2020 voted to award the John O. Willson Ring to Cadet Col. Richard “Ben” Snyder, regimental commander for the South Carolina Corps of Cadets. Snyder is a Business Administration major from Powell, Ohio.

Richard Snyder

The John O. Willson Ring has been awarded annually since 1911 to a senior elected by their peers as the finest, purest and most courteous member of the class.

Because of his outstanding leadership abilities, Snyder was selected to serve as Regimental Commander, responsible for the success and well being of 2,300 cadets. Academically, Snyder has excelled, earning Dean’s List recognition for all eight semesters.

He is a distinguished military graduate and will enter the Army as an officer, where his first assignment is to attend the Infantry Basic Officer Leader Course in Fort Benning, Georgia.

Algernon Sydney Sullivan Awards presented to two dedicated scholars

The Algernon Sydney Sullivan Awards were presented to Cadet Olivia Jones and Kristen Hefner, Ph.D. The awards are presented annually through the New York Southern Society to a student and faculty member in recognition of high thought and noble endeavor.

Cadet Olivia Jones is an Honors Program student, majoring in Political Science with a concentration in Military Affairs. Jones also serves as the Papa Company Commander, maintaining company morale while also adhering to the highest ethical standards. Jones has demonstrated her commitment as a servant-leader throughout her time at The Citadel, creating a Summer Food Service Program providing 3,700 meals to low-income families, promoting quality of life initiatives for Native American families in New Mexico, and providing community training for the most vulnerable in those communities.

Kristen Hefner, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Criminal Justice, has distinguished herself as a teacher-scholar — spearheading community outreach initiatives in the areas of victim advocacy, domestic violence education, and creating rich service-learning opportunities for her students. For her service-learning project with People Against Rape, a community non-profit, Hefner and her student were awarded the “Good Citizen Award” by the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office. Sheriff Al Cannon and community victim advocates seek to continue Hefner’s humanitarian work, with her students having created over 200 uplifting and encouraging cards for survivors who have been impacted by violence.

Grimsley Award for excellence presented to engineering professor

Jason Howison, Ph.D., a professor of Engineering at The Citadel, received the James A. Grimsley Jr. Award for Undergraduate Teaching Excellence.

Jason Howison, Ph.D.

Howison delivers excellence in teaching through care and concern for students and by being a master teacher in his specialization, which is aerodynamics and thermo-fluids. Interestingly, students give him top marks while simultaneously noting how hard they have to work in his classes and labs.

Howison is a registered professional engineer in South Carolina. He teaches courses in the thermal/fluids sequence as well as aerospace related technical electives and introductory engineering courses.