During Wells' 2016 Commencement ceremonies, the College granted special awards and honors to exceptional members of the Wells community. These included the announcement of Emerita status for a member of the faculty, annual awards for outstanding student research and artistic merit, and recognition of the achievements of the student speaker for the event.
Professor Jeanne Goddard, who is receiving the title Professor of Dance, Emerita, joined the Wells faculty in 1987 and has dedicated her time to gifted and generous teaching, talented dancing, support and guidance of the campus arts community, and multidisciplinary connections. Announcing the title, President Gibralter noted that "Jeannie is equally an engaged and vibrant scholar and artist. Her stewardship of the Arts & Lecture Series highlights her belief in the importance of arts in understanding the human experience. And in her committee service and faculty leadership, Jeannie was always trying to create a better Wells." Professor Goddard also earned the 2016 Wells College Excellence in Teaching Award.
Several student awards are also announced annually at Commencement. The Gertrude H. Freiert Prize in Fine Arts—noting the production a body of creative work of high quality during the student's college career—was awarded to visual arts major and art history and psychology minor Rebecca Rodas Orihuela '16 for consistent development and thorough execution of her ideas combined with a passionate sense of purpose and an inventive use of materials in her work linking the gendered legacies of painting and embroidery.
The Koch Prize for Best Senior Research Paper was granted to environmental science major and sustainability and sustainable food systems minor Ashley Gingeleski '16 for her paper "Weed Flora at King Ferry Vineyards: Historical Changes and Cover Crop Effectiveness," a study investigating and identifying native and non-native weeds at King Ferry Winery and arguing that the presence of a wide variety of weeds encourages valuable relationships within a vineyard's agricultural production.
The Alberto J. Varona Prize in Hispanic Culture was earned by Morgan Holtsclaw '16. In "Inclusivity in the Spanish Language: An Exploration of Space for all Genders in a Binary Linguistic Gender System," Morgan explored why the Spanish language's grammatical system is so restrictive, ascribing masculine or feminine gender to all nouns and objects; asking are there progressive attempts to be more inclusive, and if so, where and how is that inclusiveness currently evident?
President Jonathan Gibralter announced the Frances Tarlton Farenthold Leadership Award, earned by David Glidden '16. The award honors consistently demonstrated qualities of commitment and activism in the Wells community and the wider world. A political science major with minors in social and economic justice and religious studies, David re-established and led the College Democrats and was active in leading social justice groups on campus.
The Presidential Leadership Award, which honors a student who has demonstrated particular initiative and responsibility in the service of the community, was earned by business major and management minor Chelsea Carlin '16. As a Resident Assistant and manager of the Grind, Chelsea addressed the needs of the college community; and in serving on the Student Affairs Committee, she was an active voice for campus.
Michelle Lee '16 was chosen to be Wells' third student Commencement speaker. A double major in English: creative writing and women's & gender studies, Michelle is well-known on campus for her dedicated involvement—she is the chair of the Women's Resource Center and chief copy editor for the student-run magazine The Sycamore—and for her outspoken role as a student activist and voice for social justice.
To view the 2016 Commencement ceremonies, visit wells.edu/about/commencement.