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Graduation 2019: Alcalá Award Winners, Trailblazer Awardees, Commissioned NROTC Officers

The University of San Diego awarded more than 2,600 degrees during its five 2019 Commencement ceremonies, but during the two undergraduate ceremonies on May 26, only two students received a special bonus honor.

Graduation 2019-Awards&Honors

This year’s Alcalá Award winners, the only award presented at graduation that’s given to an outstanding senior male and senior female undergraduate student, are James Davenport, a business administration major and supply chain management minor, and Kiana Lindsay, a double major in environmental science and Spanish with minors in biology and environmental policy and studies.

The four components of all Alcalá Award nominees are: academic achievement (3.3 GPA or higher), participation and leadership in extracurricular activities, citizenship and service to the university and the potential for future achievement. The Alcalá Award winners have achieved the balanced and holistic development, which is the goal of a USD education. The award committee that selects the recipients represents Academic Affairs, Student Affairs, University Ministry and input from a previous Alcalá Award winner.

The award presentation for Lindsay came during the College of Arts and Sciences morning graduation. Davenport received his award at the afternoon School of Business/Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering graduation. Each year, awardees are unaware they are receiving this special honor until the announcement is made on-the-spot by USD President James T. Harris III.

Both student awardees put together impressive resumes while at USD.

Davenport's career at USD involves participation in two sports, men's cross country the last two seasons and prior to that, the first two years of his USD student life were as part of the men's rowing program. Furthermore, his involvement with athletics at USD goes beyond meets and events. He’s been a long-term board member of USD’s Student Athletic Advisory Committee (SAAC). The SAAC is a liaison between student-athletes and athletic department administration. As a result, Davenport was heavily involved in community service events which include "Shop with a Jock" and the Torero Holiday Toy Drive and Donate a Dollar Program to support disadvantage youth during the holiday season. He created a bonfire fundraiser that raised more than 100 canned and packaged goods for the USD HOST student organization Davenport has also been involved with USD Radio, USD HERO Club and the Supply Chain Management Association. He has been doing an internship with the American Heart Association (AHA) as a youth market coordinator. He goes to elementary and middle schools to talk with students on behalf of AHA.

Lindsay, who has been a member of the USD Honors Program, held numerous leadership roles and different jobs in which she contributed mightily to the campus community and beyond. She has been a solid member of the Alcala Club, a mainstay with USD's Outdoor Adventures as a lead field guide, office manager and trip coordinator, served as a preceptorial (now known as scholastic) assistant, and served as a Tijuana Day Trip leader with University Ministry. She was a Southwest Key Volunteer, a role in which she implemented extracurricular art programming for unaccompanied detained minors to supplement school programming. This was done in a bilingual environment to provide comfort and care for the children she served. She has also done extensive research, most recently her senior thesis project, titled, "Environmental Justice in Post Colonial Central America: Indigenous Voices in Modern Environmental Movements," explored Colombia as a case study and she presented her work bilingually. Other research projects connected her to wildlife and environmental studies in Tanzania (twice), studying water pollution in Uganda, and, locally, research work on invasive species in Mission Bay.

In addition to the plaque each winner received at the graduation ceremony on stage, their names will be placed on a permanent plaque located in the Hahn University Center foyer.

Trailblazer Awards at Black Grad Recognition Ceremony

The 11th annual Black Graduates Recognition Ceremony, sponsored and organized by USD's Black Student Resource Commons, took place May 24 in Shiley Theatre. Among the festivities was the annual announcement of four Trailblazer Award winners.

Presented each year to an undergraduate student, graduate school student, administrator and faculty member who has demonstrated outstanding commitment, leadership and perseverance for the black community at USD, the 2019 winners were:

Undergraduate Student Trailblazer: DeZell Lathon (BA Theatre Arts).

Graduate Student Trailblazer: Nadirah "Nadi" Williams (MA, Clinical Mental Health Counseling).

Staff/Administrator Trailblazer: Milton Maples, USD Public Safety Officer.

Faculty Trailblazer: Assistant Professor of Mathematics, Candice Price, PhD.

NROTC Commissioning Ceremony

On the morning of Friday, May 24, in the Jenny Craig Pavilion, 31 men and women who were to receive their undergraduate degrees from USD, San Diego State University, Point Loma Nazarene University and University of California, San Diego, participated in the Spring NROTC San Diego Commissioning Ceremony.

There were 21 officers representing the Navy designated as Ensigns while the remaining 10 were Marine Corps entrants as Second Lieutenants. Of the total number participating, 19 in all were graduating from USD and participating in Commencement ceremonies this past weekend.

The ceremony featured remarks from NROTC San Diego Commanding Officer, Captain Edwin Kaiser, USN, and a keynote address from Rear Admiral Jeffrey Czerewko, USN, who is the deputy director for global operations of the joint staff. Czerewko administered the official oath repeated by the officers, and a pinning ceremony with family and friends doing the honors and sword presentation for the 10 Marines followed.

The USD graduating men and women commissioned were: Eleven Ensigns — Michael Armstrong, Rio Barnes, Christian Czerewko, Katelyn Dallmus, James Hussey, Soon Hyung Kwon, Michael Lyons, Gage Murphy, Teena Paradela, Conor Shea, Shane Voss. Eight Second Lieutenants — Josiah Adams, Christopher Andrada, Mitchel DiLorenzo, Peter Kim, Tiffany Roberts, Brian Smith, Riley Vickner and Logan Watkins.

One Navy Ensign, Christian Czerewko, is the son of the keynote speaker, Rear Admiral Czerewko. Four of the USD officers were recognized for their academic honors upon graduation, too. Peter Kim graduated Magna Cum Laude with a degree in history. The three other honorees, all Ensigns and all graduating Cum Laude, were Rio Barnes (International Business major), Teena Paradela (Biochemistry) and Conor Shea (Computer Science). Shea was also feted at the May 7 USD Honors Convocation for being a Naval Science standout.

— Compiled by Ryan T. Blystone    

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