Six students, two faculty members, and an organization were honored Friday for their dedication to the University of Virginia community as part of the Class of 2022’s Valedictory Exercises. The awards were presented on behalf of the class, secret societies and an academic association.
Algernon Sydney Sullivan Awardee: Student Yaa Awusi-Sarkodi (BSN `22)
Awusi-Sarkodie is a first-generation college student, graduating with a nursing degree.
“A quiet and shy exterior hides a formidable leader who uses her core strength and perseverance to serve those around her,” said Chloe Leon, a third-year student and member of the selection committee. “Yaa has been a leader with the Office of African American Affairs Peer Advisor Program, residence staff and a trainer for the women’s basketball team—to name only a few of her many involvements.”
Leon said Awusi-Sarkodie had grown into her leadership roles, supporting the Peer Advisors and the women’s basketball programs through major transitions this year.
Awusi-Sarkodie is a fellow of the Meriwether Lewis Institute for Citizen Leadership, which prepares students to become lifetime leaders. She tutored third-year nursing pharmacology students; was co-president of Yahweh Ministries, an organization dedicated to cultivating cultural and creative outlets of worship; and was a resident adviser for UVA’s Housing and Residence Life. Awusi-Sarkodie also received a Blue Ridge Scholarship, given to students who demonstrate outstanding leadership and character while overcoming personal hardship.
Gordon F. Rainey Jr. Award for Vigilance to the Student Experience from the Society of the Purple Shadows: Theresa J. Carroll
“In your 22 years of service to the University, Mrs. Carroll, you have served with constancy of character and unconditionality of love,” the society wrote in a letter read by Robyn Hadley, vice president and chief student affairs officer. “As senior assistant dean for academic and student services at the School of Nursing, you have seamlessly managed a broad portfolio of responsibilities essential to student flourishing. Across admissions, financial services and student life, your fierce fidelity to excellence enlivens all aspects of the student experience.”
In its letter, the society said Carroll was engaged in service of the highest order, and cited motivational speaker Leo Buscaglia, who said, “Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring.”
“Through your daily actions and interactions, you have positively brightened this community—imbuing it with infectious optimism and effervescent energy,” Hadley read from the letter. “The society encourages you to continue to uplift those around you with your illuminating smile. Continue to offer students a listening ear. Continue to care ceaselessly for all who are graced by your spirit.”
Originally published in UVA Today.