Hiram’s annual Celebration of Excellence commemorates the academic achievements of our students, their service to the College, and dedication to the larger community. The accomplishments recognized encompass every part of campus life and signify the positive and lasting impact these students have made on the College.  

Please find below a description of each award and the 2020 recipients.  

Phi Beta Kappa  

Phi Beta Kappa membership has long been recognized as the highest distinction an individual can receive for scholarly excellence in undergraduate studies in the liberal arts and sciences. Founded in 1776, Phi Beta Kappa is the nation’s oldest undergraduate honors society. The official induction ceremony into Phi Beta Kappa takes place on the morning of commencement. 

2020 Inductee: Brian Corbin  

Brian Corbin is a graduating senior from Massillon, Ohio and plans to attend the University of Akron for the Ph.D. program in chemistry. He is an outstanding scholar-athlete with a major in chemistry, a minor in physics, and a four- year tenure with the Hiram College soccer team. While gifted in science and math, Brian’s scholarly interests extend to literature, ethics, and policy issues. Brian is a truly well-rounded student, being fully engaged in academics, athletics, and student leadership. 

President’s Achievement Award  

The President’s Achievement Award is given annually to a woman and man in the junior class whose academic records, campus leadership and devotion to the ideals and objectives of Hiram College distinguish their performances as outstanding. Students selected for this award have demonstrated, during their years at Hiram College, marked growth in academic achievement and in personal development. They have displayed sensitivity to the needs of their fellow students, to those in the College community and of society in general, and they have made constructive contributions to the solutions to these problems. In summary, the President’s Achievement Award goes to those whose records best symbolize the educational goals of Hiram College. 

2020 Recipients: Jeffrey Robb and Essynce Mitchell  

Jeffrey Robb is from Circleville, Ohio and is double majoring in political science and international studies. Reflective of his major, Jeffrey served as the vice president of administration for Student Senate this year; is the president-elect of Student Senate for next year; and is a political intern for Betsy Rader, working on her Ohio State Senate election campaign. He also serves in a leadership role as resident assistant for East Hall and is a Garfield Scholar for Public Leadership. 

Essynce Mitchell is a psychology major hailing from Cleveland, Ohio. She contributes her leadership skills to the Hiram community by serving as a peer mentor and service leader. She extends those skills to her campus activities by competing on the Cheer & STUNT team; chairing the Senior Send-Off Committee; serving as secretary for Black Student Union this year; and is president-elect for Black Student Union next year. 

Distinguished Student Leadership Award-Dively  

The Distinguished Student Leadership Award is given annually by Hiram College in recognition of an outstanding senior student whose contributions to campus life have earned peer respect and admiration. Michael Dively, a former Hiram College Trustee, three-term member of the Michigan House of Representatives and adjunct faculty member at American University, is the founder of the award. 

2020 Recipient: Alexia Kemerling  

Alexia Kemerling is a graduating senior from Mansfield, Ohio. She was a member of the Stone Soup Co-op, Cross Country Club, and Garfield Presidency Scholars. She also helped establish a new club on campus, Writers in Residence, which facilitated creative writing workshops at the Portage/Geauga Juvenile Detention Center. Her greatest passion has been improving the quality of life on campus for students with disabilities and she accomplished this by advocating for policies to promote accessibility. In fall 2019 she created and implemented a way to provide live captions using the iPads for the production of “Stepping Out.” 

Hal Reichle Memorial Award  

The Hal Reichle Memorial Award is presented annually to an individual student who has demonstrated significant acts of kindness, generosity and compassion toward other human beings. The award recipient is chosen on the basis of humanitarian efforts, community involvement and volunteerism. 

2020 Recipient: Rashell Anderson

Rashell Anderson is a junior sociology major from Cleveland, Ohio. She has served in leadership roles as a resident assistant, peer mentor, service leader, and Human Resources intern. Using her passion to help others, she has quietly demonstrated her caring compassion across campus in her home, academic, and career environments assisting all areas of Hiram’s community – students, staff, and faculty. Her service exemplifies the ideals represented in the Hal Reichle Award. 

Nancy Moeller Award  

Established in the memory of Nancy Moeller, this award is given to the student who maintained high standards while achieving the goal of a college education and in so doing, earned the respect of faculty members and fellow students. 

2020 Recipient: Michelle Kennedy  

Michelle Kennedy is a senior accounting major from Ravenna, Ohio. She has worked for 13 years as a credit manager for FFR Merchandising, in a time-intensive and high-stress role. Michelle entered the Weekend College in fall 2017 and will graduate very soon. She has been juggling her studies with this more than full-time job and a busy personal life. During her time at Hiram, Michelle has shown determination, fortitude, and flexibility in pursing her goals. She has maintained a solid GPA and has demonstrated a can-do attitude throughout her journey. 

The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Award  

The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Award is given annually by Hiram College to a student who, through the quality of his or her leadership and overall character, exemplifies a spirit of inclusiveness and an appreciation for multiculturalism and diversity.  

2020 Recipient: Yidiayah Box  

Yidiayah Box is a junior majoring in creating writing and minoring in art and is from Cleveland Heights, Ohio. She attended Cleveland Heights High School where she was an involved student leader and social justice advocate. At Hiram, Yidiayah is a resident assistant, serves on the board of the Black Student Union, is a member of Active Minds, a Student Senator, and a peer mentor. She is an intern at Lake Erie Ink, a not for profit organization that provides creative expression opportunities and academic support to youth in the Greater Cleveland community. Yidiayah’s inclusive leadership style makes her an ideal recipient of the 2020 MLK Award. 

Yuksel Ismail Scholarship in Humanities  

Established in 1986 by the Ismail family, colleagues, friends, and former students, the Yuksel Ismail Scholarship honors a senior student in humanities (which includes classical studies, English, foreign languages, history, philosophy, and religion) who best exemplifies the love of learning and high standards lived out at Hiram College by Yuksel Ismail, professor of languages and literature.  

2020 Recipient: Alexia Kemerling  

Alexia’s love of learning expressed through her academic record, breadth of coursework in the humanities, dedication to accessibility, and travel experience led to receiving significant endorsements from the selection committee members who know her. She is known by her professors to be “one of the brightest and most promising students I’ve taught”, a student who pushes herself, and she is “a strong voice for better accessibility on campus, and fights hard for what she knows is right.” Alexia is truly an amazing student who embodies the best of Hiram, and she exemplifies the ideals that Yuksel Ismail championed. 

Alpha Society

Alpha Society is one of Hiram’s highest academic honors. Membership is limited to students who have completed 12 or more hours of graded coursework at Hiram College and whose cumulative grade point average is 3.75 or better. 

Alpha Society Graduating Seniors
Jilyann Atkinson Victor Becerra
Devin Brooks Brian Corbin
Kerry Dombroski Rebecca Guggenbiller
Matthew Hecker Alexia Kemerling
Emma Kovach Nicholas Krasnoschlik
Valerie Lauderback Callie Levan
Erica Lohan Breanna Louis
Jessica Maurer Kelly Miller
Paula Mocanu Jenna Nelson
Madison Paden Jessica Schrodt
Ana Strauss Lori Vaught
Valori Vaught Danielle Vincent
Hannah Waldman Abigail Wirfel
Yajing Zhang  
Alpha Society Underclassmen
Laura Alspaugh Abbey Anderson Lauren Ashton
Giselle Bahena Logan Bailey Brett Bentkowski
Austin Blatt Marisa Bolton Mackenzie Brannon
Matthew Bruyere Madison Burns Amaya Butler
Emma Chinn Lisha Ciani Stephanie Cipa
Sarah Clarke Payton Cody Alainna Conroy
Katelyn Crosby Emily Daugherty Riley Dearth
Olivia Detweiler Michael Dietzen Amber Downes
James Elliot Wendy Fennell Sydney Finley-Houston
Zachary Fox Julia Frank Gina Gale
Meghan Griffin Amelia Guevara Emily Harris
Denise Hart Anna Harvey Ashley Hennen
Samuel Hitchcock Leah Iannini Elizabeth Jaber
Kiara Jeffrey Jamie Jelenic Rachel Jerkins
Lindsey Johns Brett Johnson Ian Johnson
Amanda Jordan Laura Kahn Rosalina Kalvitz
Carlene Kopp Trenton Lair Hannah Lane
Matthew Lee Katelyn Lenahan Sophia Leuma
Grace Lutat Anthony Lyon Alyssa Maraia
Sophia McCurdy Abagail McGuire Ashley Meier
Stacey Menzies Daphney Miller Irene Miller
Natalie Mockensturm Jacob Moncher Miranda Mordue
Benjamin Moseley Ryan Mount William Muirhead
Rachna Narasimha Prasad Chelsey Orlando Maya Pappas
Mit Patel Joshua Peaco Andrew Pemberton
Vincent Pernotto Jacob Plisko Keegan Rankin  
Kelly Ratliff Thomas Rink Adam Risko
Kellie Ristau Jeffrey Robb Jasmine Rosiak
Angela Ross Gerald Saunders Zachary Scalf
Nikkia Schady Bailey Scheck Adam Schlaker
Matthew Schmidt Jacob Seiple Karen Slates
Allison Slutz Emilee Smith Katherine Starr
Margaret Stehno Jonathan Sturtz Taryn Swick
Thomas Swope Journey Toole Quinn Tucker
Victoria Valetta Hannah Ward Ryleigh Webb
Chloe Welch Katie Whisler Michael Williams
Riley Williams Brianna Woodworth Maggie Yarcusko
David Yost    

by Jenelle Bayus