Students and faculty gather in Duke Family Performance Hall. Students sit in rows as faculty members give speeches
The Convocation Ceremony in Duke Family Performance Hall this past Thursday. Photos by Bailey Maierson ‘25

Sohan Gade ’23 (He/Him), Staff Writer

On Thursday, April 14, 2022 graduating seniors, dressed up in their cap and gowns, filed into the Duke Family Performance Hall for the Spring Convocation Ceremony. The ceremony was a presentation of athletic, academic, and leadership awards recognizing student achievements from this year. 

Due to the pandemic, the last in-person convocation ceremony took place in 2019, when the current graduating seniors were newly-arrived, first-year students. Seniors expressed their excitement for the in-person event.

Helen Zhang ‘22, who received the William Gatewood Workman Psychology award, expressed her gratitude to the department and for the event. 

“I really liked the in-person convocation. It was great seeing the smile on everyone’s faces and other students’ accomplishments […] It was a huge honor to receive an award from the psychology department to recognize my four years of hard work. I have learned a lot from my phenomenal professors and brilliant peers, and I can’t wait to see what we will all accomplish outside of Davidson,” said Zhang. 

The ceremony began with an invocation from ChiChi Odo ‘22 and Class President John Billups ‘22. Billups discussed his class’ unity and competitive spirit, referencing the ongoing Humans vs. Zombies (HvZ) game. Also in attendance was Jared Herr’ 22, lead organizer for the game. Herr even implemented a three hour immunity period, freezing the game during the event. 

“Given the formal nature of convocation, it seemed best to keep the zombies away [during the event]. Organizing HvZ was an incredible amount of work, but worth every second to see the way the student body enjoyed it. For it to have even gotten a mention at convocation really made me smile,” said Herr. 

Following Billups’ address, President Carol Quillen spoke about how the event was her final Convocation ceremony as College President. Dean Byron McCrae followed with a presentation of the leadership and service awards. The Ben Callinder Award was presented to former SGA President Brandon Harris ’22 for his long-standing background in community service and advocacy.

Not all of the awards were given to the graduating seniors; some awards were given to sophomores and juniors. Claire Hendrix ‘23 received the James Baker Woods III Award for her service in the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program. She expressed her gratitude toward her classmates and the program.

“It felt really rewarding. We all work so hard and it felt nice to be recognized for all the hard work we put in,” said Hendrix.

Athletic Director Chris Clunie ‘06 proceeded with athletic awards. The Tommy Peters Award, recognizing a male athlete, went to Davidson Basketball’s star and current Atlantic-10 player of the year, Luka Brajkovic ’22 for his leadership record on and off the court. The Rebecca E. Stimson Award, recognizing a female athlete, went to swimmer Siena Senn ‘22, two-time conference champion for the 500 free, for her athletic and academic achievements.

Dean Phillip Jefferson then began the academic portion of the awards ceremony. Each academic department gave out an award, generally to graduating seniors, to recognize their accomplishments. 

Brandon Harris ‘22 and Samantha Ewing ‘23 presented the SGA faculty awards.

Concluding the event, College Chaplain Rev. Rob Spach led a benediction to pass on his blessings to the graduating class.