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University of the Cumberlands seniors receive prestigious Sullivan awards


University of the Cumberlands seniors Tommie Thompson and Jared Stafford, recipients of the Mary Mildred and Algernon Sydney Sullivan awards, were recognized for their academic and spiritual excellence and service to others on Jan. 17 at UC’s Founders’ Day ceremony.

WILLIAMSBURG, Ky. –University of the Cumberlands’ seniors Tommie Thompson and Jared Stafford received the prestigious Mary Mildred and Algernon Sydney Sullivan awards during UC’s Founders’ Day ceremony on Jan. 17. The awards were given to the two students in recognition of their academic and spiritual excellence and their dedication to service to others.

“It is a very humbling reward and I will always feel very privileged to be a Sullivan Award winner,” said Thompson, winner of the Mary Mildred Sullivan Award.

Stafford, recipient of the Algernon Sydney Sullivan award, said of learning about his nomination, “I was informed by e-mail, and I had a hard time believing it. I know the other guys that were nominated and they are great guys and very deserving.”

Though surprised, Stafford said “I am just very thankful to those who nominated me and pray that my conduct represents God in a worthy manner.” Equally surprised when learning of her nomination, Thompson said, “I really didn’t understand what it was…but I felt very honored to be nominated, and even more honored when I found out that I received the award.”

Thompson, an elementary education major and native of Jellico, Tenn., is a member and scholarship recipient of the Kappa Delta Phi (KDP) educational international honor society and an active participant in UC’s Baptist Campus Ministries (BCM), Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) and Mountain Outreach (a construction ministry in which student volunteers build homes for community members in need).

Thompson is also a member of the UC volleyball team and the Student Government Association’s house council. She has participated in mission trips to Africa and plans to teach after graduation.

Stafford majors in Political science, with minors in history and French. He currently serves as vice president of the UC Phi Alpha Theta history honor society and is a member of the FCA leadership team. The Morehead native holds weekly prayer meetings with athletes at Whitley Co. Middle School as an FCA representative. He is a member of the Patriots baseball team and plans to pursue a degree in law.

Dr. Andrew Hockert, assistant professor of biology and chair of UC’s student awards committee said of Thompson and Stafford, “their record of service and spiritual leadership is what helped them to win the awards.”

The Algernon Sydney Sullivan Foundation, now located in Oxford, Miss., was chartered in New York State in 1930. Its purpose is to promote service to others and service to the broader community, values that were exemplified by Algernon and Mary Mildred Sullivan, the parents of the organization’s founder.

In addition to providing support for financial aid to small private colleges, located primarily in the Appalachian region, the Sullivan Foundation also collaborates with 54 southeastern colleges and universities to present awards in memory of Algernon and Mary Mildred Sullivan.