Lander recognizes student leadership through online streaming of Student Life Awards

Maria Alvarez, of Greenwood, was named the recipient of the President’s Award during the 2020 Lander University Student Life Awards. The awards were streamed online Wednesday, April 22. While naming Alvarez as the winner, Lander President Richard Cosentino praised her as being “one of those future leaders that will leave their mark on the world.”

As much of the state remained on lockdown because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Lander University’s Division of Student Affairs still found a way to celebrate student achievements through its Student Life Awards. 

The award ceremony was streamed online from the home of Boyd Yarbrough, Vice President of Student Affairs. “The Student Life Awards are a long-held tradition here at Lander. This was the first time – and hopefully last – that the awards were not presented on campus. It’s important that we recognize these student leaders, as they are an integral part of the fabric of student life on our campus. Across campus, all divisions are continuously enriched by their hard work, dedication and accomplishments.”

President’s Award: Maria Alvarez, of Greenwood

Lander President Richard Cosentino praised Alvarez as being “one of those future leaders that will leave their mark on the world.” As a senior, she earned Dean’s List and President’s List honors. While serving as president of Lander’s TriBeta Biological Honor Society, she worked tirelessly to organize two fundraisers for to honor a member of Lander chemistry professor who passed away last year. Additionally, she has been active in many student groups at Lander, including ESSO and Rotaract Club. She has assisted with cleanup projects at local parks and trails, and has participated in Homecoming activities and the annual Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony. 

Samuel and Laura Lander Man and Woman of the Year: Joseph Plyler, of Ruby; and Tymia Mia Miller, of Taylors. 

Named in honor of two individuals who demonstrated the true spirit of Lander University, these awards recognize students who exhibit high aspirations and noble humanitarian qualities of character throughout all areas of campus life. 

Plyler was described as “someone who is full of life, cares about others more than himself, and has an extreme amount of love for Lander.

Miller’s nominator said, “she has been a light at Lander since she stepped foot onto our campus. She’s a positive role model for all students, a delight to all faculty, and a friend to so many throughout campus.”

Presidential Ambassador Awards

  • 2019-2020 Rookie of the Year: Marcus Green, of Greenwood

  • Presidential Ambassador of the Year (peer nominated): Carly Davis, of Simpsonville, and Courtney Brink, of Spartanburg

  • Presidential Ambassador of the Year (nominated by Office of Admissions staff): Chase Maxwell, of Anderson

  • Presidential Ambassador Superior Senior: Mia Miller, of Taylors

These awards recognize outstanding leadership, superior work ethic and service that goes above and beyond the expectations of the Presidential Ambassador program. Recipients have demonstrated enthusiasm, friendliness, courteousness and the ability to work well with others.

Resident Assistant of the Year: Kim Howard, of Columbia

This award is presented annually to the resident assistant who goes above and beyond in engaging students through personal contact, community events and connecting them to campus resources.

University Program Council Member of the Year: Erin Stevens, of Belton.

Stevens was recognized for leading the University Program Council in hosting events that “breathe life into the campus.”

Campus Recreation Awards

  • Campus Recreation Student Employee of the Year: Nathan Shrader, of Lancaster

  • Intramural Team of the Year Award Recipient is Shake and Bake (Landon Hornacek, of Greenwood; Miles McInerney, of Campobello; Wyatt McInerney, of Campobello; Jacob Bradley, of Spartanburg; Brandon Bowers, of Lancaster; Ryan Burns, of Summerville; Chandler Harris, of Spartanburg; Eddie Mattocks, of Columbia; Jackson Norrell, of Taylors; AJ Raber, of Landrum; Ben Schlappi, of Landrum; and Caleb Wilkins, of Boiling Springs) 

  • Intramural Athlete of the Year: Landon Hornacek, of Greenwood

The recipients of these awards were recognized for their demonstrated sportsmanship, motivation and an extraordinary attitude. 

LINK Students of the Year: Ramon Izquierdo, of Newberry, and Nydia Mccullough, of Greenwood. 

Both award winners were recognized for creating information sessions designed to help freshmen students succeed in higher education and beyond. They were also recognized for providing critical information to upperclassmen as well. 

Civility Champion Award: Amira Abdelwahab, of Greenwood

This award is given annually to a student who has strived to maintain the standards of academic integrity and personal character, exemplified respect for all persons, valued diverse opinions and encouraged collaboration, and expressed genuine concern for individuals through acts of kindness and compassion.

Hall of Leaders Award: Cody Barr, of Pauline; Tymia Miller, of Taylors; and Emma Jetty, of Statesville, N.C.

This award is presented to a select group of seniors who have demonstrated outstanding involvement with campus life and extracurricular activities and who, through this service, have exemplified a commitment to the positive enhancement to the lander campus. Recipients’ names are added to the Hall of Leaders display in the Grier Student Center.  

Advisor of the Year Award: Kenneth Calliham, assistant director of recruitment

The purpose of this award is to recognize a Lander University faculty or staff member for their significant voluntary involvement in co-curricular activities, and for advising, guiding and showing encouragement and support of the organization and its members during the current academic year. Copeland was recognized as a devoted Lander alumni and staff member who selflessly devotes his time to supporting the fraternal movement. 

Lander University Organization of the Year Award: Delta Sigma Phi

This award is presented to the recognized student organization, which, through its activities and projects, has had the most significant positive influence on Lander and the surrounding community. This award is based on the number and quality of campus events held, amount of community service performed, involvement with campus events, and initiatives to further advance the education of Lander students beyond the classroom.

Excellence in Programming: Lander Spectrum for their Drag Show

This award recognizes a student organization or group for its exceptional creativity, planning, and execution of a University program. Lander Spectrum was recognized for raising and donating over $1,000 to Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation, and for creating a program that is ”not only a fun event for students – as it does attract a lot of attendees – it increases the visibility of LGBT+ community on campus.”

Greek Leaders of the Year: Kara Love, of Columbia; and Taylor Haigler, of Florence

The purpose of this award is to recognize two Lander University Greek leaders who have contributed to the Greek community while exhibiting the characteristics of the values of Greek life including scholarship, brotherhood/sisterhood, leadership, and community service during the current academic year.

New Student Leader Award: Marielle Fallon, of Simpsonville

This award recognizes the first-year students who have been actively involved in contributing time and energy to learning leadership and contribution to the Lander community. Fallon was recognized as an excellent student and an even more valuable leader at Lander. As a freshman, she has immersed herself in the Lander community and has made herself an invaluable part of each organization in which she’s involved. 

Transfer Student Leader Award: Drew Bennett, of Greer

This award recognizes the unique role of transfer students to the campus community and is given to a student who transferred with sophomore standing or above, and has completed a full year of coursework at Lander. Bennett was recognized for “leading tours and conversations with students and their families, and easing concerns about the transfer process.”

Betty Williams Unsung Hero Award: Bryson Southard, of Greenwood

Named after Betty Williams, a Lander College graduate and former Lander Librarian. Mrs. Williams continues to volunteer to assist the Lander community throughout the years. This award is presented to students who, through their behind the scenes involvement in student life, have exemplifies a commitment to enhancing Lander campus life. 

Southard was recognized for being a person of integrity and volunteering to help with Lander events without expecting payment or recognition in return.

James Curtis Harkness Diversity Award: Emilee Fuller, of Sumter

James Curtis Harkness was a captain of the 1982-84 men’s basketball team and later began a career in student affairs. This award recognizes a student who has exemplified model citizenship, outstanding student leadership, high academic achievement and has been most effective in advancing the concerns of multicultural students.