The annual Academic Recognition Banquet was held on March 24 in Prothro Dining Hall. Bouquets of hand-picked daffodils, forsythia and multiflora roses from the College’s grounds decorated the tabletops. Students who had appeared on either the First-year Honors or Dean’s Lists were invited to attend, along with the faculty members who have coached them along the way.
President Jo Ellen Parker began the program with a celebration of all the students in the room. She asked them to think back on what they had learned throughout the year and the challenges they had overcome.
“Those challenges, successfully met, are your personal achievements,” she said, “and the ones that have prepared you for all the challenges and adventures that await you after graduation and throughout your careers. Those hard-won achievements are the real value of your Sweet Briar education …”
After a hearty applause, Parker introduced the recipient of the 2010 Presidential Medal, the highlight of the evening’s program.
The Presidential Medal is one of the highest honors that Sweet Briar bestows on the graduating senior whose achievements represent the full range of the College’s educational values. The medal itself is a smaller replica of the medallion that the president receives at the inauguration ceremony.
The senior who receives the award must demonstrate exemplary intellectual achievement as well as distinction in a combination of community service; contribution to the arts; global awareness; fitness and athletic achievement; and leadership, civility and integrity. These values are the essence of a Sweet Briar education.
This year, Laura Jett was presented with the auspicious medal to generous applause.
Jett will graduate in May with a B.S. in mathematics and minors in business and statistics. She has earned the Emilie Watts McVea Scholarship and has received a Prothro Scholarship and an Honors Scholarship. She is a member of Omicron Delta Kappa and Alpha Lambda Delta National Academic Honors Society.
She is also a member of Phi Beta Lambda, a national society for business students. As president of the College’s chapter, she won first place in the state for the organization’s competition on accounting principles, marketing concepts and statistical analysis and first place nationally for investments and financial planning. She is regularly on the Dean’s List and is a member of Who’s Who Among American Universities and Colleges.
Jett is also an exceptional athlete. She has earned the Whiteman Scholar Athlete award, which recognizes an athlete with a strong academic record for sportsmanship and outstanding achievement. Jett is captain of the varsity volleyball team and serves as the treasurer for the Student Athletic Association.
Jett has served as class treasurer for the Student Government Association and secretary of the Business Club. She is a member of SweetPEAS, Peer Health Educators and Advocators; PAWS, Protecting Animal Welfare; and the College’s Young Democrats. Jett also excels in her work as a Java programmer, lab assistant and tutor in the mathematics department, and as an admissions tour guide.