Ouachita celebrates student achievements at university awards ceremony


Ouachita Baptist University recently recognized students for their outstanding academic, leadership and civic achievements during the 2020-2021 academic year with its annual Academic Awards Ceremony, held at the Jones Performing Arts Center .

Harly dearing

Harly Dearing, triple major in Accounting, Finance and Business Administration / Management from Cove, Ark., Received Ouachita’s highest academic honor as the university’s overall academic achievement. Dearing also had Top Academic Achievement from the Hickingbotham School of Business and was recognized as a Carl Goodson Program Blue Ribbon Finisher with Distinction.

Ouachita’s Senior Outstanding Man is João Pedro Rodrigues, a finance major from Ribeirão Preto, Brazil. Ouachita’s Senior Outstanding Woman is Eden Crow, a double major in Kinesiology and Recreation / Teaching and Education from Texarkana, Ark. The Senior Outstanding Man and Woman are selected by the faculty and staff of Ouachita. Rodrigues was also recognized as a Blue Ribbon Finisher in the Carl Goodson Honors Program.

Other best academic results at each school include:

  • Pruet School of Christian Studies – Laura Beth Warner, major in Christian Studies / Christian Ministries from Benton, Ark.
  • Huckabee School of Education – Emily Koonce, a double major in secondary and English education from Wylie, Texas
  • School of Fine Arts – Holli Barger, major in instrumental music education from Carrollton, Texas
  • School of Humanities – Elizabeth Steely, major in Communication and Media / Multimedia Journalism from Conway, Ark.
  • D. Patterson School of Natural Sciences – Emme Edmondson, majoring in biology from Benton, Ark.
  • H. Sutton School of Social Sciences – Taryn Bewley, double major in political science and psychology from Conway, Ark.
Eden crow João Pedro Rodrigues

João Pedro Rodrigues (left) and Eden Crow (right)

The Ms. JR Grant Endowed Awards for Freshmen and Senior Students were awarded to Anna Kate Velasquez and Bailey Buettner, respectively. Velasquez is a Christian studies student from Pearland, Texas. Buettner is a double major in Psychology and Christian Studies / Christian Missions from Garland, Texas.

The Mrs. Betty Oliver Grant Endowed Awards for second and second year students were presented to Dayja James and Madison Williamson, respectively. James is a major in biology from McGehee, Ark. Williamson is a major in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Magnolia, Ark.

The Most Inspirational Professor Award went to Dr Scott Duvall, JC and Mae Fuller Professor of Biblical Studies.

Those honored by the Carl Goodson Distinction Program and the Seven University Schools of Ouachita include:


  • Ben Elrod Fellow: Cora Saddler
  • Carl Goodson Fellow: Maddie Bailey
  • Garrett Ham Fellow: Jael Winterholter
  • Blue Ribbon Finishers: Tray Armstrong, Addison Bates, Jasmine Baughman, Christina Beger, Elijah Begin, Jordon Bone, Rebecca Braly, Scarlett Castleberry, Kayla Churchwell, Jessica Daniell, Harly Dearing, Kara DeLaune, Melodie DuBose, Lauren Dunaway, Emily Edmondson, Jordon Ford, Grace Gallagher, Travis Hankins, Caleb Harmon, Kathryn Harmon, Caitlyn Hatchett, Cade Haynie, Shawn Hill, Jennifer Johnson, Grace Jones, Madeline Knight, Emily Koonce, Moriah Manchack, Erin McNully, Jordan Myers, Rebekah Oliver, Breanna Parker , Hannah Perkins, Stephen Pilant, Stephany Quintero, David Rainwater, Alyssa Reece, João Pedro Rodrigues, Madeline Rottinghaus, Sidney Salyers, Carmen Scott, Madison Shankle, Rylie Slone, McKenzie Smith, Timothy Spiva, Zachary Tomlinson, Abigail Walker, Jennifer Wallace, Laura Warner, Julianne Weaver, Mallory Whitson and Estelle Zhang.
  • Most Valuable Professors: Dr Sharon Hamilton, Associate Professor of Chemistry, and Dr Nathan Reyna, Associate Professor of Biology.


  • Lera Kelly Award for Senior Business Administration: Ali Chapman, Cole Alexander
  • Margaret Wright Award for Senior Accounting: Erin McNully
  • Outstanding Senior Eddie Ary Award in Finance: Will Guerra
  • Johnny Heflin Award of Excellence in Leadership and Academia: Stephany Quintero
  • Outstanding Business Athlete: Rileigh Fielder, Luke Scaggs


  • Outstanding Biblical Studies Student: Lucas McCann
  • Outstanding Student in Christian Ministries: Laura Beth Warner
  • Outstanding Student in Christian Missions: Rylie Slone
  • Don Harbuck Award for Excellence in Philosophy: Zach Tomlinson
  • Preben Vang Prize for Christian Theological Studies: Cody Cagle
  • Hebrew Bible Prize: Emma Smith
  • Robert Stagg Greek New Testament Prize: Gabby Grau


  • Alice Searcy Prize: Anna Katherine Green
  • Outstanding Graduates in Training: Isabella Bejarano (elementary), Sydni Watts (middle), Hannah Tullos (secondary)
  • Sylvia Gates Webb Award: Garrison Jensen
  • Maude Wright Memorial Award: Katie Gray
  • Phi Delta Kappa teachers in training: Gracen Seabaugh (elementary), Jonathan Rubin (middle), Sydney Mendel (secondary), Bethany Crawley (K-12)
  • Charles Chambliss Emeritus Educator Award: Olivia Yarbrough
  • Bob Gravett Outstanding Kinesiology and Recreation Teaching Award: Alexis Castillow
  • Tona Wright Fitness Award in Kinesiology and Outstanding Recreation: Gabriel Curlin
  • Outstanding Kinesiology and Recreation Studies / Exercise Science: Ryan Wilson
  • Outstanding Kinesiology and Leisure / Leisure Studies: Ben Adair
  • Outstanding Kinesiology and Recreation Award / Pre-Professional Studies Award: Julianna Mack
  • Outstanding Kinesiology and Leisure Studies / Recreation and Sports Administration: Luke Schmidt


Applied Arts Division
  • Francie Phelan Exceptional Senior – Graphic Design: Maddie Bayer
  • Exceptional Senior Francie Phelan – Studio Art: Jenna Whitlow
  • Raybon-Berry, first year visual arts major: Jill Parsons
  • Russell Shad Memorial Art Award for Outstanding Junior: Tehya Hinkson
  • Outstanding Design / Technology Students in Theater Arts Awards – Freshman: Brynlee Beams
  • Outstanding Student in Theater Arts Award – Freshman: Abby Burlison
  • Outstanding Student Award in Theater Arts – Junior: Sammy Campione
  • Alpha Psi Omega Senior Award: Danielle Hall, Molly Kennedy
Music Division
  • Sigma Alpha Iota College Honorary Award: Kailee Morehart
  • Sigma Alpha Iota Scholarship: Lexi Reimer
  • The researcher presser: Sam Youmans
  • Rachel Fuller Scholarship: Eryn Riley
  • James Harrison Scholarship: Bryce Krisell
Friends of fine arts researchers
  • Visual arts: Saba Esho
  • Instrumental music: Graham Scarborough
  • Piano: Katie Bayer
  • Theater Arts: Julia Letcher
  • Voice: Matthew Mayfield


Department of Language and Literature Prize
  • Outstanding English Major: Emily Koonce
  • Louise Searcy Bennett Outstanding Junior Scholarship: Cora Saddler
  • Outstanding Second Year Herman Sandford Scholarship: Emily Pease
  • Outstanding First Student in English: Sydney Motl
  • The Sharpest Speer Award: Emily Koonce, Tray Armstrong
  • Bugtruck Gumption Award for Outstanding Service: Langley Leverett
  • Outstanding Junior Spanish Major: Lauren Gaharan
  • Outstanding Senior Spanish Major: Mady Cate Rottinghaus
  • El Tigre Prize: Chase Hartsell
  • Outstanding Latin Student: Emilee Webb
Rogers Ministry of Communications Award
  • Bill & Vera Downs Award for Outstanding Second Year Mass Communication Students: Caroline Derby
  • Matt Turner Junior Outstanding Mass Communications Major Award: Abby Blankenship
  • William D. Downs Outstanding Mass Communication Graduate Award: Caity Hatchett, Ben Swanger
  • Major Roy Buckelew Outstanding Speech Award: Hayden Reedy
  • Publication Awards: Ben Swanger (Ouachitonian), Caity Hatchett (Signal), Caity Hatchett (Online Signal) Abby Blankenship (Photo Lab), Hannah Smith (Photo Lab), Matthew Branch (Ouachita Sports Digital Network)


  • Outstanding First Year Biology Award: Kaylee Johnson
  • Richard H. Brown Biology Prize: Rylie Davis
  • Outstanding Senior Prize in Biology: Emme Edmondson
  • Outstanding Dietetics and Nutrition Award: Madeline Steely
  • First Year Chemistry Award: Kaylee Johnson
  • Ethel & Nell Mondy and Provine EA Fellow: Kayla Whittington
  • Outstanding Chemistry Graduate: Travis Hankins
  • Harvey Research Prize: Kayla Churchwell
Rowland Memorial Prize in Physics, Mathematics and Computer Science
  • Exceptional Senior – Mathematics: Sarah Freeze
  • Exceptional Senior – Mathematics Education: Katie Harmon
  • Exceptional senior – Physical: Travis Hankins
  • Exceptional senior – IT: Caleb Harmon
  • Academic Excellence – Mathematics: Jonah Mears
  • Academic Excellence – Computer Science: Kaitlyn Campbell
  • Academic Excellence – Physics: JaCoya Hodges
  • Ambassador in Mathematics Award: Graycie Bohannan
  • Academic Excellence – Nursing: Grace Pickleman, Miranda Petit, Kaylee Martin, Courtney Myers, Cassie Lackey
  • Florence Nightingale Spirit of Human Kindness Award: Madi Esch
  • Most likely to overtake: Bay Novak


  • Everett Slavens Award for Outstanding Student: Landon Denman
  • Lavell Cole Award to Outstanding Future Teacher: Kaleb McAdams
  • Fran Coulter Award for Outstanding Junior: Sarah Spakes
  • C. Daily Outstanding Senior Award: Jenna Whitlow
  • Phi Alpha Theta Award for Outstanding Research Paper: Spencer Worth
  • Bob Riley Award for Outstanding Political Science Graduate: Taryn Bewley
  • Faculty of Psychology Prize: Ashton Hurst, Pietra Gois, Saba Esho
  • Zeitgeist Award: Josie Collins, Victoria Martin
  • Weldon Vogt Award for Senior in Outstanding Psychology: Madison Shankle
  • Outstanding Junior Sociology Prize: Kiki Youmans
  • Graduate studies award in sociology: Carli Copell

Main photo: Ouachita awarded Harly Dearing (center) the University’s Global Academic Achiever Award, Joao Rodrigues (left) Senior Outstanding Man and Eden Crow (right) Senior Outstanding Woman for the 2020-2021 academic year during its annual academic awards ceremony. Photo by Abby Blankenship. Download the full size image.

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