Though last night’s award convocation ceremony was nearly an hour and a half in length, most award-winners were granted only a few seconds of recognition. Not so for the main events of the evening: the presentation of the Ferid Murad Medal and the Walker Cup.
Senior Ashton Johnson was awarded the Walker Cup by DePauw University President Brian Casey, while Vice President of Academic Affairs Larry Stimpert announced senior Stephen Dobbs as the next Ferid Murad medalist.
During Casey’s introduction to the Walker Cup winner, he went into detail about all three finalists, including eventual winner Johnson, as well as classmates Courtney Cosby and Cody Watson.
“The word that captures Ashton, for me,” Casey said, “is intelligence.”
As a sociology major and education studies minor from Springfield, Maryland, Casey commented on Johnson’s article in The DePauw, “Your privilege is in our way”--an article that was widely read on campus and was eventually picked up by the Huffington Post.
“She sees things other people don’t.” Casey added in his introduction. “Ashton always gets to the truth, to the elegant truth, with words that reveal and amaze.”
After winning, a beaming Johnson took the stage and congratulated fellow finalists Cosby and Watson.
“It was an honor just to be listed up here with you two.” Johnson said, before going on to dedicate the Cup to her late aunt, whose funeral took place earlier that day. “Without her I wouldn’t be here on this stage. She was a third generation college graduate, and she was one of the first people to graduate from college.”
After the ceremony, Johnson admitted to feeling a mix of emotions.
“I’m really, really happy, but I’m also really, really sad because of my aunt.”
Just before Casey awarded Johnson the Walker Cup, geology major Dobbs walked off the stage bearing the Ferid Murad Medal, a tribute to his hard work and time spent in the field.
“Essentially Steve will have completed the work of a Master’s degree by the time he graduates with his BA from DePauw,” Stimpert said.
Afterwards, Dobbs stated that he was completely shocked by his win.
“I read the other two nominations and they seemed incredible,” he said. “I’m at a loss for words. I don’t understand why they gave it to me, but I’ll take it.”
While Dobbs’ award comes with no strings attached, Johnson will have to begin planning her speech to fellow graduates for commencement.
“That’s something I’m really nervous about, because me and public speaking...” she said, trailing off and indicating with a shake of her head that this speech might not be something she’s entirely looking forward to.
However, she presented a brave face to her peers.
“To the class of 2015, we have 20 days left, and I will see you on that stage,” she said, smiling for the cheering crowd and walking away with her hardware.