Students and Faculty Members Receive Distinguished Honors During Scholarship and Awards Day

Provost David Gregory awards Dr. Darrell Gwaltney with the Leadership in Christian Service Award

Students and Faculty Members Receive Distinguished Honors During Scholarship and Awards Day

April 11, 2024 | by Nolan Galbreath

Belmont University hosted its annual Scholarship and Awards celebration on Wednesday, April 10 in the Massey Performing Arts Center.

Honors were bestowed upon students and faculty members who have dedicated themselves to successful scholarly pursuits, inspired creativity within their fields of study or peer groups and served one another with a heart that champions Jesus. Twelve student awards and five faculty awards were given, all of which recognize an admirable individual willingness to go above and beyond the norm.

“There are three things that make Belmont different from other institutions of higher education — our mission, our people and our culture,” said Belmont President Greg Jones. “We honor this day, the heart of the Belmont mission, teaching, learning and enabling our students and each other to become better people and in turn make the world a better place.” 

Student Achievement Awards

First Place Winner: Nina Chounlamountry

Second Place Winner: Sophia Mahalak

The Alfred Leland Crabb Award honors a student who has submitted any written work in response to a class assignment in any field. Students' instructors submit works to be nominated.


First Place Winner: Nate Kammerer

Second Place Winner: Eden Ayers

The Stacy Awalt Writing Award is given to a student who submits a paper to the Department of Philosophy which explores a perennial question or contemporary issue from a philosophical point of view.


Winner: Eri Manaj

Winner: Carson Wasemiller

The Lumos Travel Award allows students to participate in self-designed international projects lasting a minimum of four months, allowing them to directly engage with an international community.

Winner: Lauren Campbell

Winner: Eleri Hadaway

Winner: Elisabeth Moss

The Dr. Fannie Hewlett Award celebrates racial and ethnic diversity by recognizing student courage, leadership and contribution to a culture of inclusion at Belmont. Each year, there is an undergraduate and graduate winner.

Undergraduate Winner: Seth Thorpe

Graduate Winner: Alexandria Redmond

The University Hale Leadership Awards recognize a first-year, second-year, third-year and fourth-year student who exhibit leadership, service and perseverance at Belmont and are poised to transform the world post-graduation.


First Year Winner: Madeline “Dee” Pace

Second Year Winner: Paige Hill

Third Year Winner: Hudson Blake

Fourth Year Winner: Lauralee Hurst

The John Williams Heart of Belmont Award recognizes a third-year or fourth-year student who meets the following criteria: portrays an intrinsic commitment to voluntary service, an initiative and innovation in problem solving, a persistence in overcoming obstacles, is an advocate for change that enhances the lives of those in the community, exhibits a mature understanding of community needs and systemic problems, showcases sensitivity in developing a partnering relationship with the community, and forms habits of reflection that derive from service and lead to service.

Winner: Victoria Leigh Crawford Nelson

The Graduate Student Leadership Award recognizes a graduate student completing the final year of their program who has distinguished themself through a willingness to engage in meaningful collaboration and service to their community.

Winner: Nadia Aldahiri

The Graduate Student Scholarship Award recognizes a graduate student completing the final year of their program who has distinguished themself through academic success, original scholarly research, writing and creative output.

Winner: Samantha McCaleb

The Algernon Sydney Sullivan Foundation Award and Mary Mildred Sullivan Award recognize individuals who demonstrate the highest standards of character, integrity and service to others and their community.


Algernon Sydney Sullivan Foundation Award Winner: Mackenize Gimble

Mary Mildreal Sullivan Award Winner: Laney Deffendoll


Faculty Achievement Awards 

Following the conclusion of the student awards, five Belmont faculty members received the following awards.


Christian Scholarship Award

11.jpgThe Christian Scholarship Award is presented each year to a full-time Belmont faculty member who has produced scholarly work that has contributed to the Christian scholarly conversation in their discipline. The work could be an article, book, book chapter or a creative work in the visual or performing arts.

This year, Dr. David Dark, associate professor of religion and the arts, was distinguished with the honor. Having been at Belmont for 12 years, Dark recently published his book titled, “We Become What We Normalize: What We Owe Each Other in Worlds That Demand Our Silence.”


Leadership in Christian Service Award

12.jpgThe winner of the Christian Service Award honors a full-time faculty member who provides leadership to a new initiative or to an established Christian organization that serves those in need.

Dr. Darrell Gwaltney was honored with the award for his work as the executive director of the men’s center for church leadership, the H. Franklin Pascal chair of Biblical studies and preaching at Belmont University. With over 40 years spent in ministry, Gwaltney serves on the executive committee for Autism Tennessee as well as president for Engaged Church Network. In addition, he also leads education for Biblia Amistad Cristiana in Honduras, a program that equips vocational pastors for ministry in southern Honduras.


Faculty Scholarship Award

13.jpgThe Faculty Scholarship Award exists to honor a faculty member who exemplifies outstanding intellectual and creative scholarly work. His or her contributions can apply to the areas of discovery, integration, application or teaching.

As someone who has dedicated his life to reforming the plea bargain system in the United States and across the world, Lucian Dervan received the award. Dervan published four books since 2016 and has a fifth in printing that explores the relationship of psychology with plea bargaining. He developed the first and only study abroad experience for law students as well, taking them to Australia where students are introduced to comparative law.

Other Finalists: Dr. Luke Petach and Dr. Mark McEntire


Chaney Distinguished Professor Award

14.jpgThe recipient of the Chaney Distinguished Professor Award is a full-time faculty member who best represents Belmont’s vision to be a “premier teaching institution.” The award is voted on by faculty, students, the president, provost and deans.

Dr. Timothy Schoenfeld received the honor and was described by a fellow professor as “the best hire we’ve had in our department,” and “someone who tries new things, and if they fail, he refines and refocuses because he cares enough for the students to do well.” Similarly, a student remarked, “We are better students for taking his class.”

Other Finalists: Dr. Ken Spring, Dr. Kara Smith and Dr. Carole Scherling


Presidential Faculty Achievement Award

15.jpgThe Presidential Faculty Achievement Award is presented to a faculty member who has made outstanding contributions to student life outside the classroom. The award recognizes “excellence in faculty-student relationships, special abilities in meeting student needs and symbolizes Belmont University’s commitment to being a student-centered institution.”

The winner of this year’s award was Director of Neuroscience Dr. Carole Scherling. When speaking of Scherling, a student said, “I can’t count the number of times Dr. Scherling made sure to come into the psychology lounge are and asked everyone, whether they were her students or not, if they needed help or had any questions that could be answered.”

Similarly, another student recounted, “I’m a commercial voice major, and I failed the first test. Dr. Scherling invited me to her office, but I did not go because I was embarrassed. She did not let it slide and eventually got me there. She not only made me aware of my own learning style, but she provided materials for the rest of the year that fit into that domain, and she taught me how to actually take tests.”

Other Finalists: Dr. Qingjun Li, Dr. David Phillippi and Dr. Marieta Velikova

Seth Thorpe
Faculty smiling for a photo
Lauren Campbell
Nadia Aldahiri
Greg Jones
Faculty members smiling
Man playing piano
Faculty preps for ceremony
Samantha McCaleb
Eden Ayers
Lauralee Hurst