Bridgewater Recognizes Five Members of the Campus Community

Founder’s Day Awards Announced in Email Due to Pandemic


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Founder’s Day award recipients, clockwise from upper left: Dr. Michele Strano Clark, Dr. Charles W. Hale IV, Dr. James S. Josefson, Keon D. Nesmith ’20 and Whitney S. Smith ’01

Laraya Billups, Staff Writer

Bridgewater, Va. – In an email to all employees, and in a second one to students, President David Bushman released the names of this year’s recipients of Founder’s Day awards, who “exemplify our commitment to excellence and to the vision of the College’s founder, Daniel Christian Flory.”

Every year, the College recognizes three faculty members, one staff member, and one senior.

This year, the Founder’s Day faculty winners are Dr. Michele Strano Clark, associate professor of communication studies and theatre; Dr. James Josefson, professor of history and political science; and Dr. Charles Hale, associate professor of health and human sciences.

Clark, who received the Ben and Janice Wade Outstanding Teaching Award, said it was an honor. Both of the Wades are BC graduates, and Ben Wade also served as a professor, executive assistant to the president and provost.

“I love teaching because it allows me to be part of a community that values the careful examination of ideas and the evidence we use to form those ideas,” said Clark. “For me, teaching is not just about the transfer of knowledge, but about the building of a society based in knowledge, peace and acceptance.”

The Martha B. Thornton Faculty Recognition Award was presented to Hale. This award is given in recognition of outstanding classroom teaching and advising of students. Thornton was a member of the Bridgewater faculty and carried administrative responsibilities for student affairs.

Josefson, recipient of the Faculty Scholarship Award, said he was honored to be recognized by his colleagues for his research. Over the past year, Josefson published two books: “Hannah Arendt’s Aesthetic Politics: Freedom & the Beautiful” and “Political Philosophy in the Moment: Narratives of Freedom from Plato to Arendt.”

The prize money allowed him to fulfill personal a goal: to purchase a new guitar.

“I’ve had the same guitar that I bought as a college sophomore in 1988 for $250, and it’s on its last legs,” said Josefson. “The bridge that holds the strings to the top is separating just when I was starting to get more serious about guitar.”

The staff member who won the Daniel Christian Flory Award in honor of Bridgewater College’s founder is Whitney Smith, assistant dean of students for engagement. Smith was very surprised to receive the award and was “humbled to know” that a colleague had nominated her. Smith has loved the Bridgewater community ever since she graduated from the College in 2001.

“The students and employees that make up our community have always been a highlight of my job,” said Smith. “Being a Bridgewater grad, I’ve been given the opportunity to pay forward how people helped me during my time as a BC student.”

Along with the faculty and staff, senior Keon Nesmith won the Founder’s Award which is described as recognizing a senior’s complete body of work—both in and out of the classroom—during their time at Bridgewater.

“One of my favorite parts of my position is watching a student graduate and knowing their story, who they were when they entered BC, the obstacles they’ve overcome, watching them grow and sharing in their success as they cross the stage,” said Smith.