2022 Founder’s Day Awards


Bridgewater College

Founder’s Day award recipients, from left to right: Benjamin Albers, Lauren Eye ‘22, President David Bushman, Christian Sheridan, Martin Kalb.

Bridgewater, Va. – Held in-person for the first time in two years, this year’s Founder’s Day awards ceremony on April 5 recognized the accomplishments of three faculty members, two staff members, and one member of the senior class who “exemplify our commitment to excellence and to the vision of the College’s founder,” per an email from [email protected]

The Ben and Janice Wade Outstanding Teaching Award recognizes a classroom teacher who has demonstrated outstanding classroom teaching performance. This year’s Outstanding Teaching Award was presented to Benjamin Albers, associate professor of sociology. 

“I owe a great deal to my faculty colleagues and mentors, many of whom are as – or more – deserving of this kind of recognition,” said Albers. “I hope that the student body knows that while their professors may have different styles and pedagogies, it would be hard to find a faculty more talented and more committed to students‘ success than we have at Bridgewater.” 

The Martha B. Thornton Faculty Recognition Award recognizes one full-time faculty member who is judged worthy of this honor based on his or her classroom teaching and advising of students. This year’s recipient of the Faculty Recognition Award was Associate Professor of English Christian Sheridan. 

“I am honored to receive the 2022 Thornton Faculty Recognition Award, and it’s a nice reminder that the things I value in the classroom – listening to and engaging with students – are also valued by my faculty colleagues and the college as whole,” said Sheridan. 

The Faculty Scholarship Award recognizes a full-time faculty member’s established record of scholarly achievement. This year’s Faculty Scholarship Award recipient was Martin Kalb, associate professor of history and political science. 

“It was good to be in person again, to have the ceremony in person and see students, faculty and the class of 2022 in the regalia,” said Kalb. 

The Daniel Christian Flory Award recognizes the staff member who made the most outstanding contribution to fulfilling the mission of Bridgewater College over the previous year. This year’s Daniel Christian Flory Award was awarded posthumously to Campus Safety Officer Vashon “J.J.” Jefferson and Campus Police Officer John Painter for their ultimate service on Feb. 1. 

“It was a really touching and community-affirming experience when they announced the award to J.J. and John,” said senior Lexi Lease. “It was especially surreal when we all gave standing rounds of applause when Chief Franklin and Painter’s daughter [Courtney Painter] accepted their awards.” 

“It was good to come together for the first time for Founder’s Day in my college career and it was good to see John and J.J. win the award for faculty,” said junior Ryan McDonald. 

The Founder’s Award is bestowed upon the senior who best demonstrates the values of the College’s founder, Daniel Christian Flory. This year’s Founder’s Award was presented to senior health and exercise science and sociology double-major Lauren Eye.

“I was completely shocked and so, so honored,” said Eye. “I love this community that I have made my home for these past four years and that has made all the difference.”

In addition to honoring this year’s award winners, last year’s Founder’s Day award recipients were called to the stage to accept their virtually-announced certificates in-person. Among the 2021 recipients were Assistant Dean of Students Liz Howley, Associate Professor of World Languages and Culture Mahan Ellison, Gemma Leonard ‘21, Psychology Department Chair Alan Eby, Associate Professor of Music Christine Carrillo, Associate Dean of Students and Psychologist Neal Rittenhouse and Associate Athletic Director and Senior Woman Administrator Heather Grant.