Bridgewater College Celebrates Founder’s Day 2023


Bridgewater College

President David Bushman (Far Left) and Provost and Executive Vice President Leona Sevick (Far Right) stand with the six recipients of the Founder’s Day awards. The Founder’s Day convocation began in Nininger Hall on April 4 at 10:15 a.m.

Nathan Good, Editor in Chief

Bridgewater, Va.- On April 4, Bridgewater College celebrated the 103rd annual Founder’s Day by hosting a ceremony announcing the recipients of the 2023 Founder’s Day awards. These awards were presented to six Bridgewater faculty, staff and students for excellence in teaching, dedicated service and academics. 

Founder’s Day is celebrated on the first Tuesday of April each year in honor of the birthday of D.C. Flory, the college’s founder. 

“We believe today, as D.C. Flory did in his own time, that education creates connections between passion and reason, between the classroom and the world outside the classroom, between a focused academic major and the exploration of free electives, and between the curricular and the co-curricular,” said President David Bushman during the ceremony. We believe the great possibilities of life are realized in what we build together.” 

Senior Instructor of Communication Studies and Director of Endowed Lectures Jennifer Babcock was the recipient of The Martha B. Thornton Faculty Recognition Award, which recognizes faculty who “provide caring concern for students well beyond the role as teacher.” Since 2019, Babcock has been in charge of endowed lectures at Bridgewater, bringing names like Monica Lewinsky and Madeleine Albright to campus. 

The Ben and Janice Wade Outstanding Teaching Award went to Department Chair of Health & Human Sciences Donna Hoskins, whose research has focused on classroom initiatives during her time at Bridgewater. This award honors faculty who have demonstrated outstanding classroom teaching performance.

Professor of Biology Stephen Baron was the recipient of the Faculty Scholarship Award, which recognizes a faculty member for their “established record of scholarly achievement.” As a professor at Bridgewater since 1995, Baron has a research emphasis in biodegradable plastics and has mentored over 100 students on research projects. 

The Daniel Christian Flory Award went to Helpdesk Supervisor Shay Kelley and is awarded to the staff member who has made the best effort in fulfilling Bridgewater College’s mission. Kelley is in charge of the IT helpdesk and student workers and goes above and beyond at the college by being involved in IT events, orientations and more. 

College Chaplain Robbie Miller was the debut recipient of the James O. and Sylvia Kline Bowman Peace and Justice Award, which is awarded to the faculty or staff member that best fulfills the Kline-Bowman Institute’s mission of “promoting the building of peace in communities ranging from the local to the global.” Miller received this new award for his dedication to Bridgewater College since 1990, organizing and fostering spiritual life on campus.

Senior Hannah McPherson was the recipient of the Bridgewater College Founder’s Award, which honors the senior who “best demonstrates the values of the College’s founder, D.C. Flory—both in and out of the classroom.” As an applied physics major, McPherson is the president of both the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Comitatus clubs, as well as a Flory Honors Program member. 

In addition to the Founder’s Day awards, the convocation is the first chance for graduating seniors to wear their cap and gown. At the start of the ceremony, seniors, master’s graduates and faculty walk into Nininger Hall and take their seats in front of the stage. 

“It was a surreal moment,” said senior Emily Nuthall. “It really helped me put into perspective that my time here is coming to a close and made me reflect on all the memories I have made here and how I will cherish them for a long time.”