LC in History: Celebrating Students

Dr. Clifton W. Potter Jr., Staff Writer~

Two events mark the beginning of the end of the academic session, the Student Scholar Showcase and the Academic Awards Banquet.  This year they both occurred last week, the former on Wednesday and the latter on Friday. A month from now we shall be in the midst of graduation weekend; where does the time go?

Last week both students and faculty were able to enjoy the 18th annual Student Scholar Showcase because there were no classes. Those persons who were responsible for organizing this wonderful activity have my sincere admiration. However, this experience reminds me of what I learned of a similar annual affair which occurred before I entered Lynchburg College.

In the years after World War II, each spring there was a Campus Day when classes were canceled and students and faculty devoted the hours from dawn to dusk to the completion of a task which benefitted either the campus or the immediate neighborhood. Dr. Riley B. Montgomery who was the president of LC from 1936 until 1949, was very service-minded, and Dr. Orville Wake who followed him as president was likewise interested in activities which involved the entire campus community. Unfortunately, the faculty felt that class time was too precious to devote to projects which could be completed on weekends and during the summer months when there was plenty of free time available. In the years that followed the termination of Campus Day, service projects were conceived and finished, but they were never on the scale of those of earlier years. I should like to offer my own opinion that the Student Scholar Showcase is perhaps a better use of a free day in early spring.  

Two days later, many of us gathered in the Burton Student Center Dining Hall to celebrate academic excellence at the 44th  annual Academic Awards Banquet.

For years we honored the accomplishments of our athletes with a banquet each spring, but there was no similar event for those students who had achieved distinction in their respective majors. In the fall of 1973, I met with Dean James A. Huston to present him with a plan for an academic awards banquet to be held in April 1974. He approved the idea and assigned the funds to make it possible. A committee of faculty members was assembled and we began our work. The first banquet was a complete success, and the rest is history.  

During the early years of the banquet, the featured speaker was an outstanding alumnus or alumna. With the establishment of the Sommerville Scholarship, it was decided that the Academic Awards Banquet would be an excellent time to showcase the talents of those students so honored. The most recent addition to this day of days is the announcement of the recipients of two faculty awards— the Shirley E. Rosser Award for Teaching Excellence and the Thomas C. Allen Award for Excellence in Advising.  These are the two faculty awards which are based on student nominations. Now let us look forward to the 45th edition of the Academic Awards Banquet; it will be here before we know it!