Provost’s office celebrates student achievements


To celebrate the achievements of exceptional students from various academic backgrounds, FMU hosted the 2022 Academic Awards Program on Monday, April 11, in the Chapman Auditorium of the McNair Science Building (MSB).  

During the ceremony 56 students were awarded 75 awards, as some students received multiple awards for their accomplishments.   

“Each award is different, but usually the criteria is a 3.5 GPA and above,” Rebecca Mouzon, manager of the provost’s office, said. “Some of the awards, the criteria was a little bit different, like the scholastic achievement. That’s the award for highest GPA from graduating seniors; all seniors who have had a 4.0.”   

Most of the awards come with monetary prizes as well, depending on the donor involved. This year, the lowest monetary award was $25, and the highest monetary award was $700.   

At the beginning of the year, the provost’s office reached out to the departments at FMU for their best students. Deans and chairs have until March to determine students that have earned the awards.   

Once the student nominations had been processed, the provost’s office reached out to the students to record their information for the ceremony. The office worked closely with communications, the Foundation and the President’s office to put together the awards and ensure everything ran smoothly.  

University Provost, Peter King, presided over the awards ceremony, announcing each department and introducing different presenters for university-wide awards.   

One such award, presented by President Fred Carter, was the President’s Undergraduate Research Award given to Taylor Boatwright for her research manuscript “Water Quality Sampling in Billy Barquedier National Park and Surrounding Areas, Belize, CA,” which identified water contaminants in local water sources.   

“The student submitted this manuscript, and it was accepted for publication in the Journal of Student Research in October of 2021,” Carter said. “This work has also been accepted for presentation at numerous state and national conferences and earned an award of special merit at the Mathematical Association of America conference in March.”   

An additional university-wide award, the Pee Dee Electric Cooperative Scholars Award, was presented by a member of the organization to the student with the highest GPA who received a scholarship from them. This year, the award was presented to elementary education major Payton Russo.   

Subsequent awards after the university-wide awards were divided by department, starting with the college of liberal arts and ending with the school of health sciences.   

Several of the awards given were named after previous alumni of FMU. For example, the Thomas W. Sills Memorial Award in early childhood education was presented in memory of it’s namesake. According to the FMU website, this scholarship was established in 2000 in memory of Thomas W. Sills, who served FMU with distinction from 1980 until his death in 1998.   

As written on the Endowed Scholarships page of the FMU website, “[This is] an award for a part-time student who is employed as a teacher’s aid in the public schools and is pursuing professional teacher certification or for a student who is enrolled in the teacher education program.”   

The annual awards program presented many familiar awards to students, but one important aspect of the awards ceremony has changed since the start of COVID-19—the size.   

“The crowd size was smaller because it was ticketed,” Mouzon said. “Even though we are trying to go back to normal, we are still taking COVID-19 precautions. Each student was allowed only two guests to attend. We only invited those students that are receiving actual awards.”   

Usually, the school invites all students who are on the Dean’s List or the President’s List, but due to consideration of COVID-19, those students were not asked to attend this year.   

After the awards ceremony, the office of the President hosted a reception outside for all of the students, families and faculty in attendance.