Academic departments came together at the annual Student Excellence Awards to present honors to graduating students who excelled in and out of the classroom. The university also presented several campus-wide awards, continuing an institutional tradition.
Awarding of Honorary Degree
In addition to the awards traditionally given at the ceremony, an honorary bachelor of science degree was bestowed on the late Destiny Nazaire, a Daemen sophomore who passed away unexpectedly in December 2021.
The honor serves as an acknowledgment of the trajectory of Nazaire’s path at Daemen, where she studied psychology ahead of plans to enroll in graduate school – with the goal of pursuing a professional life in service to others.
Her parents, Sabrina and Patrick Nazaire, accepted the award on her behalf.
The President’s Award and Charles L Lumsden Award
Kate Urkewich won the President’s Award – and additionally, she received the the Charles L Lumsden Award during Saturday’s commencement ceremony.
The President’s Award recognizes “a graduating senior who has exemplified the university’s values, goals, and ideals as well as enhanced the Daemen community through accomplishments in scholarship, student life, and community life.”
The Charles L Lumsden Award, named after former Daemen trustee and chairman of the board, honors the senior with the highest cumulative-grade-point average in his or her graduating class.
Finishing with a perfect 4.0 grade-point average and graduating summa cumma laude, Urkewich earned a bachelor’s degree, completing a double major in history and political science and education, with a dual certification in childhood education and special education.
She was also a Trustee Scholar and has made the Dean’s List during her entire tenure at Daemen.
In nominating Urkewich for the President’s Award, her professors described her as caring, conscientious, and responsible – and as someone who sets goals high and achieves them with grace and honor.
Serving as a substitute teacher since her junior year, Urkewich has been praised for her flexibility, classroom management, and patience with students.
She also served as an academic coach at Daemen’s Learning Center, as well as treasurer and vice president of the Education Club, where she was known to be a natural leader and teacher who strived to help her students and peers reach their potential.
Mary Angela Canavan Award
Tyme Williams was presented with the Mary Angela Canavan Award – named for the second president of the institution who believed in the transformative power of education.
The award is given to a graduating senior who has made significant contributions to student life at the university.
Williams, who earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology, served as vice president of the Student Government Association (SGA) and as president of the Black Student Union during her four years at Daemen. She also served as a resident assistant (RA), worked in the Student Affairs Department, and was an active member of the Psychological Sciences Student Association.
According to those who nominated Williams for the prestigious award, her service to fellow students centered around promoting inclusivity among students, as well as her motivation to help incoming classes of undergraduates.