U.Va. Alumni Association Grants Awards, Welcomes New Board Leadership

April 29, 2010 — Graduating student Sarah Elaine Hart, administrative assistant Patricia Birckhead DeCourcy and professor Cristina Della Coletta are the winners of this year's University of Virginia Alumni Association awards, which honor a distinguished student, employee and faculty member each year.

The association presented the three awards at its annual luncheon, held April 16 at Alumni Hall.

Ernest H. Ern Distinguished Student Award

Hart, a fourth-year student in the College of Arts & Sciences from Rockbridge Baths, received  the U.Va. Alumni Association's Ernest H. Ern Distinguished Student Award.

She will receive a degree in anthropology in May.

This annual award, established in 1966 and later named in honor of longtime University professor and administrator Ernest H. Ern, is conferred annually upon a member of the student body who has won recognition in the academic community for leadership and for his or her concern in preserving the traditions of the University. Though outstanding performance as an athlete, high scholastic standing or participation in student organizations will be taken into consideration, it is the purpose of the award to honor the student who has won the admiration of the University for significant contributions in several areas of University life and has excelled in all of them.

Patricia M. Lampkin, vice president and chief student affairs officer, presented the award to Hart. The award consists of a certificate of recognition, Life Membership in the Alumni Association and $5,000 cash.

Distinguished Service Award

DeCourcy, administrative assistant to the chair of the Department of Architectural History, received the Alumni Association's Distinguished Service Award.

This annual award was established in 1981 to recognize a member of the University community who has exhibited leadership qualities that serve as an inspiring example to his or her colleagues and other members of the University community.

Louis P. Nelson, associate professor and chair of the Department of Architectural History, presented the award to DeCourcy. The award consists of a certificate of recognition and $5,000 cash.

Distinguished Professor Award

Della Coletta, professor of Italian, in the Department of Spanish, Italian and Portuguese, received the Alumni Association's Distinguished Professor Award.

This annual award was established in 1966 to be conferred upon a member of the faculty who has, over a period of not less than 10 years, excelled as a classroom teacher, shown unusual concern for students, and made significant contributions to the life of the University. Though national recognition, eminence in research and quality of publications will not be overlooked, this award is primarily for the master teacher who has directed his or her efforts toward superior instruction and enrichment of life in the University.

The award was presented to Della Coletta by Maria-Inés Lagos, professor of Spanish and chair of the Department of Spanish, Italian and Portuguese. The award consists of a certificate of recognition and $10,000 cash.

All of the awards were funded by the Jefferson Trust, an initiative of the Alumni Association.

— By Dan Heuchert