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C-N Seniors Barker and Bell Receive Sullivan Awards

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C-N seniors Jody Barker (left) and Byron Bell were named C-N’s 2012 Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award winners in Thursday’s chapel service. The awards, which were presented by Provost Kina Mallard and President Randall O’Brien, are the highest overall awards bestowed on students by the institution.

Carson-Newman presented seniors Jody Barker and Byron Bell its Algernon Sydney Sullivan Awards during the institution’s annual honors convocation last week.

Barker, the daughter of Kingsport’s Joe and Sandy Barker, is a consumer services major and art minor who President Randall O’Brien introduced as, “filling her four years here with what seems like six of seven years of experience.” Her memberships include Kappa Omicron Nu (Family and Consumer Sciences honor society), Mortar Board, Alpha Lambda Delta (freshman honor society), and Alpha Chi Honor Society. She has been named to the Dean’s List every semester of her college career.

Barker has volunteered with the Dream Catchers Club at LifeCare of Jefferson City and the Advancement Division’s Student Ambassador Association, which recently deemed her Student Ambassador of the Year. She is part of the 757 worship and ministry group, played Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady in 2009, and is active in the Design Association, a service organization for fashion and interior design students. She has also spoken to prospective students and their families on the benefits of the Carson-Newman experience.

“Because (Jody’s) work is so exemplary, I have made an effort to document her projects as examples for future students to emulate,” praised academic advisor Dr. Stephen Huff, one of those who nominated her. He noted that he believes she will succeed, “be it in the mission field or in the design field.”

For her Honors Programs project, titled “Designing a Refuge for the Abused and Neglected in the Islands of Lake Nicaragua,” Barker planned, coordinated and oversaw the construction of a haven for children. El Albergue (The Shelter) in Puerto Asese, Granada, Nicaragua, is a multi-purpose facility that helps provide for 30 children with a host of physical, spiritual and emotional needs.

Knoxville’s Byron Bell, the son of George and Marilyn Bell is a double major in business administration and religion, with an emphasis in leadership and ethics. He was also recently honored by the Division of Student Affairs as the 2011-12 Male Student Leader of the Year.

On the football field last season, Bell had a pair of sacks in the 56-7 rout of Fayetteville State and was a preseason All-Conference defensive end. In 2010, he started 10 games, recording 42 tackles, including 10 for a loss, and 6.5 sacks for a unit that ranked second in both scoring defense and rushing defense in the South Atlantic Conference.

Last fall, Bell was one of 22 student-athletes nationally to be included on Allstate’s AFCA Good Works Team, which O’Brien said, is “because his excellence has transcended the gridiron.” The president of the C-N’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes for two years, he developed and implemented C-N Compassion to help area residents who need physical labor to accomplish tasks around home.

A tutor who helps fellow students, Bell has helped with campus beautification projects and to prepare high school students for success. Other service includes serving Thanksgiving meals to families in need and volunteering with the Luke 14 Banquet, a local carnival for special needs children.

“Byron’s one of those guys who will make a difference in this world,” said Coach Ken Sparks, for whom he played four seasons. “He’s out there winning people for the Lord. He understands what’s important and pours his heart into it.”

Following graduation, Bell will move to Atlanta where he will pursue a master of divinity degree at McAfee School of Theology of Mercer University.

The New York Southern Society established the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award in 1926 to honor an Indiana native and Manhattan attorney who was considered a living example of genteel spirit and Christian compassion. The awards, which are donated by the foundation that bears his name, are granted at 61 colleges and universities to graduating seniors, one female and one male, who “excel in high ideals of living, in fine spiritual qualities, and in generous and unselfish service to others.”

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