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University presents seniors Belcher and Gillespie with highest student honor

Carson-Newman University President Randall O’Brien, center, congratulates seniors Jared Belcher and Rachel Gillespie upon being named recipients of the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award, the highest student honor presented by the University.

Carson-Newman University President Randall O’Brien, center, congratulates seniors Jared Belcher and Rachel Gillespie upon being named recipients of the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award, the highest student honor presented by the University.

(April 10, 2014)– Carson-Newman University presented its Algernon Sydney Sullivan Awards to seniors Jared Belcher and Rachel Gillespie during the institution’s annual Honors Convocation on April 10. The awards are the highest honors presented to Carson-Newman students.

The awards 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.”

Belcher, who has pursued an accounting major with a social entrepreneurship minor, also has interests in filmmaking.

He directed and served as lead cinematographer for the feature-length film, “Refuge: Children of the Trash,” which serves to elevate the plight of children living in poverty in Cebu, Philippines. The film has generated more than $10,000 in donations for Rescue Ministries, which is featured in the film.

The Jefferson City native is the son of Jim and Tammy Belcher. As a Bonner Scholar, Belcher has completed more than 1,500 hours of service.

He has used his film talent and social media savvy to serve as director of film and design for Morristown’s Arrowhead Church and to help various non-profits.

Gillespie, a double major in both religion and human services, is the current president of the Student Ambassador Association and is a member of the prestigious honor society Mortar Board as well as Theta Kappa Alpha.

The daughter of David and Barbara Gillespie of Louisville, she has served as Baptist Collegiate Ministries’ Missions Team chair, been involved in its Seed Company Praise and Worship Band, and has served on mission trips from Alaska to Bulgaria, and Chattanooga to New York.

Gillespie plans to attend seminary, pursuing master’s degrees in religion and social work.

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