Honoring the best of Capitol scholars

Each spring, as the college edges closer to Commencement and the conferring of degrees, family members and friends of Capitol students, along with esteemed faculty and staff members, gather together to recognize the hard work and academic achievements of the best and the brightest of Capitol scholars during the 2009-2010 academic year.

On Thursday, March 25, 2010, the annual Honors Convocation recognized dean’s list students, Space Operations Institute special awards, scholarship recipients and several academic honor society awards. This year, 134 students on the dean’s list, 15 honor society inductees, 16 Space Operations Institute award recipients, and over 100 scholarship recipients were honored at the convocation for their continued commitment to excellence.

The Convocation’s guest speaker, Capitol’s own Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Vic Maconachy, engaged graduates and challenged them to find the “high ground” – that is, becoming technical leaders.

“What is a technical leader?” Dr. Maconachy asked. “These are leaders who are needed to envision innovation and spark enthusiasm for needed research and investment. They arise, often out of necessity, with either ascribed or delegated responsibilities. Their ability to act on those visions and innovations vary from company to company. And, regardless of how empowered those leaders are they are fundamentally people who, through their technical prowess and communication skills, are able to influence the course of investment by corporate America. They are the true strategic thinkers for the future. That sounds like the high ground to me.”

In addition, those students awarded with scholarships and some of the college’s highest honors were recognized on Wednesday, March 30, 2010 at the annual Scholarship Appreciation Breakfast, an event welcoming all of those benefactors and supporters behind the scholarships that not only help students pay for tuition, but also support them as they focus their attention on achieving excellence in their course of study.

This year, Capitol welcomed as speakers a pair of Avrum Gudelsky Memorial Scholarship recipients, the highest academic honor the college confers; esteemed alumnus Dwight Yoder ‘86, the deputy program manager at MEI Technologies, Inc. and Nyssa Jones ‘10, senior electrical engineering major and 2009 recipient.

“I like to think of life as a three-legged stool,” said Yoder as he spoke to students about their future careers. “The first leg of your stool should be your family and friends, the second should be your hobbies, and the third leg represents the career you’ll have that produces the money to support the other two items. Without careful balance of all three legs, your stool will start to wobble or fall over.”

Both Jones and Yoder also thanked the donors and faculty, “…many of whom have worked in industry and that maybe makes them just a little bit better than most,” said Yoder.

“With 80 percent of our students receiving financial aid and scholarships, it’s important to honor those scholarship recipients who represent our esteemed, academically talented student body,” said President Wood. “Taking the time to highlight their successes is a motivation for them and for everyone involved in their education.”