Ninety years after Union celebrated its first Prize Day, members of the campus community gathered in Memorial Chapel Saturday to honor students for achievement in academics, leadership and community service.
A total of 112 prizes were awarded as the event returned in-person after the pandemic forced the ceremony to be a virtual affair in 2020 and 2021.
President David R. Harris presented the top two awards to Unglid Paul ’22 and Bethany Costello ’22.
A Posse Scholar majoring in English with a double minor in French and black feminist theory, Paul received the Josephine Daggett Prize, presented annually to a senior for conduct and character.
In recognizing Paul, Harris noted that her greatest contributions to Union have brought focus to issues of equity and equality.
She is a leader in the Office of Intercultural Affairs, where she served as a student facilitator and led various dialogue-based programs. She founded Spill the Tea, which is dedicated to creating a brave space for students, staff and faculty to share different perspectives related to diversity, equity and inclusion. She is also a leader of the Gospel Choir.
As a recipient of a Fund for Education Abroad scholarship, she lived and studied in Senegal. While there, she was a volunteer intern with the Association des Juristes Sénégalaises, a pro bono female lawyers’ organization that protects and supports children and low-income women victims of domestic violence.
In addition to the Daggett, Paul received five other awards at Prize Day.
“This student is a model of character and conduct,” Harris said. “She is an accomplished scholar and an activist who has worked tirelessly to make the campus more inclusive.”
Costello, a mechanical engineering major with a minor in energy studies and a Seward Organizing Theme minor in urban climate change mitigation, received the Frank Bailey (1885) Prize. It is awarded annually to the senior who has rendered the greatest service to the College in any field.
A passionate advocate for the environment, Costello is co-chair of U-Sustain and vice president of sustainability for Student Forum and a member of the Sustainability Committee. She is also a winner of a $25,000 Green Fee, which she used to have eight new water bottle-filling stations installed across campus to help reduce single-use plastic bottle consumption.
Last spring, she was named a Udall Scholar. Winners, who receive a $7,000 scholarship, are chosen in part for their commitment to careers in the environment, Tribal public policy, or Native health care.
She was also awarded a prestigious Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, which gives her the opportunity to spend the next year traveling to cities across Europe and Asia to volunteer with grassroots and policy-oriented organizations that are working on environmental issues.
Costello was also co-organizer of Student Efforts to Advance Sustainability NY, a conference that brought together more than 140 students from 32 campuses across the state.
“Through her leadership and example, this student has empowered others on campus and far beyond to work for positive change,” Harris said.
In addition to the Bailey, Costello received three other awards Saturday.
Other presenters at Prize Day included Michele Angrist, the Stephen J. and Diane K. Ciesinski Dean of Faculty and vice president for Academic Affairs; Fran’Cee Brown-McClure, vice president for Student Affairs and Dean of Students; Lynn Evans, class dean for Class of 2022; and Michelle Osborn, interim dean of studies.
The ceremony featured musical performances from the Japanese Drumming and Global Fusion, the African Dance Club and Diane McMullen, professor of music and College organist.
The first Prize Day was held on May 18, 1932, to complement the annual Block U Dinner for athletic achievement. The new event honored 20 seniors for their intellectual accomplishments.