President’s Award Recipients Honored at Commencement

May 07, 2019


  • The five students given the President's Award are: Sarah Ondrish, Cooper Aiken, Terrell Stauffer, Blake Wallert and Casson Helms.
  • Each has plans to attend graduate school or has a professional job lined up.

ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLNA – Winthrop University President Dan Mahony announced at the May 4 undergraduate Commencements that five seniors are recipients of the President’s Award for Academic Excellence for having the highest GPA.

The president recognized Sarah Ondrish, a human nutrition major from Wake Forest, North Carolina, in the morning ceremony at Winthrop Coliseum, held for the College of Visual and Performing Arts and the College of Arts and Sciences.

Ondrish plans to pursue a career in public health, and has been accepted to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Global Health Master’s Program. She will pursue both her master’s degree and registered dietitian credential.

In the afternoon ceremony at the Coliseum, Mahony called to the stage Cooper Aiken, a business administration major from Rock Hill; Terrell Stauffer, an economics major from Turbotville, Pennsylvania, and Blake Wallert, an exercise science major from Clover.

The three participated in the ceremony for the College of Business Administration and the Richard W. Riley College of Education. Casson Helms, a business administration major from Clover, also received the President’s Award but did not attend the ceremony.

Aiken completed his business degree with a concentration in healthcare management. He served as the president of the Health Care Management Association and was a presenter as several Winthrop recruiting events on behalf of the College of Business Administration and the healthcare management program. He will attend dental school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Helms completed her business degree with a concentration in accounting. She served as a member of the College of Business Student Advisory Board and tutored for the Academic Success Center. She has been selected by Ernst and Young, one of the four largest public accounting firms in the world, for its Emerging Leaders program. She has been admitted to the Master of Accountancy program at Wake Forest University. 

Stauffer completed his economics major with a financial planning minor. He was one of five Winthrop students selected to attend the Schwab Impact Conference in Washington, D.C., where he represented the university so well that several companies invited him for interviews. He will work for Abiding Wealth Advisors, a Charlotte wealth management firm. 

Wallert played infielder for the softball team in addition to participating in campus organizations such as the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. She was named to the Big South Conference All-Academic Team. Wallert was accepted into a highly competitive Doctor of Physical Therapy graduate program and will attend the University of Florida, where she was offered a scholarship, starting in August.

For more information, contact Judy Longshaw, news and media services manager, at 803/323-2404 or e-mail her at

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