Student Affairs Awards Celebrate Outstanding Undergraduates

April 26, 2021


  • Sara McGuire, a senior sport management major from Denver Colorado, was given the Mary Mildred Sullivan Award.
  • Jordan Linnen of Columbia, South Carolina, was presented the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award.

ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA – An activist leader with the Student Athlete Advisory Committee and a business administration major captured top honors at the 2021 Winthrop University Student Affairs Awards ceremony on April 21 at the DiGiorgio Campus Center.

Sara McGuire, a senior sport management major from Denver Colorado, was given the Mary Mildred Sullivan Award. A member of the lacrosse team and president of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee, she helped provide programming, support and feedback to the athletic department. McGuire has been a champion for mental health awareness and sexual assault prevention, having organized numerous campus-wide programs. 

Jordan Linnen, an international business major from Columbia, South Carolina, was presented the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award. The senior has been involved with Dinkins Student Union for more than three years. Known as a gentleman of upstanding character and integrity, he is a leader who supports others and thinks about their well-being. His initiatives included establishing “Motivational Mondays” messages where he sent encouraging quotes, messages and reflections to members to keep their spirits high.  He also created DSU bonding nights, showed boundless support for the DSU members before, during and after their activities and advanced the “DSU Cares” initiative where he solicited donations to give to refugees in need. 

The April 21 ceremony was sponsored by the Division of Student Affairs. Various staff members and Shelia Burkhalter, vice president for student affairs, presented the awards.

The prestigious American Legion Award was given to Yashuri Del Rosario Rodriguez, a senior mass communication and French major from Spartanburg, South Carolina. She grew up as a translator for people in her community, ensuring that they were able to make informed decisions about their lives. As a resident assistant, Rodriguez is compassionate, an emotionally intelligent leader, and counted on by her residents and teammates. She will continue her education in graduate school.

Merilyn Palmer, a senior biochemistry major from Orangeburg, South Carolina, was recognized with the Gloria Godfrey Jones Outstanding Tutor Award for showing intelligence, understanding and thoughtfulness as she tutored chemistry students in the Academic Success Center. Described as a superb veteran tutor, she is active with the Council of Student Leaders and NAACP. She also founded an organization called Minorities who are Astonishingly Driven Scientists.

The Outstanding Student Organization Award went to the Xi Phi Chapter of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, who created both in-person and virtual events for the campus community. These included a voter registration drive, a give back to custodial workers, a stroll competition, a canned food drive, putting together a MLK Week of Service video, among others.

NAACP’s #SayTheirNames Event won the Outstanding Student Program Organization Award. The college NAACP chapter planned an event where Winthrop and the Rock Hill community could honor and highlight the many African-American lives lost due to police brutality. They teamed up with a talented painter, Autumn Jackson, who created a beautiful mural with the names of the men and women who lost their lives. The cloth mural displayed outside of DiGiorgio Campus Center in February.  

Additional awards given were:

The Diversity and Student Engagement Award: Aaliyah Bond, a counseling and development major, who has a commitment to creating a culture of inclusion.

Exemplary Service by an Individual: Tatianna Davis, a senior mass communication major who has completed more than 80 hours of community service as a media intern, editor for the Roddey McMillan Record, Winthrop Ambassador and with Pilgrims’ Inn, Tender Hearts Ministries, among other organizations.

Exemplary Record of Service by a Group: Zeta Tau Alpha sorority for completing more than 240 hours of community service with a host of projects throughout the year.

Active Bystander Award: Kaci Cavin, an individualized studies major, for her quick thinking in calling campus police when she spotted a concerning incident.

College Panhellenic Council Woman of the Year: Mimi Tierney, a member of Alpha Delta Pi, and KP Freisen, a member of Delta Zeta.

National Pan-Hellenic Council Man of the Year: Brandon Ellison, a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Incorporated.

National Pan-Hellenic Council Woman of the Year: Sydney Turner, a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.

Interfraternity Council Man of Year: Danny Kilgore-Wilson, a member of Pi Kappa Phi.

Cynthia Cassens Resident Assistant of the Year Award: Courtney Smith, who has won numerous awards for her work in residence life. 

Club Sport of the Year: Archery Club for creating safe practice opportunities during the pandemic, while still able to attract new members.

Grant Scurry Dedication Award: Jarismary Polo, a senior majoring in psychology, with minors in Spanish and outdoor leadership, for her work with the Office of Recreational Services and as a West Center facility attendant and supervisor.

Wellness Advocate Award: Christopher Keck, program director of the Office of Accessibility, who promoted and advocated for wellness of the Winthrop student population.

Wellness Alliance Award: Angelo Geter, director of campus programming, who quickly mastered the art of student engagement in a virtual world with a drive-in movie, competitions, lectures and so much more. His vision supported the mental, social and intellectual health of our students and campus.

Fred Angerman Quality Staff Award: Jackie Concodora, director of health and counseling services, who has been at the forefront of almost all activity on campus in the past 13 months. Her area managed quarantine and isolation for students and managed the tracking of required COVID test reporting. She also forged great partnerships with local health agencies that have benefited Winthrop. She devoted countless hours to policy writing, mass correspondences and phone calls from many multiple stakeholders at all hours of the day and night. 

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

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