Department Student and Faculty Member Honored at Graduation
The University of Mary Washington presented its top honors during commencement ceremonies Friday, May 11, and Saturday, May 12. Kendall M. Parker of Fredericksburg received the Colgate W. Darden Jr. Award, which is presented to the student with the highest grade-point average (GPA) in the four-year undergraduate program. Parker finished with a 3.99 GPA. Robert Barr, associate professor of political science, received the Grellet C. Simpson Award, the institution’s most prestigious annual award for excellence in undergraduate teaching. The recipient is routinely a senior member of the faculty.
Political Science Major Kendall Parker finished her undergraduate career with all A’s, including one A-minus. “I do know it wasn’t a course in her major, where she ended with a perfect 4.0 grade point,” said Provost Nina Mikhalevsky, who recognized Parker with the prestigious award. A political science major with a minor in business administration, Parker earned an honorable mention in a national undergraduate paper competition. She is a member of the national senior honor society Mortar Board; the national political honorary society Pi Sigma Alpha; and the national collegiate athletic honor society Chi Alpha Sigma. An exceptional player on the UMW basketball team, she set a school record for the number of three-pointers made in a single game. “As her thesis advisor put it, she’s not just good in one area: she’s an outstanding scholar, an accomplished athlete, and a wonderful person,” said Mikhalevsky who described Parker as a “triple threat.”
Associate Professor Robert Barr has put his students at the center of his teaching since he arrived a Mary Washington in 2005, Mikhalevsky said. Students and faculty praise him for his frank and accessible manner, and his willingness to spend hours mentoring students, challenging them to push for excellence. “While his courses are demanding, his students consistently comment on how much they are challenged and learn, how effectively he engages students in discussions, and how obvious it is that he cares about all of his students,” said Mikhalevsky, adding that students flock to him for advice. “By expressing confidence in his students, he helps them excel.” Recipient of the University’s Alumni Association Outstanding Young Faculty Member Award in 2010, Barr also received a Jepson Fellowship and a prestigious research grant from the Smith Richardson Foundation. An expert in Latin American politics, he has published numerous articles in academic journals. Barr holds a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Texas at Austin, a master’s degree in foreign affairs and a bachelor’s degree in economics with a minor in international relations from the University of Virginia.
For more information on the honors at graduation, visit: http://www.umw.edu/news/2018/05/12/umw-awards-top-honors-at-commencement/