Shenandoah University presented one of its top honors, the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award, to seniors Joselyn Mendoza ’17 and Jake Loew ’17 during the university’s commencement ceremony on May 13. The university also honored Custodial Services team member Jackie Pugh with this award on May 24.
Sullivan awards are presented each year to two graduating seniors, as well as one non-student selected from the faculty, staff or board of trustees. The awards are given to individuals of “noble character” whose “fine spiritual qualities” are “practically applied to daily living.” The awards are presented to those who go “outside the narrow circle of self-interest” and invest themselves in the well-being of others – individuals who are “constant reminders to us of those high qualities which ennoble and beautify living.”
The award was established in 1925 by the New York Southern Society, which specifies the criteria for the award should be understood as “distinct from high scholarship, athletic achievement, success in business, professional ability, political leadership or mere worldly prominence in any calling.”
Mendoza, a native of Woodbridge, Virginia, double-majored at Shenandoah and earned a Bachelor of Science in biology and a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish. She was presented with the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award because she exemplifies the Shenandoah University spirit as one who ennobles and beautifies living.
One of her nominators said, “Joselyn exemplifies the best that Shenandoah has to offer,” while another described her as “a remarkable young woman who is not only hardworking and accomplished but also compassionate and generous.”
Mendoza was surprised to learn she had won the award. “When they called my name, there was a pause because I was still registering that it was me that they had called,” she said.
“I was so excited and proud to have received the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award,” Mendoza added. “This award is not only for me, but for my family, friends, and professors who stood, helped and encouraged me through my journey at Shenandoah University. Finally, I thank God for giving me the opportunity to go to a great school where I grew and got the chance to explore different fields with the help of the professors. If I could go back and do it all over again, I would.”
Mendoza is well respected among both her peers and her professors. She excelled academically at Shenandoah, and worked tirelessly in helping her peers do the same as a tutor for both biology and Spanish. She helped other students to reach their academic goals and went above and beyond to help them understand material and feel confident in class.
Outside of the classroom, Mendoza has volunteered in an emergency room and with Relay For Life, Literacy Day and Stop Hunger Now. She has spoken to local high school students about the importance of continuing their education and has interned with both the Winchester Free Medical Clinic and the Mexican Consulate’s annual visit to Winchester. Recently, Mendoza has been working with students at Frederick Douglass Elementary School and their program for bilingual education.
During her time at Shenandoah, Mendoza helped start the on-campus group, Estudiantes Unidos, which helps the local Spanish community and raises awareness of the issues Spanish speakers face around the world. Mendoza was a member of the Health and Life Sciences Club, and she has been inducted into both Omicron Delta Kappa, the National Honor Society for Academics and Leadership, and Sigma Delta Pi, the National Honor Society for Academics in Spanish.
Loew, a native of Binghamton, New York, earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree. He was presented with the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award because he truly represents what Shenandoah University is about as he replicates for others the importance of being involved and embracing their role in our community.
During his time at Shenandoah, Loew served a resident assistant (RA) for three years and in his senior year, excelled in the position of head resident assistant. He was well respected by his fellow students and RA staff members because of his genuine care and concern for others. Loew did the little things like learning people’s names and finding out what they like and what they are involved in. So often, those are actually the big things that make a difference in a person’s life.
One of his nominators said, “Jake’s compassion for others and desire to help us feel connected has made a difference to the communities in which he has resided and served as a leader.”
“It was a great surprise and an honor to be recognized out of so many great people who attend Shenandoah,” said Loew. “The best part was seeing how happy it made my family and how proud they were. It was a great way to wrap up mine time here at Shenandoah.”
Loew is also a successful member of the Shenandoah University baseball team. The designated hitter served as a team captain and has twice been named first team Academic All-District V by the College Sports Information Directors of America. He was also named first team All-ODAC and ODAC Player of the Week twice this season. Loew helped Shenandoah to a 34-6 regular season record and its fourth straight finish atop the ODAC regular season standings. In total, the team won a program-record 41 games and advanced to the Mid-Atlantic Regional Championship game.
Loew has interned with Ripken Baseball in Aberdeen, Maryland, and worked as a senior camp counselor at JCC Camp in Vestal, New York. He has also served the local Winchester and Frederick County communities through his volunteer efforts at events such as Kiwanis Pancake Day, Concern Hotline Fish Fry, Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum Gala Fundraiser, Shenandoah Baseball American Red Cross Blood Drive, Winchester/Frederick County ALS Walk and Blue Ridge Fall Races.
Jackie Pugh, a resident of Winchester, Virginia, was presented with the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award because she is one who truly “ennobles and beautifies living,” who “invests themselves in the well-being of others,” and one who exemplifies the spirit of Shenandoah University. Pugh’s commitment to Shenandoah is evident not only in her work, but in her interactions with students, staff, faculty and visitors.
Pugh can often be found supporting the university’s student-athletes at their games and encouraging them in the hallways. She has often volunteered to come in on the weekends to assist the Athletics Department staff with fundraisers or events. Pugh has given of her personal time and resources to create wreaths, which she donates to the Athletics Department to sell for fundraisers.
One nominator said, “It is never out of the ordinary to come in the door and see Jackie helping a student carry their things to their car or offering them a word of advice.” She often works the football cookouts during the year, assisting the staff with decor, set-up, preparing and serving food.
Pugh works to make the Aikens Athletics Center a home away from home for the students and staff, and has gone above and beyond for the students of Shenandoah University.
“It’s so humbling to think that people actually notice the things that you’re doing,” said Pugh. “You’re just being yourself, and people notice that. When you do things, you just do them. It’s who I am.”