Annelise Madison of Roca, Neb., and Alvin Thomas of Skokie, Ill., seniors at Washington and Lee University, have been awarded the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Medallion, the university's highest student honor.
The award, made annually since 1927 by a vote of the faculty, recognizes a graduating woman and man who best demonstrate high ideals of living, spiritual qualities and generous service to others.
Washington and Lee President Kenneth P. Ruscio presented Madison and Thomas with the medallions May 21 at the 2014 Baccalaureate Service. Founded in 1749, the university's 227th Commencement will be held May 22.
Madison and Thomas both attended W&L as a Johnson Scholars, receiving full merit scholarships and $7,000 summer experience grants awarded to approximately 10 percent of the incoming class.
Madison, a politics major, plans to teach and coach in San Antonio, Texas, through Teach for America and is considering missionary work abroad. She is a past recipient of the university's Pinney Prize, which goes to the undergraduate who demonstrates extraordinary commitment to personal scholarship and the nurturing of intellectual life at Washington and Lee. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Omicron Delta Kappa and the Reformed University Fellowship.
The recipient of a Johnson Opportunity Grant from the university, Madison spent summer 2012 in Africa as a volunteer at the Ghana Alliance for Community Transformation, teaching math, English, science and computer skills at a primary school. In summer 2013, she worked as an intern at the Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution at James Madison's Montpelier in Orange, Va. She is captain of the university's track and field and cross-country teams and three times has received an All-Old Dominion Athletic Conference Athlete of the Year award.
Thomas, a chemistry-engineering major and poverty and human capabilities minor, plans postgraduate study in public health at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. He is president of Washington and Lee's Omicron Delta Kappa chapter and a leader in several campus volunteer service organizations. He is a senior class representative on the Executive Committee, the chief agency of student government, which administers the Honor System, allocates the student budget, conducts student body elections, and appoints students to a number of University committees.
Thomas received a Johnson Opportunity Grant to spend summer 2013 at Engineering World Health in Rwanda. He is the founder of the campus Robotics Club and won a $2,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to introduce local middle school students robotics, electronics, computer science and engineering design.