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Graduate Honored for Leadership

May 23, 2003

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Jennifer Cole has made her mark on Mercer University.

A recent graduate of the College of Liberal Arts, Cole received the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award at Mercer's commencement on May 11. Each year, the award recognizes the graduating student who best exemplifies excellence in character, leadership, service to the community and a commitment to spiritual values.

The award was established by The New York Southern Society in 1925, and at Mercer in 1926, in memory of Sullivan, a great humanitarian and philanthropist.

"Knowing the tradition of this award, it is an honor to be named the recipient of the Algernon Sydney Sullivan medallion," Cole said.

A double major in Christianity and mathematics, Cole graduated summa cum laude. Outside the classroom, she shaped campus worship by helping create Ministry in Action (MIA), a group bringing Mercer students into area churches for service and worship leadership.

Her involvement in establishing both Vocational Opportunities in Christian Service (VOICE) and Women Interested in Christian Service (WICS) has also helped students combine their spiritual and intellectual interests.

"In my Christianity classes, I found that community is something very important," said Cole of Columbus, Ga. "It inspired me, and I saw the opportunity to develop that sense of community at Mercer and outside Mercer for myself and for others."

Cole's passion for community leadership and faith has repeatedly been recognized by awards given in the tradition of legendary Mercerians. At the honors convocation this year, Cole was awarded both the Adiel Sherwood Outstanding Senior Award and the Jesse Mercer Biblical Scholarship Award. She was also named a Roberts Scholar by the Christianity Department for exceptional work on her senior thesis.

"Jennifer will not wilt in the company of such greatness. Like Mercer, Sherwood and Roberts, Jennifer dreams about, works toward and gives of herself to things that matter," said Dr. Richard Wilson, professor of Christianity. "Her vision, energy and commitments are evident in all that she has done at Mercer."

Cole will continue her theological studies in the Master of Theological Studies program at Duke University this fall.