2005 Annual RCPD Awards Reception

June 20th, 2005

Emily Young

Over $17,000 in Scholarships Awarded at Reception

On Friday, April 22nd, the RCPD held its 21st Annual Awards and Appreciation Reception to honor both staff and students who have done exemplary work to make this program a success.

More than 75 people attended this year's reception, and even more responded. This year's event was held at a new location, the Jack Breslin Student Events Center.

The event recognizes the 2005 graduates as well as the exceptional faculty, staff, students, and volunteers honoring their top accomplishments made within the last school year. Top students are awarded scholarships in order to continue with their scholastic growth and achievements.

This year's theme was based on MSU's Sesquicentennial as well as honoring the MSU Tower Guard for all the support it has provided. Tables were decorated with a brick tied with raffia representing the Tower Guards colors, brick red and straw. This year's programs even included facts about the history of the MSU Tower Guard.

The Tower Guard is the oldest student run organization on campus. It was founded in 1932 as a service oriented group that continues to help MSU students with visual impairments. They are the only organization to hold a key to the Beaumont Tower. Members of the Tower Guard individually dedicate a yearly total of 120 hours to reading textbooks and exams. During the past year Tower Guard read and scribed over 400 exams and produced 256 textbooks in alternative formats. Each year approximately 60 to 80 sophomores are inducted into the Tower Guard to carry on the organizations tradition.

A delicious dessert bar kicked off the afternoon, followed by opening remarks from RCPD director, Michael Hudson, and a welcome from Dr. Lee June, Vice President and Assistant Provost.

This year's masters of ceremonies were Christopher Dunckle and Jon Solitro. Christopher Dunckle served as this year's Tower Guard president while Jon Solitro is a graduating senior who credits the RCPD in assisting with his academic success.

Awards, scholarships, and recognition directly followed the welcome. A total of 11 awards were presented at this year's ceremony, including multiple scholarships awarded to eight deserving students.

Awards began with presentation of the Judy K. Gentile Award presented to Mr. Tony Filippis. The award recognizes former OPHS Founder and Director and is presented to someone who assists in the advancement of students with disabilities. Mr. Filippis has helped bring about the wheel chair basketball course and has also assisted in creating the Adaptive Sports Festival which will be held this fall.

The RCPD awards were presented to two deserving students, Sarah Swistak and Karey Osadchuk. These two women continuously try to better their education and continue to display the resourcefulness, commitment, perseverance, and dedication in order to succeed.

The Student Leadership Award was given to Jennifer Marshall, co-president of BIG and RCPD employee. Specialist Virginia Walker presented the award remarking on all of her hard work. Not only does Jennifer maintain a high GPA she also serves on the Council for Students with Disabilities.

Following the Student Leadership Award, three scholarships were given out to eight deserving students. Haley Cole was awarded the Anita Giampalmi Scholarship for a remarkable fourth year in a row. Graduate students, Daniel Furton and Melinda Haus were awarded the Robert L. Decker & Benjamin Muns Friendship Memorial Scholarship.

Jennifer Marshall, Shannon Miller, Renee O'Connell, Piotr Pasik, and Sarah Swistak were awarded with the Samaritan Foundation Scholarships, presented by Judy DeLapa. Many of these students plan on using the funds on activities such as study abroad.

Once the scholarships were presented, some of the deserving staff and faculty were presented with their awards. The awards were given to those who not only assist in improving student's education, but also with aiding those students with disabilities. This year's outstanding staff and faculty awards were presented to Dr. Charles Ballard and Dr. Erik Goodman.

Awards were concluded with the Outstanding Volunteer Organization Award which was presented to the Tower Guard.

Shortly after the awards the graduating seniors were recognized. The afternoon drew to a close concluding the recognition, however, people continued to mingle and enjoy desserts before leaving. The awards ceremony ran very smoothly and was a great way to draw a close to yet another successful year for the RCPD.