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College celebrates students, faculty at Honors Convocation

Bridget Feeney | Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Three Saint Mary’s College professors and one student earned awards of distinction at the College’s annual Honors Convocation on May 6.

Junior Carla Leal was presented with the St. Catherine Medal, an award celebrating the patron saint of scholars, namely female scholars. The College awards the honor each year to a sophomore or junior who has demonstrated a strong commitment to scholarship and personal excellence through contributions to Saint Mary’s, civic organizations and the community in the spirit of Christian leadership.

Nominated by peers, professors and faculty from Saint Mary’s, Leal earned the medal for her 1,200 hours of service and volunteer work to the South Bend community, according to a press release from the College.

Two awards honored three professors for their work in various departments and organizations on campus based on nominations from students, faculty and staff at Saint Mary’s.

Susan Vance, professor of business law and accounting, and Joseph Incandela, associate dean of faculty and professor of religious studies, were both presented with the Spes Unica Award.

Established to recognize a faculty member for exceptional service to Saint Mary’s, the Spes Unica Award acknowledges the contributions of honorees to the College in the areas of service, creative activities and scholarship and teaching.

The College honored Vance for her more than 30 years of dedication to Saint Mary’s. Saint Mary’s also recognized Vance forrfounding the Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative (WEI), a program designed by the college to mentor, prepare and assist community women in their business endeavors.

Incandela also received the Spes Unica award for his work and dedication to his department including the development of the Sophia Program in Liberal Learning, a new general education program at Saint Mary’s that will begin this fall. William Svelmoe, professor and chair of the Department of History, received the Maria Pieta Award in recognition of his engaging lessons and memorable class discussions

Established in 1976 in honor of a former Saint Mary’s teacher and administrator, The Maria Pieta Award is given to a professor who has demonstrated exemplary teaching ability in courses for first-year students and sophomores.