May 28, 2022

Susquehanna University announced awards for valedictorian and outstanding seniors in the Class of 2022, as well as faculty awards for teaching, research and advising.

The awards and recognitions were announced at the university’s 164th commencement.


The Class of 2022 valedictorians, who are selected solely on cumulative GPA at Susquehanna, were named as follows:

Outstanding Seniors

The Susquehanna University Alumni Association’s Outstanding Senior Awards are presented to graduating seniors who exemplify Susquehanna’s traditions of achievement, leadership and service.

This year’s awardees are Kiara Bryant from Coplay, Pennsylvania, who earned a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing and a Bachelor of Arts in communications with a focus in advertising and marketing; and Marcellus Martin from Willow Grove, Pennsylvania, who earned a Bachelor of Arts in business administration.

Bryant was involved in numerous community service activities as part of the softball program. Her nominator and coach, Brad Posner, said, “As the only person of color on the softball team, Kiara has taught our team about diversity in discussions with her teammates and with her presence, and has led discussions on diversity within her orchestra. She has been an activist outside of Susquehanna, and represents herself and Susquehanna in extraordinary fashion.”

Martin spearheaded a Spring Break leadership retreat focused on embracing differences, which included developing curriculum, facilitator guides and team builders as well as managing logistics. A two-time award winner in the House of Hawks innovation challenge, he has shared his knowledge about starting your own business with over 100 students in a local career and technical education center.

His nominator, Michaeline Shuman, assistant provost of post-graduate outcomes and civic engagement, said, “Through his leadership roles in the Black Student Union and as a member of the football team, Marcellus has served others. He also was part of a service trip to restore homes damaged by a hurricane in Florida. Time and time again, I see Marcellus positively contribute to our campus and local community.”

Special Professorship Bestowed Upon Biology Professor David Richard

A special recognition was bestowed upon David Richard, naming him Presidential Professor of Biology in honor of his tireless efforts to lead Susquehanna successfully through the Covid-19 pandemic.

University President Jonathan Green listed the ways in which Susquehanna kept students safe and on campus as much as possible during the pandemic — including wastewater testing, advanced air handling, capacity calculations for indoor spaces and staggered returns to campus.

“Behind all of those calculations and measurements was Dr. David Richard,” Green said. “We are all so grateful for Dr. Richard’s efforts to keep us safe.”

Faculty Awards in Advising, Scholarship and Teaching

Faculty awards were given to Emma Fleck, chair and associate professor of marketing and management, and Shari Jacobson, associate professor of anthropology, the Lawrence A. Lemons Distinguished Academic Advising Award; Martina Kolb, associate professor of German studies, the John C. Horn Award for Distinguished Scholarship and Creative Activity; and Richard, presidential professor of biology, the Donald D. Housley Teaching Award.

Lawrence A. Lemons Distinguished Academic Advising Award

Fleck’s nominators described her as an exceptionally good advisor who has been instrumental in helping other faculty in the Sigmund Weis School of Business improve their advising. Junior colleagues noted that Fleck invites them to join her during her advising sessions so they can better understand the advising process.

“Her advisees often double major in an area outside her school, and she has made extensive efforts to understand those programs,” one colleague noted. “In other words, she not only seeks to understand and promote her own programs, but also those that will benefit her students.”

Fleck earned her bachelor’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Ulster, Northern Ireland, and joined the faculty at Susquehanna in 2016. She also leads the entrepreneurship and innovation minor program.

Jacobson is described as an advisor who not only offers careful and supportive advising for her assigned advisees but has also gone above and beyond standard efforts to work with students facing difficult and demanding circumstances.

“Her tireless efforts during the early months of the pandemic included, but were not limited to, creating a virtual community to respond to feelings of isolation that also functioned as a discussion space for carefully thinking through and discussing the changes unfolding across the country,” one nominator noted. “As an advisor, she encourages self-reliance, responsible decision-making and goal- and priority-setting for her advisees.”

Jacobson joined the faculty at Susquehanna in 2000. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Grinnell College, Iowa, followed by a Master of Education from Harvard University, and another master’s degree and doctorate from Stanford University.

John C. Horn Award for Distinguished Scholarship and Creative Activity

Kolb is a prolific scholar whose work is presented and published internationally. Her first book, Nietzsche, Freud, Benn and the Azure Spell of Liguria, was published in 2013 by the University of Toronto Press. Her most recent work enriches the literature on medical humanities through a significant epistemological break where philology and psychology provide the tools to examine the expressions of pain in the liminal space between body and soul.

One nominator described Kolb’s research as “setting new standards of quantity and quality, mainly because of the international and interdisciplinary nature of her research.”

Kolb earned her postsecondary degree from the University of Tübingen, Germany. She went on to earn a master’s degree from the University of Oregon, and a Master of Philosophy and doctorate from Yale University. She joined the faculty at Susquehanna in 2015. She serves as associate director of the Honors Program and has supported two students who went on to receive the prestigious Fulbright U.S. English Teaching Assistant award.

Donald D. Housley Teaching Award

Richard was described by his nominators as one who “has long had a reputation amongst our students for being one of the most rigorous professors in the department, but also for providing students with the tools they need to rise to his expectations.

“Students learn that they are capable of achieving higher standards than they ever thought possible,” one colleague said.

His nominators said Richard has long been a leader in the university’s efforts to prepare students for their roles in an increasingly global society. Richard’s study-abroad program to Australia is credited with laying important foundational work for the development of Susquehanna’s nationally recognized Global Opportunities program.

Richard joined the faculty at Susquehanna in 1993. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Stirling, Scotland. He went on to earn his master’s degree from the University of Dundee, Scotland, and his doctorate from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. Richard serves as director of the GO Short programs Focus Australia and Sherpa Life and Culture, as well as the university’s Covid response coordinator.