WVU’s top seniors honored with awards

MORGANTOWN- A West Virginia University student from Pleasants County was one of eight students receiving the Order of Augusta from the WVU Foundation.

Caroline Bailey of Belmont will graduate with degrees in political science and international studies.

The university on Friday announced students who received the Order of Augusta and the Outstanding Senior Award from the foundation.

Three local students were named Outstanding Seniors, Cody McPherson of Parkersburg, Sara Rhodes of Washington, W.Va., and Sarah Cordonier of Parkersburg.

The Order of Augusta recognizes a student’s superior scholarship, demonstrated leadership and record of community and public service. The award is named for its historical significance in the state as Augusta was among the original names considered by the Legislature when the state seceded from Virginia in 1863.

Bailey has been a member of the WVU Marching Band since she walked onto campus as a student and has been a rank leader since 2010. As a senior, she was named the piccolo section leader.

“Being a native West Virginian, I have always loved the Mountaineers and WVU, but attending school here has only increased my love of my state and made me grateful to soon be able to call this institution my alma mater,” she said.

She was the alumni relations officer of the Omicron Chapter of the Kappa Kappa Psi national honorary band fraternity as a sophomore. She is currently the treasurer of the organization and has also served as vice president of service. She is a member of the Collegiate 4-H Club, the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and the Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society among other honors and activities.

Bailey has gained real-world experience as a unit extension camping instructor for WVU Extension Service and through a study abroad trip to rural Tanzania.

Seven other students received the award. The others are Tonia Ahmed, Morgantown; Jessica Carr, Fairmont; Chelsea Hodgkins, Sudlersville, Md.; Surya Mannivannan, Morgantown; Miranda Miller, Morgantown; Byron Patterson, Philadelphia; and Petra Zublasing, Eppan BZ, Italy.

Twenty-six Outstanding Seniors were named.

Cordonier will graduate with degrees in journalism and international studies. She not only spent her time at WVU working in the classroom but as the downtown chair of the Resident Assistant Council. She has tried to make strides to improve dorm living for students. Cordonier has been a resident assistant since 2010.

“I’ve definitely learned that value isn’t only in the things you do but also in the people you meet,” she said of her WVU experience.

Cordonier has been a member of the Swing Dance Club and the French Club. She has gained experience as a lab assistant in the P.I. Reed School of Journalism and with WVU News. She also went to Malawi in a study abroad program.

McPherson will graduate with a degree in music education. He has been a member of many clubs and organizations in the College of Creative Arts.

He is the treasurer of the National Association for Music Education, a member of the North American Saxophone Alliance and has been a singer and conductor of the WVU Mountaineer Chorale, a member of the WVU Chamber Winds among other activities. He is also the vice president and treasurer of Campus Light Ministries.

“I know that much of this university has become embedded within my soul: a passion, a love, a desire to carry on the tradition of what it means to be a Mountaineer,” he said.

Rhodes will graduate with a degree in social work. She is the president of the Undergraduate Social Work organization of which she has been a member of since 2010. In addition, she is also the vice president of Wishmakers on Campus, an organization she helped found in 2011.

“The value in my education and the opportunities that have been made available because of the quality of education are simply phenomenal,” she said. “Spending four of the most developmental stages of my life at WVU has been nothing short of outstanding and will serve as lifelong learning.”

She also served on the Mountaineer Week committee since 2010 and has been a Collegiate 4-H Club member since 2009 alongside her duties as a Gold and Blue Ambassador.