Announces Winners of Awards for Service to Humanity
28, 2000 -- The University of Virginia will bestow
three Algernon Sydney Sullivan Awards at Valediction Exercises on
May 20. The annual awards, which recognize excellence of character
and service to humanity, will be presented to Annette Gibbs, a long-time
administrator who was instrumental in transforming the University
into a coeducational institution, and two graduating fourth-year
students, Leslie Williams and Pooja V. Sukhwani.
Gibbs, professor of education and director of the Center for
the Study of Higher Education at the Curry
School of Education, joined the U.Va. faculty in 1970, the first
year the University officially admitted women as undergraduates.
As associate dean of students and assistant professor of higher
education, Gibbs played a major role in smoothing the road for female
students, in ways large and small. Her distinguished career combines
teaching, research, administration and service on numerous committees
both within the University and in her profession.
a letter nominating her for the honor, a supporter wrote that as
soon as she arrived on Grounds "it was clear that Dr. Gibbs was
willing to tackle difficult and controversial issues and to stand
on the side of right despite formidable opposition." Another noted:
"She is a model of a servant-leader,' one who has done
a remarkable job for nearly 30 years in serving her school, her
students, her University and her profession with distinction."
H. Williams Jr., of Alexandria, is the living definition of
a well-rounded student. He's majoring in mechanical engineering
and is a Rodman Scholar. Last year, he won the Junior Mechanical
Engineering Chairperson's Award and this spring the Virginia
Engineering Foundation recognized him with its Outstanding Student
Award. Last fall he was nominated for a Rhodes Scholarship and inducted
into the Raven Society. In other activities, Williams has served
as a peer advisor for first-year minority students and helped found
BUCKS, Brothers United Celebrating Knowledge and Success, a service
organization designed to strengthen black male community leadership.
He also enjoys acting and was cast as Mercutio in a multicultural
version of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. He has accepted
an engineering job with the Ford Motor Co. after graduation.
talk a lot about building community at U.Va. and Les does just that,
he does it with his presence, his creativity, and, as corny as it
sounds, his love for humanity," said Sylvia Terry, associate dean
in the Office of African-American Affairs and director of the Peer
Advisors program. "Les enjoys making a difference."
V. Sukhwani, of Miami, Fla., cares deeply about people and plans
to express that caring through a career in medicine. She's
already well on her way. Sukhwani served as an emergency room technician
at the Baptist Hospital of Miami in the summer of 1998 and the next
summer worked as a liaison with parents and children from low-income
households for the University of Miami's Pediatric Mobile Clinic.
She also served as a cabin counselor for the Boggy Creek Gang Camp
in Eustis, Fla., a summer camp for chronically ill children. In
Charlottesville, she co-founded the March of Dimes Collegiate Council
to promote that organization's mission of raising funds to
prevent birth defects and helped organize the recent National Bioethics
Conference, which U.Va. students hosted. Supplementing her course
work -- a major in bioethics and a minor in biology -- Sukhwani
is currently serving as an ethics intern with the U.Va. Teen Health
Center and as a research assistant for the Institute for Practical
Ethics. She has deferred her acceptance into Tulane University Medical
School for a year to spend some time on service projects, including
helping children in the Dominican Republic learn to read.
faculty and administrators express their amazement at and admiration
for all that Pooja Sukhwani does to help others, both individually
and in organizations, and the wonderful, caring spirit in which
she does it," said Jim Childress, the Edwin B. Kyle Professor of
and Professor of Medical Education. "She does so much but always
with a smile and a sense of joy that is infectious. As one student
put it, Pooja 'has a heart of gold and a dedication to all that
she is involved with,' and she invests her time, energy and leadership
in various organizations because she truly cares about what
they stand for and wants to help them achieve all that they are
capable of achieving.'"
Algernon Sydney Sullivan awards were established by the New York
Southern Society in 1925 to honor its first president. The awards
are presented annually at U.Va. and at about a dozen other universities
in the United States to two undergraduate degree candidates, a man
and a woman, and a member of the university community. Recipients
receive medallions, certificates and books on Algernon Sydney Sullivan.
more information about Annette Gibbs, call Christina Mingle, graduate
student and member of the selection committee, at (804) 245-5122.
For more information about Les Williams, call Sylvia Terry, associate
dean and selection committee member, at (804) 924-7923. For more
information about Pooja Sukhwani, call Jim Childress, professor
of religious studies and head of the selection committee, at (804)
Charlotte Crystal, (804) 924-6858