Photo Credit Jason Chan
The top student awards of 2015 were presented at the Commencement Convocation
August 31, 2015

The most prestigious of student awards were presented May 30 at the Commencement Convocation to members of the graduating Class of 2015. The top six student award winners are nominated and selected by a vote of the faculty staff. The academic/athletic awards are selected by the coaching staffs from among the 2015 members of the Cum Laude Society.

CMA Award recipients (from left): Cole Payne, Jack Surowiec, Nathan VanDeVelde, Boyao Yu

CMA Award recipients (from left): Cole Payne, Jack Surowiec, Nathan VanDeVelde, Boyao Yu


Established in 1915, the YMCA Cup is presented to the CMA cadet who best exemplifies the ideals of Culver. The recipient was Cole Payne (Culver), who is attending Wabash College on a Lilly Scholarship. He is the son of Jeffrey and Amber Payne.

Jack Surowiec (Louisville, Ky.) was awarded the Van Zandt Key. The Van Zandt Key is presented to the first-classman who has increased an awareness of moral and spiritual values among the Corps of Cadets. Surowiec is playing junior hockey this year. He is the son of Paul and Cathy Surowiec.

The McDonald Award goes to the first-classman who, by his individual work, example, and inspiration, has contributed materially to the betterment of cultural life at Culver. The 2015 honoree was Nathan VanDeVelde, son of Nancy VanDeVelde of Raleigh, N.C. He will study art at Bath Spa University in the United Kingdom.

The Chambers Award recognizes the first-class cadet who has distinguished himself with a combination of excellence in scholarship and athletics. The award was established in memory of Cal C. Chamber, a 1908 alumnus. Recipient Boyao Yu of Shanghai, China, is the son of Yeming Yu and Dongtong Chen. He continues his education at Carnegie Mellon University.

CGA Award recipients (from left): Erin Luck, Erin Thomas, Hayne Bae, Grace Holzer

CGA Award recipients (from left): Erin Luck, Erin Thomas, Hayne Bae, Grace Holzer


The most coveted senior award in Culver Girls Academy, the Superintendents Bowl, was awarded to Erin Luck (LaPorte, Ind.). Established in 1972, the award is presented to a CGA senior in recognition of her leadership, example, influence, and total record of achievement. She is a freshman this fall at Georgetown University. Her parents are Daniel and Patricia Luck.

Erin Thomas (Westfield, Ind.) was the recipient of the Mary Frances England Humanitarian Award. Named in honor of the founding director of Culver Academy for Girls, the award is presented to the senior who, by her acts, has revealed an exemplary concern for others. Thomas is a freshman at American University. She is the daughter of James Thomas and Dr. Nancy Frappier of Westfield.

Hayne Bae (Seoul, South Korea) was honored with the Arthur G. Hughes Award, which is presented to the senior who has revealed exceptional concern for cultural life at Culver. The award was established in 1974 by the graduates of CGA to honor the first chair of the Fine Arts Department. Her parents are Drs. Youngdeok Bae and Misook Han of Los Angeles. She matriculated at the University of California at Berkeley.

The Jane Metcalfe Culver Award recognizes the CGA senior who has distinguished herself in the classroom and on the athletic field. The 2015 recipient was Grace Holzer (Paris, Ill.), the daughter of Kenneth and Gail Holzer. She is a freshman this fall at the University of Richmond.


The valedictorian of the Class of 2015 and recipient of the Jonas Weil Award was Boyao Yu (Shanghai, China) with a 3.98 grade-point average for four years and a 4.0 his first-class year. Yu also received the Scholarship Medal as the cadet with the highest cumulative GPA during his final two years (3.96). Yu will continue his education at Carnegie Mellon University. Established by Jonas Weil ’54, the Weil Award provides a monetary award to the valedictorian and salutatorian.

With a four-year GPA of 3.96 and a 3.94 her senior year, Clare Cunningham (Richmond, Ky.) was named the salutatorian/Jonas Weil Award winner. Cunningham also received the Alfred J. Donnelly Scholastic Award for the highest academic average (3.96) her final two years at Culver. Cunningham will matriculate at the University of Notre Dame on a four-year Air Force ROTC Scholarship.

Three Hoosiers and a New York resident are studying overseas in 2015-16 with the English Speaking Union program. ESU students spend a year studying at a private schools, mostly in the United Kingdom, before entering college. Dana Brown (Granger, Ind.) will study in Yorkshire, Alexandra Jeffirs (Argos, Ind.) in West Sussex, Noah Trevino (Gary, Ind.) in Southwold. Bradley Truel II (Huntington, N.Y.) will study in Argentina as part of a special program. This is the 21st year that the Academies have been associated with the ESU.

Zachary Moffett (Liberty, Ind.) was the 2015 recipient of the Mark Todd Berger Scholarship. The scholarship is funded by Berger’s parents and brother, David ’83, and presented to the rising senior who personifies the courage, concern, pleasant nature, and positive outlook of Mark Todd Berger, who died in April 1988 of his first-class year from a congenital heart condition.

Tiffany Powell Leadership Award for 2014-15 went to Katherine Hansen (Culver). The annual recipient is a senior who has excelled in leadership, is academically strong, and involved in the campus community. Hansen is the daughter of Diane Hansen ’75, the Atrium counselor, and the granddaughter of retired math instructor Gerald Thomas. The Class of 2000 established the award in honor of Powell ’98, who died tragically in July 1999.

A dozen juniors spent six weeks of the summer overseas with the Indiana University Honors Program in Foreign Languages. As part of the total immersion program students lived with a host family and are not so speak English during their stay. Five students studied in France: Siblings Gabrielle Menard and Matthieu Menard, both of Bear, Del.; Julia Hernandez (Pueblo, Colo.), Lydia Jaqua (Hastings, Mich.), and Hallie Rauch (Evansville, Ind.). Studying in Spain were Chiara Fitzgerald (Dhahran, Saudi Arabia), Erica Sadlowski (Seven Hills, Ohio), Joshua Thompkins (Valparaiso, Ind.), and Madeleine Wildermuth (Lafayette, Ind.). Kieran Hussey (Crown Point, Ind.) and Susan Westman (Orland Park, Ill.) studied German in Austria, while Alexander Krupp (Mishawaka, Ind.) was in China.

Four graduates have received appointments to U.S. service academies for 2015-16, including three from CGA. Rebecca Gicewicz (Olympia, Wash.) is attending the U.S. Air Force Academy while Katie Salerni (Culver) and Krista Trefren (Hotchkiss, Colo.) matriculated at the U.S. Naval Academy. CMA’s Ian Murdoch (Western Springs, Ill.) received an appointment to the U.S. Military Academy.

The Silver Bowl, presented to the CMA organization having the highest academic achievement for the school year, went to Company A with a cumulative grade-point average of 3.54. Band was second with a 3.45 GPA followed by Company B at 3.42.

For CGA, the Benson Bowl for Academic Achievement went to Atrium dorm with a grade-point average of 3.61 for the school year. Ithaka had a 3.55 GPA for second followed by Tower at 3.54.

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