Saint Vincent College announced that five seniors have been named finalists for the 45th annual President’s Award, the College’s highest student honor, presented to the member of the graduating class who best embodies the Catholic, Benedictine, liberal arts college values in its students – outstanding academic achievement, student leadership and community service.
Br. Norman W. Hipps, O.S.B., Ph.D., college president, will present the award at the spring Honors Convocation at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 24, in the Saint Vincent Basilica. In addition to the presentation of the President’s Award, an honorary doctor of laws degree will be awarded to the Hon. Maureen Lally-Green, while John M. Lally, C’77, will deliver the keynote address.
The 2019 finalists for the President’s Award are Thomas J. Kromka, an economics and mathematics double major from Monroeville; Sarah J. Malone, an English and engineering science double major, and theology and mathematics double minor, from Gibsonia; Floyd Nichols, a biology major from Pittsburgh; Benjamin W. Watt, a mathematics major and English and biology double minor from North Huntingdon; and Raylen D. Welling, an international business and marketing double major, and Spanish and operational excellence double minor, from New Sewickley.
THOMAS J. KROMKA
Kromka has been active in the Saint Vincent College Economics Club and as captain on the Bearcat men’s basketball team. In the classroom, he is a perennial Dean’s List honoree and a member of the Pu Mi Epsilon mathematics honor society. He has also been named to the Presidents’ Athletic Conference (PAC) Academic Honor Roll and was selected to the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) All-District Team. Named the 2019 PAC Player of the Year, Kromka is a three-time All-PAC selection, two-time All-Great Lakes Region selection and two-time All-Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) honoree and is one of just 33 players in Bearcat men’s basketball program history to score at least 1,000 career points. A residence assistant (prefect) in Saint Vincent’s Gerard Hall, Kromka completed an internship with Northwest Bank, while he also has a work-study position in the Saint Vincent athletic department. Following graduation, Kromka plans to pursue a career in business, and has accepted a position in Kennametal’s operations leadership program. The son of Joe and Suzanne Kromka, he is a graduate of Gateway High School and member of St. Bernadette Catholic Church in Monroeville.
SARAH J. MALONE
A member of the Honors Program at Saint Vincent College, Malone has been active in the Engineering Club, Respect Life Club and Campus Ministry, while she serves as a prefect in Wimmer Hall. She has been named to the Dean’s List in each semester at Saint Vincent, and is a member of the Alpha Chi and Alpha Lambda Delta honor societies. She was a finalist for the Fr. Ronald R. Gorka Scholarship Award, while she took first prize in the 2019 Ragan Poetry Contest with the poem “On Writing Poems, and Other Acts of Bravery.” In addition to her various clubs and honor societies, Malone holds work-study positions for the Honors Program and as an admission ambassador, while she is a tutor in both theology and writing and a research assistant for Dr. Margaret Watkins, dean of the School of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences and professor of philosophy. In the summer of 2017, she performed summer research with Dr. Paul Follansbee, professor of engineering science, before completing an internship in the summer of 2018 in the metallurgy lab at Product Evaluation Systems in Unity Township. After graduation, she will pursue a Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing and plans to pursue a career in either higher education or editing and publishing. A graduate of Saint Joseph’s High School, Malone is the daughter of Joseph and Patricia Malone, and a member of Saint Richard’s Catholic Church in Gibsonia.
Nichols has been active as a member of the Environmental Awareness Club, Women in STEM Club, and the cross country and track teams at Saint Vincent. He has been named to the Dean’s List in each semester, and is a member of the Alpha Lambda Delta and Tri-Beta honor societies, while also being selected to the Presidents’ Athletic Conference Academic Honor Roll. Nichols works as a prefect in Saint Benedict Hall, while also serving as a host in the Angelo J. Taiani Planetarium, a research assistant in the Sis and Herman Dupré Science Pavilion, a teaching assistant in astronomy, tutor for the Opportunity Program and buddy in the Bearcat B.E.S.T. (Building Excellence through Skills Training) program. In 2016, he completed a research internship in biology at Case Western Reserve University, while in 2018, he spent the summer at the University of Notre Dame performing research in biogeochemistry. Following graduation from Saint Vincent, Nichols will attend Northwestern University to pursue a graduate degree in earth and planetary science and plans to pursue a career in either scientific communication or as a college professor. The son of Raeko and Gary Nichols, he is a graduate of Taylor Allderdice High School and member of New Testament Ministries.
BENJAMIN W. WATT
Watt has been co-president of both the Respect Life Club and Math Club, and has enjoyed membership in the Student Government Association, Orientation Committee, Saint Vincent Singers, Gilbert & Sullivan Players and Campus Ministry. A Wimmer Scholar and Honors Program student, Watt has been named to the Dean’s List in each of his semesters at Saint Vincent, and has been inducted into the Pi Mu Epsilon and Alpha Lambda Delta honor societies, receiving the Maria Leonard Book Award for the latter in February 2019. He has twice studied abroad while at Saint Vincent, traveling to Haiti in March 2017 with the Office of Service Learning and to Rome in March 2019 with the Saint Vincent College Benedictine Leadership Studies program, of which he is a fellow. Watt has served as a tutor and teaching assistant for calculus, and has also worked as a summer research intern at West Penn Hospital in Pittsburgh, as a hand at Palmer’s Farm in Unity Township, and with RC WATT, a full-service electrical generator dealer. Watt has been accepted to medical school at both Penn State and Case Western Reserve University and plans to pursue a career as a primary care physician. The son of Robert and Lisa Watt, he is a member of New Life Presbyterian Church in Harrison City.
RAYLEN D. WELLING
Welling is a member of the Alpha Chi, Delta Mu Delta and Alpha Lambda Delta honor societies, and was a recipient of Alpha Lambda Delta’s 2019 Maria Leonard Book Award for outstanding academic achievement. Named to the Dean’s List in each of her semesters at Saint Vincent, she has been a prefect in St. Benedict Hall for each of the past three years, and also worked for two years as an administrative assistant in the Office of the President. She has also written for the Saint Vincent College Review, and currently works in the Alex G. McKenna School of Business and Economics, authoring and compiling the school’s newsletter and assisting with recruitment of prospective McKenna School students. In the summer of 2016, she completed an internship with EnviroTrac LTD, an environmental consulting and engineering firm in Warrendale, before interning for Kennametal’s Global Sourcing team in both its Pittsburgh and Latrobe offices during the 2017-18 year. Since June, she has worked for Westinghouse’s AP1000 Nuclear Power Plant Program, assisting with project management. In addition to her various internships and work positions, Welling spent a semester studying abroad in Spain at the University of Salamanca during its 800th anniversary celebration and while overseas, she volunteered for four hours a week teaching English to Spanish-speaking children. Following graduation, Welling will work in research services and sales for Qualtrics in Provo, Utah. She is the daughter of Ben and Helene Welling and a member of Grace Community Church in Cranberry Township.