Celebrating student achievement at annual McDonogh Network Spring Celebration · News · Lafayette College

Celebrating student achievement at annual McDonogh Network Spring Celebration · News · Lafayette College

Annual McDonogh Network Spring Celebration honors academic and student excellence

By Jill Spotz

A group of student stand together holding their awards.

The air in Pfenning Alumni Center was filled with joy on Saturday, April 27 as faculty, staff, and alumni converged to champion students and their successes at the annual McDonogh Network Spring Celebration. To the smooth melodies of the student ensemble Sold Out Six, attendees shared camaraderie and support. President Nicole Hurd spoke about the value of community and applauded the dedication of both students and supporters who fuel Lafayette’s spirit of excellence as she kicked off the event. Hurd also acknowledged the hard work and dedication of students who excel in the classroom and in their extracurricular activities. 

“I am so proud of our students because every day you excel in your endeavors,” said Hurd during her remarks. “You pursue excellence in ways that make me honored to be here with you. So thank you for being who you are. It is an inspiration to witness your journeys and see your impact on our community.”

Ernest Jeffries, Lafayette’s first vice president for inclusion, who joined the College in January, shared sentiments about his time at the College before the awards presentation.

“I am enthused about the job that’s before us, and I would like to express my eagerness today for the opportunity to collaborate with and work alongside the McDonough Network,” said Jeffries during his remarks. “We applaud you today because you all have set an example for the students who will follow you. As we look forward, because I’m always looking forward, I want you all to know that our commitment is unwavering in supporting the [McDonogh] Network’s growth, and ensuring the Network’s vibrant presence in the lives of our Black student population here at Lafayette. It’s important, it’s important to them. It’s important to us, to have you engage, to be able to feel your presence and your influence here. And as we move forward together, we aim to build on those strong foundations that you all have set, enhancing the resources and the opportunities available to our students.”

Attendees enjoyed a beautiful rendition of Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror” by Virginia Sacotingo ’25 before being honored for their academic achievements and dedication to promoting diversity at the College.

Karina Fuentes, associate director of intercultural development, presented the 2024 McDonogh Awards to the following students:

Makayla Andrews ’24 (women’s basketball), Semaj Cross ’25 (football), Tristen Roundtree ’25 (football) – Otis Ellis ’89 Scholar Athlete Award 

Jermaine Grant ’25 – Darlyne Bailey ’74 Excellence in the Humanities and Social Sciences Award 

Matthew Moise ’24 – Dr. Eugene DeLoatch ’59 Excellence in Science and Engineering Award 

Jayson Genao ’27, Maya Maynard ’27, Emma Patmon ’27, Shaykeen Rose ’27 – Dr. Eugene DeLoatch ’59 First-Year Academic Achievement Award 

For the first time in the history of the Dr. Eugene DeLoatch ’59 First-Year Academic Achievement Award, four students qualified with a 4.0 GPA.

Yanina Chicas ’26, Ani Brutus ’26, Teo Rodriguez ’24 – Riley Temple ’71 Creative and Artistic Citizenship Award 

Ashley King ’24, Ruben Hernandez ’24 – Leroy Nunery ’77 Intellectual Citizenship Award

Jamal McIntosh ’24, Sidharth Mahadeo ’26 – Jeffrey Robinson ’80 Leadership Award

Shahking Gomez ’25, Ariana Welch ’26 – David A. Portlock Cross-Cultural Relations Award

The ceremony was followed by a networking event at the Portlock Black Cultural Center. 

View additional photos from the event on Flikr.

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