University honors top students at Awards Day
The University of South Carolina presented its top honors, the Algernon Sydney Sullivan and Steven N. Swanger awards, to three graduating seniors during the university’s annual Awards Day ceremony Thursday (April 15).
Meredith Ross of Spartanburg and Gurjeet Guram of Columbia received the Algernon Sydney Sullivan awards, the university’s highest honor for undergraduates. Sullivan awards are given each year to one graduating woman and one graduating man for outstanding achievements, campus leadership, exemplary character and service to the community. The award is named for the 19th-century New York lawyer and philanthropist.
Amanda Davis of Matthews, N.C., received the Swanger Award, the university’s second highest undergraduate honor. The award is named for a former president of Omicron Delta Kappa (ODK), which sponsors the university’s Awards Day. It is given to a graduating senior for exemplary leadership and for making significant contributions to the Carolina community.
The university also presented more than 300 awards recognizing undergraduate academic, service, athletic and leadership achievements.
Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award
Andrea Meredith Ross
Meredith Ross, daughter of Scott Ross and Sandra Adams of Chicago, is a graduate of Dorman High School in Spartanburg. A member of the Dean’s and President’s list, Ross will graduate in May with a bachelor’s degree in political science.
“The people I’ve known who are older than me who won this award – to be on a list with those people means the absolute world. It’s a huge honor,” said Ross, who will join Teach for America. “These past four years have flown by but have been some of the most memorable years of my life.”
Ross has been involved in student government since entering the university and was student body president in 2009. Ross also was vice-president, student senator, a member of the Freshmen Council and a recipient of the Student Government Meritorious Award. She was a page for Sen. John Hawkins (R-Spartanburg) for three years.
She volunteered with the “Spanish Buddy” program at Claude A. Taylor Elementary School, where she mentored an 8-year old bilingual girl who couldn’t read. Ross wrote in her application for the Algernon Sydney Sullivan award that the moment that “will stand out in her mind” from her time at Carolina was when the girl finally read a book out-loud.
A member of Omicron Delta Kappa, she served on its retention and involvement committee and was honored last year as the ODK Thomas Moore Craig Leadership Award recipient. She was also active in the Presbyterian Student Association, where she was part of the Leadership Team and Women’s Bible Study. Last month, she was named a finalist for the Outstanding Woman of the Year at USC.
Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award
Gurjeet Singh Guram
Gurjeet “Jeet” Singh Guram, son of Surb and Davinder Guram of Irmo, is a graduate of Irmo High School. A 2009 Rhodes Scholar Finalist in District 12, Harry S Truman Scholarship Finalist and a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Guram will graduate in May with the most rigorous academic achievement an undergraduate can earn, the baccalaureus degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with a focus in biology, economics and political science.
"This is a tremendous honor to recognize service and other involvement," said Guram, who will be attending Harvard Medical School. "It means a lot to me, and I hope it can serve as a way of recognizing all the people who helped me get here as well."
As a sophomore, Guram founded the USC Roosevelt Institution, a student think tank that studies policy problems, drafts solutions and presents ideas to members of Congress, and designed an upper-level political science class that examined the same issues. His writings on public health policy have been published by the Heritage Foundation.
Guram has conducted research in the laboratory of Dr. Sarah Schweitzer, assisting in research clinical studies of the physiology of pain. He won first place award for his biomedical science presentation at USC’s Discovery Day and and presented two posters at a national meeting of the Society for Neuroscience.
Guram has volunteered in the intensive care unit at Palmetto Health Baptist and at a rural hospital in the Dominican Republic, where he helped design and implement a program to boost childhood immunization rates.
He is a National Merit Scholar, Lieber Scholar, Palmetto Fellow, Magellan Scholar and recipient of the Frances Chalk Carolina Scholarship.
Steven N. Swanger Award
Amanda Beth Davis
Amanda Davis, daughter of Cheryl and Roger Davis of Matthews, N.C., is a graduate of Weddington High School. A McKissick Scholarship recipient, Capstone Scholar and member of the Dean’s List for four years, she will graduate in May with a bachelor’s in English Language and Literature.
She is a member of Alpha Lambda Delta freshman honor society, National Society of Collegiate Scholars, Golden Key national honor society and Omicron Delta Kappa.
“This has been my life. My major is the university more so than my studies,” said Davis who will join Teach for America. An English major, she said working for The Daily Gamecock “took over my life. I’m in there 24-7. I tell people it’s my major.”
She has worked at the Daily Gamecock as columnist, copy desk chief, viewpoints editor, managing editor and editor-in-chief. She wrote in her Swanger award application, “I devote more hours than I probably should in my office managing, editing and communicating with students, leaders, staff and organizations to better inform and correspond with the campus.”
She also is a member of the Student Alumni Association, Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority, the steering committee for Cocky’s Reading Express, and volunteers for Habitat for Humanity.