Distinguished Awards Presented to Students & Memphis Community Members at 2018 Commencement Exercises

Students at graduation

Annual awards were presented at the 169th Commencement Exercises of Rhodes College held May 12 on campus. Lisa R. Hsi was awarded the Peyton Nalle Rhodes Phi Beta Kappa Prize, which is given to the graduating senior who exemplifies the highest qualities of achievement, creativity, and commitment to the liberal arts and sciences. Memphis real estate developer Henry M. Turley Jr. received the Distinguished Service Medal.

The 2018 Algernon Sydney Sullivan Awards were presented to Hannah M. Hornsey and Andrew H. Nguyen, and posthumously to Bernal E. Smith II, Memphis civic leader and publisher of The New Tri-State Defender. The awards are presented annually to two graduating seniors (one male and one female) and one non-student who have given selflessly to others and the college.

Algernon Sydney Sullivan Awards

Hannah M. Hornsey is an English major from Jonesborough, TN. Her time at Rhodes has been marked by meaningful involvement both on campus and in the greater Memphis community. She served as an intern at the Shelby County Public Defender’s Office and as the executive director of The Bridge street newspaper, which employs people with experiences of homelessness. One nominator said, “Hannah never forgets what matters most. Whether it’s personally delivering newspapers to a vendor or spending long hours editing the paper, she’s always willing to go out of her way to contribute to the success of The Bridge.” On campus, Hornsey served as French tutor and a member of the Rhodes Mock Trial Program. She also led tours for prospective students. 

Andrew H. Nguyen, a chemistry major from Bossier City, LA, conducted research at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and with the Rhodes chemistry department faculty, and he was selected into the George Washington Medical School program his sophomore year. When Nguyen wasn’t busy with his studies, he volunteered at medical mission centers, served as a leader of the Health Professions Society and the All Students Interested in Asia student group, directed the Rhodes College Dance Company, and helped to start the dance company Origins. One nominator said, “Andy is an organizer and instigator, constantly pushing his friends, and himself, to try new things and realize their potential. His demonstrated humility, compassion, and beneficence make Andy the perfect recipient of this award.”

A member of the Rhodes Class of 1994, Bernal E. Smith II earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration and went on to pursue an MBA in global business from Union University. He served in various professional roles in the city focusing on improving the lives of Memphians, and eventually he became the president and publisher of The New Tri-State Defender. Through his articles as well as radio and television appearances, Smith often pushed for unity in a city sometimes divided. In addition, he was a founding board member of the Memphis Academy of Health Sciences, a charter school sponsored through his affiliation with 100 Black Men of Memphis. Smith also served on the Rhodes College International Alumni Board of Directors and was recognized as an Outstanding Alumnus by the Black Student Association. Smith died in 2017, and at today’s presentation, members of the Smith family were recognized.

Distinguished Service Medal

A Memphis native, Henry M. Turley Jr. founded the Henry Turley Company in 1977. He is known for his inspiring vision, which has led to areas including the Harbor Town residential and commercial center, the Uptown residential development, the South Bluffs, and Downtown Memphis’ South End with the revitalization of Central Station. His appreciation for the liberal arts—from taking courses at Rhodes’ Meeman Center to his trip to Israel and Jordan with religious studies professor Milton Moreland—and his understanding of the importance of Rhodes’ investments in community partnerships are at the core of the new Lynne and Henry Turley Memphis Center at Rhodes. He and his wife, Lynne, have been strong advocates for the college and have attended just about every lecture related to Memphis and most events hosted by the Mike Curb Institute for Music. Through their support, the Turley Memphis Center will be a place where connections between the city and the college can grow even more impactful. 

Peyton Nalle Rhodes Phi Beta Kappa Prize

Lisa R. Hsi, a psychology major from Austin, TX, recently was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa, America’s oldest collegiate honor society that champions the liberal arts and sciences. At Rhodes, Hsi was a service scholar through the Bonner Program, and she conducted research with faculty and students of the Rhodes psychology department. One professor said about her work to merge biology and psychology to guide early detection of Alzheimer’s disease, “Lisa’s creativity and scientific reasoning skills are unparalleled.” Professors also lauded her ability to master new literatures in multiple disciplines and to devise theoretically-driven, novel, and testable research ideas on her own.