Rhodes Names Palopoli '20, Tameez '20, and Howard '72 Sullivan Award Recipients

Three people in a triptych
Aubrey Howard (l), Maggie Palopoli, and Saneela Tameez (r)

Rhodes has conferred the Algernon Sydney Sullivan and Mary Mildred Sullivan awards since 1890. The awards were first presented by the membership of the New York Southern Society. They recognize college students and members of the college community of noble character who have acted as humble servants to others by putting service of others before self-interest. The award is presented each year by more than 70 colleges and universities within the American South.

Rhodes bestows this award to two students and one community member annually at commencement ceremonies. The student awards were traditionally awarded to one female and one male student; but, beginning this year, the awards are open up to two students of any gender.

This year’s student awards are given to two members of the Class of 2020:

Maggie Palopoli ’20, a biology and molecular biology major and religious studies minor from Covington, LA, has dedicated her time at Rhodes to service and love for members of the community around her. As a board member for the Rhodes chapter of Food Recovery Network, Maggie has demonstrated her commitment to feeding the Memphis community while reducing food waste. As a former Kinney coordinator doing work with interfaith organizations in Memphis, she helped build relationships with, and expose students to, the work of many community partners in Memphis. As a Resident Assistant, she ensured the safety of other students, while serving as a source of emotional support for her residents. During her semester abroad, Maggie focused on researching how the Italian healthcare system cares for the Muslim migrant population in Bologna and how the healthcare system could be improved to treat patients more ethically in populations of varying religious and cultural backgrounds. Maggie’s peers share that her incredible compassion for everyone she meets is obvious to all who interact with her and that her kind nature shows in her commitment to the Rhodes community and to Memphis at large.  

Saneela Tameez ’20, a psychology major and political science minor from Memphis, TN, has been a strong advocate for an inclusive campus focused on the needs of Rhodes students. Her work with Muslim Student Association has helped bring awareness to issues the Muslim community faces. A member of the Class Council, she coordinated campus events including Pizza and Politics discussions, where she used her diplomatic skills to help facilitate scholarly conversations on campus. She is passionate about justice and fairness for those most vulnerable and truly cares about those around her. She has served as a Peer Assistant who has mentored new students and has gone out of her way to ensure that all students feel like Rhodes is their home. Her peers describe her as a ray of light, a role model, and an advocate in every sphere she is involved in on campus and shared that she tilted the scales of Rhodes culture to be more loving, considerate, and vocal to injustices.

The College recognizes Aubrey Howard as this year’s recipient of the Sullivan community award:

Aubrey Howard ’72 of Memphis, TN, has always made himself available to serve his alma mater.  A mentor to many Rhodes students and alumni, he has always been willing to share career and networking advice having had extensive experience in banking, commercial development, non-profit leadership and city government. Active in the Rhodes Alumni network, Aubrey served as a member of the Alumni Executive Board and the inaugural president of the Black Alumni Chapter, providing extraordinary leadership and guidance to the college in its goals to become more diverse and inclusive. He recently served as a member of the college’s 20-30-50 Planning Committee and has expanded the college’s network of support in both local and national circles. President Hass shared, “We are grateful for Aubrey Howard’s courage, resilience, energy and leadership. He has been a friend and mentor to generations of Rhodes students. His love for his alma mater is visible to all who know him.”

Recipients will be presented with their awards at an in-person commencement ceremony at a date to be determined. The Rhodes College graduating class of 2020 will be honored at a virtual celebration on Saturday, May 16, at 2 p.m. CDT. The celebration will be streamed live on rhodes.edu