A woman holds an award while standing between two men.

Ciara Covington receives the Outstanding University Scholar Award from President Brian O. Hemphill and Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Austin Agho. Top photo: Krista Harrell, associate vice president for alumni relations, presents a $10,000 check to Kaufman Award winner Calvin Dugger.

Mechanical engineering technology major Calvin Dugger was named the winner of the Kaufman Award, the highest honor given to a graduating Old Dominion University student, at the Student Honors and Awards Dinner on May 4.

Psychology major Ciara Covington was named the Outstanding University Scholar, and seven students received Provost’s Awards for Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher at the dinner, held in the North Cafeteria at Webb University Center.

The Kaufman Award, which comes with a $10,000 prize, was established by Landmark Communications. It recognizes graduating seniors who have had an exceptional and constructive influence on the University, its students or the community by demonstrating the highest qualities of leadership and service.

The award is named in memory of Charles Kaufman, a community leader, philanthropist and friend to ODU. Following Kaufman's example, the award winner must show sustained participation in leadership of campus or community groups, an outstanding record of volunteer activities or academic excellence, or a major achievement affecting the campus or community.

Dugger minored in engineering management at ODU. He presided over Sigma Phi Epsilon and the Interfraternity Council and served on the ODU Strategic Planning Steering Committee. From 2020 to 2022, he directed operations for Partners in Management Inc., the management division of Norfolk Urban Outreach Ministry. He works as an engineer at Canon Virginia Inc. and plans to pursue a master of business administration.

His most inspirational faculty member is Joe Ritchie.

“There are a select number of awards that allow for the opportunity to recognize another individual for their impact on the applicant,” Dugger said. “I am incredibly grateful to have the opportunity to highlight Joe Ritchie’s compassion and care that has helped me get to where I am today.”

Dugger was one of five finalists for the award. The others, listed with their most inspirational faculty members, were:

  • Second-place finisher Alicia Mand, double major in astrophysics and computer engineering; minor in computer science. Most inspirational faculty member: Justin Mason
  • Abreionah Brown, biomedical sciences major; minor in chemistry. Most inspirational faculty member: Reneldo Randall
  • Sydney Fletcher, mechanical engineering major, minor in electrical engineering technology. Most inspirational faculty member: Orlando Ayala
  • Jordan Locklear, electrical engineering major; minor in energy engineering. Most inspirational faculty member: Karina Arcaute

Covington was cited as the Outstanding University Scholar by the Alumni Association, which recognizes the undergraduate in each college with the highest academic average who will have completed at least 60 hours at the University. She was also named the outstanding scholar from the College of Sciences.

A psychology major graduating with a minor in administrative leadership and ethics, Covington plans to study industrial organizational psychology in graduate school. She praised her most inspirational faculty member, Courtney Mozo.

“Ms. Mozo is caring and supportive and does whatever is needed to make sure her students are succeeding in their endeavors,” Covington said. “Not to mention her teaching style is what made me feel confident in my academic abilities.”

The Alumni Association also named the following Outstanding College Scholars:

  • College of Arts and Letters: Michelle Fischer, double major in game studies and design, and world languages and cultures. Most inspirational faculty member: Luis Guadano
  • Strome College of Business: Leigh Epperson, marketing major; minor in accounting. Most inspirational faculty member: Mary Beth Pennington
  • Darden College of Education and Professional Studies: Ryan Crum, speech-language pathology and audiology major; minor in special education. Most inspirational faculty member: Anne Perrotti
  • Batten College of Engineering and Technology: Logan Kooy, mechanical engineering technology major; engineering management minor. Most inspirational faculty member: Orlando Ayala
  • College of Health Sciences: Emma Marler, dental hygiene major; minor in psychology. Most inspirational faculty member: Sam Vest
  • School of Cybersecurity: Matthew Allen, cybersecurity major; minor in military leadership. Most inspirational faculty member: Michael Gulland
  • School of Nursing: Hailey Duncan, double major in nursing and psychology. Most inspirational faculty member: Lynn Wiles

President Brian O. Hemphill, Ph.D., and Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Austin Agho bestowed the Provost’s Awards for Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher.

The recipients:

  • Logan Baker, double major in chemistry and biochemistry. Nominated by Guijun Wang.
  • James Garcia, double major in chemistry and biochemistry. Also nominated by Wang.
  • Jennifer Burdette, double major in chemistry and biochemistry. Nominated by Erin Purcell.
  • Noah Hendricks, ocean and earth sciences major; minor in physics and applied mathematics. Nominated by John Klinck.
  • Kayla Pineda, computer science major. Nominated by Sampath Jayarathna.
  • Ryan Shahan, double major in applied mathematics and physics. Nominated by Balša Terzic.
  • Dominik Soós, computer science major; minor in mathematics. Nominated by Jian Wu.

The Student Honors and Awards Dinner is held twice a year before the Spring and Fall Commencement Exercises.

“You have set yourselves apart in both academic achievement and co-curricular involvement,” Agho told the honorees in his introduction. “You have seen first-hand the excellence in teaching we strive to achieve at Old Dominion University. We are also pleased to recognize the faculty who have mentored and supported you in your academic journey and left an indelible mark on your time at Old Dominion.”