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Student Awards and Prizes


Academic Scholarships

The Minnie J. Smith Scholarship

This award was established in 1962 by family and friends as a tribute to Minnie J. Smith, late Salem professor and head of the Department of Classics, who served the College for more than three decades. The scholarship is awarded each year to a student who is a member of one of the three upper classes, has maintained a grade point average of 3.0 or above, and is majoring in one of the humanities.

The Harry and Hannah Smith Scholarship

This scholarship, established in 1978 by their children, honors Harry Smith, the brother of Minnie J. Smith, and his wife, Hannah Johnson Smith, a school teacher who maintained a lively interest in higher education. The scholarship is awarded each year to a student who is a member of one of the three upper classes, has maintained a grade point average of 3.0 or above, and is majoring in one of the humanities.

The Jess Byrd Merit Scholarship

Awarded each year to a rising junior who has a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 and is majoring in English.

The Marjorie Hedrick Bailey Scholarship

This scholarship was funded by Marjorie Hedrick Bailey C’20, a Salem graduate and French major. It recognizes a student majoring in modern language for overall academic excellence and for outstanding work in her major language.

The Dorris Collie Hall Scholarship

This award honors a first-year student with leadership potential who has made a positive contribution to the life of the Salem community, has maintained quality academic work, and demonstrated an appreciation for the ideals of the College.


Oak Award

The Oak Award is presented annually at Founders Day to the senior who, during her four years at Salem, has made notable contributions to the quality of life at Salem College. The award recognizes both outstanding leadership and scholarship.

H.A. Pfohl Awards (student and faculty)

The H.A. Pfohl Awards were established by the children of a long-time trustee of Salem. The Pfohl Awards are given annually in two categories: $500 to a senior student who exemplifies strong campus citizenship, moral character, loyalty, and effective service to the College; and $1,000 to a faculty member who has demonstrated sound service, loyalty, moral character, and effective teaching.

Salem Distinguished Professor

Every five years, the College names the Salem Distinguished Professor, an honor given to a tenured, full-time faculty member who holds the rank of associate or full professor and who has served the College for at least five years. The criteria for the award are teaching excellence, scholarship, leadership, and service to the College community.

Katherine B. Rondthaler Awards

In 1951, the Salem College Alumnae Association established the Katherine B. Rondthaler awards, honoring the wife of Salem’s twelfth president. These awards recognize students for outstanding creative expression in art, music, choreography, poetry, and prose.

The Nancy Hayes Elementary Education Award

Established by the Class of 1971, this award is given in memory of their classmate, Nancy Hayes, killed in an automobile accident just prior to her graduation. The person chosen has exemplified enthusiasm for teaching, love of children, dedication to the education of elementary age children, and the ability to relate to children and to instill a love for learning.

The Class of 1976 Art Award

Through this award, the Class of 1976 hoped to encourage support of student art. Given every other year, this cash award is presented to the junior or senior whose work is judged to be superior. The winning piece of art becomes the property of Salem College and a part of Salem’s collection.

Omicron Delta Kappa Outstanding Teacher Award

The Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society Outstanding Teacher Award honors a professor each year who carries out the society’s value of leadership and service in extracurricular activities to encourage development of general campus citizenship.

Scholar-Athlete of the Year

This award recognizes the upperclassman student-athlete letter winner with the highest cumulative grade point average.

President’s Prizes

These honors are awarded to outstanding students each year by the Alumnae Association. Awards are given to one junior or senior in each major, based on high academic achievement, maintaining at least an overall 3.0 grade point average, and a 3.2 for work in the major.

The Penelope Niven Award for Creative Writing

Established in 1998 with a gift from Pauline Sims Medlin, a member of The Center for Women Writers Board, this award honors Penelope Niven, who served as writer-in-residence at Salem College from 1997 until 2009. The award recognizes outstanding work by a junior or senior in creative writing.

The Lucy Bramlette Patterson Award for Creative Writing

This award was established in 2002 to honor a distinguished Salem alumna whose life interests included a passion for creative writing. The award recognizes a student with a minor in creative writing who has submitted an outstanding portfolio of work.

The Lovin History Award

This award, established in honor of Cynthia Lovin McArthur C’75, is presented annually to a senior majoring or minoring in history, American studies, or art history. The winner must have maintained at least a 3.6 overall grade point average and has demonstrated her promise as a history scholar through independent study or honors work and has demonstrated a significant contribution to the Salem community through involvement in campus organizations.

The Inzer Byers History Award

Sponsored by the Phi Alpha Theta Honor Society, this award recognizes excellence in an emerging scholar in history, political science, or international relations.

The Women in Science and Mathematics Program Prize

This honor is awarded to a junior or senior majoring in one of the four disciplines in the science division, who has achieved a grade point average of 3.0 or higher. The recipient must exemplify citizenship and scholarship by participating in the activities sponsored by the Women in Science and Mathematics Program, and she must show strong scholarship in the classroom and in research.

Sophisteia Award

The Sophisteia Award for traditional-age students is a gift to Salem College from the Class of 1978, in conjunction with the Class of 1973. Established in 1978, it is presented to the senior graduate with the highest G.P.A. over four years. The Sophisteia Award for Fleer Center students, established by the Prime Times Alumnae Club, honors the Fleer Center graduate who has achieved the highest G.P.A. with full-time enrollment over a minimum of two full years of study at Salem, the high standards and requirements that Salem College holds for its students.

Sarah Covington Fulcher Leadership Award

Established in 1988 by Sarah Fulcher this award is given to an upper-class student displaying outstanding qualities of leadership. The recipient will have impacted the College or wider community and demonstrated tenacity and determination; the ability to make decisions and implement them; the ability to communicate clearly and effectively; and integrity, loyalty, and dedication.

Fleer Center Leadership Award

Given to a senior (or seniors) who truly exemplifies the spirit of Salem. Award winners conduct their day-to-day lives as adult learners at Salem with passion and compassion, logic and emotion, intelligence and grace.

Fleer Center Spirit Award

Given to a senior or seniors who truly exemplify the spirit of Salem in all that she/he does. The recipients conduct their day-to-day lives as adult learners here at Salem with passion and compassion, logic and emotion, intelligence and grace. They are exceptional role models for all Salem students.

Carroll Lennon Residential Life Award

This award is given to a student who exemplifies the spirit, enthusiasm, and concern for fellow students that was characteristic of Carroll Lennon C’69. The award recipient is selected by a committee of student government officers, the dean of students, and representatives of her staff.

Clark A. Thompson Community Service Award

Established to honor the late Dr. Clark A. Thompson for his years of dedicated service to the College and to the larger community, this award recognizes a Salem student who has made a substantial commitment to volunteer community service beyond course requirements.

Algernon Sydney Sullivan and Mary Mildred Sullivan Awards

Established in 1925 by the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Foundation (formerly the New York Southern Society) these awards recognize the continuing influence and noble characteristics of high-minded individuals with distinctive qualities and whose spiritual standards are representative of the awarding institution. Salem College was selected by the Foundation to make these student awards beginning in 2002 in any year when an exceptional student or students meet the qualifications and characteristics.

Ann MacPherson Weaver Award

This award is given to a rising junior who exemplifies the courage, sense of humor, and self-effacing qualities that were characteristics of Ann Weaver. This student is known for facilitating harmonious relationships within the Salem College community and maintains high academic standards. Established to honor Ann MacPherson Weaver.

Salem Trailblazer Award

The Salem Trailblazer Award recognizes women who make paradigm-shifting contributions to our world, charting new paths for all women. Given at the discretion of the Board of Trustees, the award is presented at Commencement to up to three trailblazing women and may include alumnae and/or graduating seniors.

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