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Four receive Sullivan Awards at Wofford Commencement

Monday, May 21, 2007

Sullivan Award Winners 2007SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Two Wofford College supporters and civic leaders – one from Union, S.C., and another from Marion, S.C., along with two Wofford graduating seniors, received the Mary Mildred Sullivan and Algernon Sydney Sullivan awards during the college’s 153rd Commencement Exercises on Sunday, May 20.

Wofford College is one of about 50 colleges and universities, most of them in the South, authorized to present the Algernon Sydney Sullivan and Mary Mildred Sullivan Awards.  The recipients, a graduating senior and a non-student of each gender, are named and the awards presented annually during spring commencement ceremonies.

Receiving the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Awards were Henry Patterson (Pat) Worrell, Class of 1964, of Marion, S.C., and Brian Lanning Fast of Union, S.C., and receiving the Mary Mildred Sullivan Awards were Toccoa Wise Switzer of Union, S.C., and Katherine Elizabeth (Katie) Ruthsatz of Anderson, S.C.

Worrell, a dentist and civic leader in Marion, and his wife, Hallett, have been active supporters of Wofford for more than 40 years, providing scholarship funding, encouraging students to attend Wofford, interviewing scholars, visiting high schools and mentoring Wofford students.  Both of his children, Laura Worrell Hutto and Reed Worrell are Wofford graduates, Class of 1991 and 1995, respectively; Laura’s husband, Scott Hutto, also is a 1991 graduate.

Fast, a finance major, also received the “Heart of the Terrier” Leadership Award.  He is a Benjamin Wofford Scholar and a participant in the President Seminar.  He was president of the study body in 2006-07.  He is the son of Garry Fast of Summerville, S.C., and Kim Fast of Union.

Mrs. Switzer, a graduate of Stephens College and Ohio State University, is a former member of the Wofford College Board of Trustees (1990-2002).  She has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to Wofford through her gifts and service to the college through the years.  Her father-in-law, Paul K. Switzer (Class of 1907); her first husband, James Layton Switzer Sr. (Class of 1938); sons, Paul Switzer (Class of 1977) and James Layton Jr. (Class of 1980) and granddaughter, Elizabeth (Lizzie) (Class of 2007) all are Wofford alumni.  She and her son Jim have encouraged broad family support of many Wofford initiatives, from scholarships to athletic facilities.

Mrs. Switzer also has been a leader in the Union community.

Ruthsatz, a chemistry major, recently received the “Heart of a Terrier” Leadership Award at Wofford’s Honors Day convocation.  She co-chaired the Wofford Activities Council and is a member of Zeta Tau Alpha social sorority, Alpha Phi Omega and the Success Initiative.  She is the daughter of Michael and Debbie Ruthsatz of Anderson.

Algernon Sydney Sullivan, born in Indiana in 1826, rose to success in New York City as a respected lawyer and a man who “reached out both hands in constant helpfulness” to others. The award bearing his name was established in 1925 by a Sullivan Memorial Committee and the New York Southern Society, which Sullivan had served as its first president. The award seeks to perpetuate the excellence of character and humanitarian service of Sullivan by recognizing and honoring such qualities in others.

The Mary Mildred Sullivan Award was created in 1940 by the New York chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy to honor those who demonstrate the “spirit of helpfulness and an awareness of the beauty and value of the intangible elements of life.”