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Recent Cords of Distinction Recipients

The Cords of Distinction award honors the efforts of graduating students who have made outstanding contributions to the university, community or society. Up to 10 graduating students are recognized annually with the Cords of Distinction.

Annual nomination period occurs in early spring of each academic year.

2022 Cords of Distinction recipients

2022 cords recipients

  • Rodrigo Barahona, majoring in environmental science and economics from Tegucigalpa, Honduras;
  • Asha Beck, with a major in digital media and communications major and a minor in Spanish from Linville, Virginia; 
  • Alcinda Brubaker, a marketing major from Keezletown, Virginia;
  • Tahj’ae Coleman, a psychology major from Willingboro, New Jersey;
  • Elizabeth Eby, majoring in peacebuilding and development and Bible, religion and theology from Goshen, Indiana;
  • Skylar Hedgepeth, an elementary education major from Smithfield, Virginia;
  • Hannah Leaman, a mathematics major with secondary education licensure and a minor in Honors from Bakersfield, California;
  • Faith Manikam, a biology, pre-med major and chemistry minor from Hesston, Kansas;
  • Mishram Nyagwegwe, a recreation and sports management major from Norristown, Pennsylvania;  
  • Allison Shelly, a political science major with minors in Honors, journalism, community organizing and development, and history from Collinsville, Mississippi.

2021 Cords of Distinction recipients

Cords of Distinction winners

  • Akiel Baker, a social work major from Bowie, Maryland;
  • Naomi Davis, a peacebuilding and development major with minors in global studies and religious and intercultural studies, from Richmond, Virginia;
  • Maya Dula, a biology (pre-med) major, from Lancaster City, Pennsylvania;
  • Brandon Higgins, a psychology major from Culpeper, Virginia;
  • Amanda Jasper, a social work major with a minor in psychology from Madison, Virginia;
  • Anisa Leonard, a social work major with minors in Honors, sociology and global development, from Nairobi, Kenya, and Harrisonburg, Virginia;
  • Mariana Martinez-Hernandez, a peacebuilding major from Tegucigalpa, Honduras;
  • Ambrose Monahan, a double major in art and Bible, religion and theology with an Honors minor, from Midlothian, Virginia;
  • Hannah Nichols, a liberal arts and elementary education major with a minor in business administration, from Centerville, Ohio, and Fredericksburg, Virginia;
  • Jakiran Richardson, a biology major with a psychology minor, from Virginia Beach, Virginia.

2020 Cords of Distinction recipients

Cords of Distinction Winners 2020

  • Lindsay Acker, a peacebuilding and development major with a minor in Honors, from Buffalo, New York;
  • Ariel Barbosa, a Bible, religion, & theology and sociology double-major with minors in Honors and interfaith studies from Baltimore, Maryland;
  • Kiara Kiah, a music performance and social work major from Portsmouth, Virginia;
  • Donaldo Lleshi, a biology and pre-med major from Lezhe, Albania;
  • Cheyenne Marzullo, a business administration major with minors in psychology and political studies from Shippensburg, Pennsylvania;
  • Gabby McMillon, a peacebuilding and development major with minors in Honors and sociology from Virginia;
  • Justin Odom, a political science and Biblical studies double-major with a minor in music performance from Williamsburg, Virginia;
  • Emily Powell, a global development major from Colorado Springs, Colorado;
  • Abigail Shelly, a liberal arts, education K-12 major with a minor in TESOL, from Collinsville, Mississippi;
  • Leah Wenger, a psychology and vocal performance double-major with a minor in Honors from Linville, Virginia.

2019 Cords of Distinction recipients

Cords of Distinction Winners 2019 

  • Heyrin Cha, a nursing major from Cheonan-Si, South Korea;
  • DeVantae Dews, a liberal arts major from Lynchburg, Virginia;
  • Mario Hernandez, a biology and history double-major from Tegucigalpa, Honduras;
  • Lindsey Krisak, a biology major from Alexandria, Virginia;
  • Nicole Litwiller, a global development and liberal arts double-major, from Hesston, Kansas;
  • Sylvia Mast, a biology major from Broadway, Virginia;
  • Luke Litwiller,  a math major from Berlin, Ohio;
  • RJ Ocampo, a biology (pre-professional health sciences) major from Virginia Beach, Virginia;
  • Precious Waddy, a social work major from Richmond, Virginia;
  • Cameron White, a social work major from Palmyra, Virginia;

Read tributes from faculty and staff for the 2019 cords of distinction recipients.

2018 Cords of Distinction recipients

Cords of Distinction Recipients for 2018

  • Emily Clatterbuck, an English education (secondary licensure) major with minors in Spanish and writing studies, from Grottoes, Virginia;
  • Drew Diaz, a biology major, from New Market, Virginia;
  • Harrison Horst, a sociology major with minors in environmental sustainability and international development, from Landisville, Pennsylvania;
  • Maleke Jones, a psychology major with a minor in pre-law, from Charles Town, West Virginia;
  • Keyri Lopez-Godoy, a liberal arts major with elementary education licensure, from Charlottesville, Virgina;
  • Michaela Mast, a psychology major with minors in neuroscience, music and honors, from Broadway, Virginia;
  • Katrina Poplett, a peacebuilding and development major with minors in Spanish and sociology, from Plymouth, Minnesota;
  • Caleb Shrock-Hurst, an English major with minors in history and music, from Harrisonburg, Virginia;
  • Brittany Williams, a recreational leadership and sports studies major with minors in psychology, coaching, kinesiology and exercise science, from King George, Virginia;
  • Elizabeth Witmer, a social work major, with minors in Spanish and sociology, from Newville, Pennslyvania.

Read tributes from faculty and staff for the 2018 cords of distinction recipients.

2017 Cords of Distinction recipients

EMU Cords of Distinction Recipients in 2017
top row, L-R: Diego Barahona, Macson McGuigan, Quinn Kathrineberg, Mario Valladares, Elisabeth Wilder. front row, L-R: Mariah Martin, Maddie List, Oksana Kittrell, Hannah Daley, Azariah Cox.

  • Diego Barahona, major in biochemistry and environmental sustainability and minor in biology and chemistry; Tegucigalpa, Honduras
  • Azariah Cox, major in photography and minor in digital communications; Forest, Virginia
  • Hannah Daley, major in chemistry with a concentration in environmental sustainabilityand a minor in mathematics and physics;  Lothian, Maryland
  • Quinn Kathrineberg, major in English with a Secondary Licensure (6-12); Salina, Kansas
  • Oksana Kittrell, major in psychology and a minor in youth ministry; Big Island, Virginia
  • Madison List, major in religious and intercultural studies; Arlington, Virginia
  • Mariah Martin, major in nursing; Greencastle, Virginia
  • Macson McGuigan, major in digital media and environmental sustainability with a concentration on environmental/social sustainability and a minor in photography; Berryville, Virginia
  • Mario Valladares, majors in business administration, economics, and accounting; Tegucigalpa, Honduras
  • Elisabeth Wilder, major in social work and a minor in pre-law; Hesston, Virginia

Read tributes from faculty and staff for this years Cords of Distinction winners.

2016 Cords of Distinction recipients

EMU Cords of Distinction Recipients in 2016
(top row, from left) Brooke Lacock, Carissa Luginbill, Jolee Paden, Londen Wheeler, Philip Watson, Jr. (bottom row, from left) Bethany Chupp, Hannah Chappell-Dick, Tyler Eshleman, Anahely Cruz and Teresa Garcia-Bautista.

  • Hannah Chappell-Dick, major in biology and minor in kinesiology and exercise science and coaching; Bluffton, Ohio
  • Bethany Chupp, major in psychology and minor in art; Canby, Oregon
  • Anahely Cruz, major in liberal arts, elementary education licensure (PreK-6), special education licensure (K-12) and minor in psychology; New Market, Virginia
  • Tyler Eshleman, major in peacebuilding and development and minor in sociology; Harrisonburg, Virginia
  • Teresa Garcia-Bautista, major in history and Spanish language and Hispanic studies and minor in pre-law; Timberville, Virginia
  • Brooke Lacock, major in psychology and minor in art; Paradise, Pennsylvania
  • Carissa Luginbill, major in social work and minor in art and psychology; Bluffton, Ohio
  • Jolee Paden, major in business administration and recreation leadership and sport promotion; Saint Joseph, Illinois
  • Philip Watson, Jr., major psychology and minor in photography; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Londen Wheeler, major in digital media, photography, and communication; Faber, Virginia

2015 Cords of Distinction recipients

EMU Cords of Distinction Recipients in 2015
Standing, from left: Emma King, Rachel King, Carissa Harnish, Rebecca Longenecker, Rebecca Martin, Erin Rheinheimer, Emily Shenk. Seated, from left: Jacob Landis, Jordan Luther, Gee Paegar, Jr.

  • Carissa Harnish, major in biology and Spanish; Manheim, Pennsylvania
  • Emma King, major in digital media and communication and minor in journalism and photography; West Unity, Ohio
  • Rachel King, major in biology; West Unity, Ohio
  • Jacob Landis, major in congregational and youth ministry and biblical studies and minor in biology; Sterling, Illinois
  • Rebecca Longenecker, major in English and minor in mathematics; Lancaster, Pennsylvania
  • Timothy (Jordan) Luther, major in biblical studies; Martinsville, Virginia
  • Rebecca Martin, major in history and minor in economics and Spanish; Akron, Pennsylvania
  • Gee Paegar, Jr., major in history and environmental sustainability and minor in political studies and international development; Monrovia, Liberia
  • Erin Rheinheimer, major in art (K-12 education licensure) and minor in environmental sustainability; Alexandria, Virginia
  • Emily Shenk, major in liberal arts (elementary education licensure); Goshen, Indiana

2014 Cords of Distinction recipients

EMU Cords of Distinction Recipients in 2014
From left: Brandon Waggy, Laura Glick, Aaron Erb, Litza Laboriel, Krista Nyce, Nicole Groff, Christine Baer, Rose Jantzi, Ardi Hermawan, Melody Tobin.

  • Christine Baer, major in peacebuilding and development & environmental sustainability; Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania
  • Aaron Erb, major in conflict transformation; Harrisonburg, Virginia
  • Laura Glick, major in social work, and minors in psychology; Lancaster, Pennsylvania
  • Nicole Groff, major in biology; Lancaster, Pennsylvania
  • Ardi Hermawan, major in nursing and minors in biology; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Rose Jantzi, major in liberal arts (elementary education licensure) and minors in Spanish; Harrisonburg, Virginia
  • Litza Laboriel, major in social work and minors in pre-law; Harrisonburg, Virginia
  • Krista Nyce, major in psychology and minors in peacebuilding; Harrisonburg, Virginia
  • Melody Tobin, major in liberal arts (elementary education licensure); Harrisonburg, Virginia
  • Brandon Waggy, major in peacebuilding and development and biblical studies; South Bend, Indiana

2013 Cords of Distinction recipients

EMU Cords of Distinction Recipients in 2013
From left, back row: Nels Akerson, Michael Allen, James Souder, Kelley Schroder and Hannah Schrock. From left, front row: Jossimar Diaz-Castro, Ryan Eshleman, Darian Harnish, Josh Kanagy and Julia Schmidt.

  • Nels Akerson, major in biology and liberal arts, and minors in psychology and Spanish; Harrisonburg, Virginia
  • Michael Allen, major in liberal arts and minors in Spanish and music; Fork Union, Virginia
  • Jossimar Diaz Castro, major in philosophy & theology; Harrisonburg, Virginia
  • Ryan Eshleman, major in philosophy & theology and biology and minor in English; Harrisonburg, Virginia
  • Darian Harnish, major in accounting and economics; Lancaster, Pennsylvania
  • Joshua Kanagy, major in psychology and minor in peacebuilding & development; Harrisonburg, Virginia
  • Julia Schmidt, major in history and minors in pre-law, political studies, peacebuilding, philosophy, bible & religion; Pandora, Ohio
  • Hannah Schrock, major in biology; Iowa City, Iowa
  • Kelley Schroder, major in music; Leesburg, Virginia
  • James Souder, major in environmental sustainability and minors in international development, biology, economics, and photography; Harrisonburg, Virginia

2012 Cords of Distinction recipients

EMU Cords of Distinction Recipients in 2012
Left to right: Benjamin Bailey, Brendon Derstine, Brandon Habron, Katie Jantzen, Clothilda Johnson, Katherine Landis, Rebekah [last name omitted on request], Michelle Ramirez and Andrew Richter. Not pictured: Grace Engle.

  • Benjamin Bailey, major in peacebuilding and development and biblical studies; Simsbury, Connecticut
  • Brendon Derstine, major in history and social science, secondary education, and minors in bible and religion, political studies; Harleysville, Pennsylvania
  • Grace Engle, major in social work; Wauseon, Ohio
  • Brandon Habron, major in liberal arts and minor in theater and sociology; Fredricksburg, Virginia
  • Katie Jantzen, major in environmental sustainability and minors in Spanish, socio-economic development, biology; Plymouth, Nebr.
  • Clothilda Dado Johnson, major in nursing and minor in psychology; Banjul, The Gambia
  • Katherine Landis, major in photography, digital media and minor in journalism; Lancaster, Pennsylvania
  • Rebekah [last name omitted on request], major in nursing; Pettisville, Ohio
  • Michelle Ramirez, major in social work and minor in Spanish; Harrisonburg, Virginia
  • Andrew Richter, major in business administration; Perkasie, Pennsylvania

Previous recipients

Learn more about previous Cords of Distinction recipients at EMU in the news blog.

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