Student Excellence and Leadership Celebrated at Student Awards Program

Prestigious Condon Medal winner is announced along with academic and civic achievements

Maggie Blake ’23 was named this year’s recipient of the Condon Medal for her demonstrated passion for civic engagement and commitment to making positive change on campus.
By Laura MeaderPhotography by Ashley L. Conti
May 3, 2023

As the 2022-23 academic year nears its end, the 15th annual Student Awards Program May 2 provided a moment to pause and recognize students for their academic achievement, leadership, community involvement, and dedication to personal growth.

The capstone moment was the announcement of the Condon Medal winner. President David A. Greene was pleased to present the prestigious award to Margaret “Maggie” Blake ’23.

“This year’s recipient of the Condon Medal demonstrates a passion for civic engagement, a contagious desire to improve the lives around her, and a commitment to making positive change on campus,” Greene said of Blake, an active member of the Colby community.

The Condon Medal, established in 1920 through a gift from Randall J. Condon, a member of Colby’s Class of 1886, recognizes the finest qualities of citizenship and is the only student award presented at commencement. In Condon’s words, “Character is the supreme end of education. Citizenship is the expression of it in the community.” The recipient is chosen by the votes of the senior class and faculty.

Blake, who hails from Carlisle, Mass., is a double major in economics and English with a concentration in creative writing. She has been a community engagement chair for the Student Government Association, president of the Maine History and Food Club, a COOT leader, and a member of the cross country and track teams.

Her contributions to the greater Waterville community include completing an ArcGIS mapping project of the parks in Waterville, serving as a Colby Cares About Kids mentor, and teaching Sunday school in Winslow.  

Maggie Blake ’23, a double major in economics and English with a concentration in creative writing, after being awarded the Condon Medal from President David A. Greene during the Student Awards Program May 2, 2023.

“Maggie is a dedicated learner, strong writer, and creatively sharp thinker with an open heart,” said Blake’s advisor Arisa White, associate professor of English-creative writing. “She is committed to doing the work in the community, with her peers, because Maggie is rooted in an ethic of empathy that serves to restore our fundamental human dignity. With her gifts to merge different perspectives, shift points of view, to inquire with critical compassion within and without, Maggie makes me look forward to the future, and we all need a future that is shaped by her genius.”

More than 100 other students were recognized at this year’s ceremony. These students have distinguished themselves through academic excellence and outstanding performance in and out of the classroom. A complete list of this year’s winners and their awards is available here.

Tovah Duffaut ’23, a Bunche Scholar from Raymond, N.H., was chosen by the senior class to deliver the student address at commencement May 21. An English major with a minor in anthropology, Duffaut serves as a sexual violence prevention peer educator as well as a co-mentor for the Office of Student Access and Disability Services.

Tovah Duffaut ’23 waves to the audience while walking to the stage after being named class speaker during the Student Awards Program. Duffaut will deliver the student address at Commencement 2023.

Other students recognized for receiving prominent national awards include Fulbright grant winner Chloe Simms ’23 and Davis Project for Peace Grant recipient Giovanna Novi ’25. The Colby Global Fellowship was awarded to Gabriel Rivas Orellana ’23.  

The senior class also selected Associate Professor of Global Studies Nadia El-Shaawari as the 31st recipient of the Charles Bassett Teaching Award. El-Shaawari will present the traditional “Last Lecture” to the senior class on May 16.

Dean of Students and Interim Dean of College Barbara Moore congratulated the award winners and held them up as an example to others.

“Your dedication and hard work have paid off,” she said, “and you’ve proven that anything is possible with perseverance and a passion for learning.”