Prestigious Condon Medal Winner Announced at Student Awards Ceremony

Condon Medal Winner Hannah Johnson '21 (Photo by Gabe Souza)
By Laura Meader
May 12, 2021

Hannah Johnson, a senior from Lancaster, Pa., has been named the winner of Colby’s 2021 Condon Medal. President David Greene presented her with the medal during a virtual ceremony May 11. The Condon Medal honors a senior who exhibits the finest qualities of citizenship and has made the most significant contribution to the development of life at Colby.

“You’ve been spectacular in everything that you’ve done,” Greene said to Johnson. “You’ve just made it look like who you are, which is, I think, the best way to be in life—that these things are natural to you and they’re integral to who you are as a person. You’ve lived that life here at Colby in a way that’s made a difference for all of us at the institution.”

Johnson’s biggest impact on campus has been her contributions to student life through hall staff. As a community advisor and later as an area residence director, she strove to make students feel that they belonged in the residence halls and in the larger community. She also served on the College’s Civic Engagement Student Advisory and Health Care Advisory committees. Johnson’s volunteer work included serving as a mentor for Colby’s Lives of Purpose and as a scribe with Colby’s Legacy Storytellers program, created to preserve stories of the elderly with early stages of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia at Waterville’s Woodlands Senior Living. A psychology major and religious studies minor, her ultimate goal is to attend medical school and become an OB/GYN.  

The Condon Medal, established in 1920 through the generous gift from Randall J. Condon, a member of Colby’s Class of 1886, has been awarded each year with the exception of the years of two World Wars. “By the votes of the senior class and faculty, the chosen student embodies the spirit of loyalty and service,” said Dean of the College Karlene Burrell-McRae ’94. “In Condon’s words, ‘Character is the supreme end of education. Citizenship is the expression of it in the community.’ This year’s winner indeed exemplifies these qualities and is someone we will all be proud of.”

This year’s ceremony also recognized other student achievements and more than 100 campus leaders who exemplify Colby values both inside and outside the classroom. Despite the pandemic, “our students, faculty, and staff have risen to the challenges we’ve faced with brilliance, energy, and courage,” said Dean of Faculty and Provost Margaret McFadden.

“Every year,” McFadden continued, “we’re grateful to be able to celebrate exceptional student achievement, from excellent academic work, to transformative service, to powerful cocurricular leadership, to inspiring athletic accomplishment.”

Nicholas Ho ’21, a Bunche Scholar from Hong Kong, was chosen by his peers to be the student speaker at commencement May 23. Ho, a psychology major with a minor in cinema studies, has also been a community advisor in the residence halls as well as an area resident director. His leadership roles include head tutor in the Farnham Writers’ Center, a sexual violence prevention peer educator, and a mentor for the Colby Cares About Kids program. Staff members in the Office of Campus Life regard Ho as a “thoughtful, supportive, and reflective individual who dedicates time to listen, provide support, and create genuine connections.”

Students receiving prestigious national awards include Cassandra Winkelman ’21 and Sally Simpson, who were awarded Fulbright English Teaching Fellowships, and Abigail LaBrash ’21, who received a Newman Civic Fellowship.

Carrie LeVan, the Montgoris Assistant Professor of Government, was voted by the senior class to receive the Charles Bassett Teaching Award. LeVan will present the traditional Last Lecture May 19. 

“We take great pleasure in recognizing your achievements,” McFadden told award winners. “This is the culmination of four years of hard work and dedication. We appreciate everything you’ve brought to our community, and we know many more accomplishments are ahead for each and every one of you.”

This PDF, 2021 Student Award Recipients, lists all award winners.