Five Sophomores Honored with Prestigious Annual Award

Created: February 13, 2015
Last Updated: August 3, 2020

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WASHINGTON, PA (Feb. 12, 2015) — Five Washington & Jefferson College (W&J) students are recipients of the 2014-15 Rule, Hughes, Murphy Prize, awarded annually to a group of promising sophomores in recognition of their academic achievement and leadership potential.

This year’s honorees are Aric Brown of South Park, Pa.; Lauryn Halahurich of Kill Devil Hills, N.C.; Katrina Lenhart of South Park, Pa.; Amiti Sharma of Canton, Ohio; and Nicholas Willison of Rockford, Mich. The group was honored at a Feb. 10 luncheon.

“The Rule, Hughes, Murphy Prize is the most prestigious award at W&J for sophomores,” W&J President Tori Haring-Smith, Ph.D., said. “The Prize takes into account aspects of student performance in three areas — academic, citizenship, leadership — and includes good moral character, as well, which is tied to the mission of the College. I congratulate these students on this well-deserved recognition.”

Brown, a cell/molecular biology and German double major, is an Alpha Scholar, president of the Alpha Lambda Delta honorary society at W&J, and a member of Delta Phi Alpha. He also is active in the German Club and the Student Christian Association, and serves as a tutor in the Biology Department. In 2014, he was named the inaugural winner of a scholarship from the German American Business Circle of Pittsburgh (GABC/Pittsburgh). Brown plans to pursue a Ph.D. in microbiology or immunology.

A communication arts major with a concentration in film studies, Halahurich is a Beta Scholar. She serves as historian for the Secular Student Alliance; treasurer for the Gay Straight Alliance; layout editor for W&J’s Pandora yearbook; campus editor for the Red & Black student newspaper; vice president of the Film Club; and is the president of social media/marketing for the Young Entrepreneurs Society. She also is active in student theatre, the Improv Club, and manages the Being a President Campaign, which she launched in 2014. She plans to attend a graduate program for directing.

Lenhart is a biology and English double major, and serves as the service coordinator for Alpha Lambda Delta. She is active in the Leadership & Service Institute, choir, capella group, wind ensemble, Asian Culture Association, and the Gay Straight Alliance. She serves as a lab assistant for Biology 101, and is the on-campus representative and ambassador for the Ocean Mammal Institute. She plans to attend a graduate program for conservation.

An International Business major who serves as the vice president of the Indian Student Association, Sharma plans to continue her international business students in graduate school. She is currently the business manager of the Red & Black, and is an active member of the student theatre program. She also serves as a J-Walker campus tour guide.

Willison, a chemistry major and Alpha Scholar, is a member of Alpha Lambda Delta, Alpha Phi Omega, and is a brother of Beta Theta Pi. He is a member of the Pre-Health Society, Health Professions Program, and a Peer Assisted Learning Tutor. He is also an avid athlete and member of the water polo and swimming teams, and is the SAACS Representative for Water Polo, CWPA Academic All-American & Division III All-American for water polo, and is listed on the President’s Athletic Conference Academic Honor Roll. In swimming, he holds W&J records for the 100-meter backstroke, 400-meter medley relay, and 400-meter freestyle relay. Willison plans to attend medical school, pursuing a career in either oncology or general surgery.

Established in 1987 through the bequest of an anonymous donor, the James Rule (W&J Class of 1898), Howard Hughes (Class of 1911) and Robert Murphy (Class of 1906) Memorial Fund provides an award of $2,000 each year.

Rule was a teacher and principal of several Pittsburgh area high schools and also served for two years as national director of the Junior American Red Cross.  He also was deputy director, and later director, of the Pennsylvania Department of Public Instruction, and was Superintendent of Public Instruction for four years.

Hughes was the first person from Washington County named to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, serving from 1943 to 1945. He served for 10 years on the Common Pleas Court of the 27th Judicial District, and was solicitor general for the Pennsylvania Railroad Company at the time of his death.

Murphy was general secretary and graduate athletic trainer at W&J from 1906 until the time of his death in 1925.  Among his duties was recruiting students, and he attracted to W&J outstanding student-athletes such as NFL Hall-of-Famer Wilbur “Pete” Henry and coaches such as John Heisman, for whom the Heisman Trophy is named.

About Washington & Jefferson College

Washington & Jefferson College, located in Washington, Pa., is a selective liberal arts college founded in 1781. Committed to providing each of its students with the highest-quality undergraduate education available, W&J offers a traditional arts and sciences curriculum emphasizing interdisciplinary study and independent study work.

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