Four Promising Sophomores Honored with Annual Award

Created: April 10, 2014
Last Updated: December 16, 2019

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WASHINGTON, Pa. (Dec. 5, 2013)—Four Washington & Jefferson College (W&J) students are recipients of the 2013 Rule, Hughes, Murphy Prize, given annually to a group of sophomores in recognition of their academic achievement, academic promise and leadership potential.

This year’s honorees are Nicholas Brownstead of Huntington, W.Va.; Courtney Brennan of New Kensington, Pa.; Wesley Corbin-Pein of Cumberland, Md.; and Naomi Bick of Cheswick, Pa.

“The Rule, Hughes, Murphy Prize is the most prestigious award at W&J for members of the sophomore class,” W&J President Tori Haring-Smith, Ph.D., said. “It looks at all aspects of student performance—academic, citizenship, leadership—including good moral character, which is closely tied to the mission of the College. I congratulate these students on their accomplishments.”

Brownstead is a Beta Scholar; a member of Alpha Lambda Delta and Alpha Tau Omega; fluent in four programming languages; presenter at the 2013 Midwest Slavic Convention; a Black Belt in Tae Kwan Do; a volunteer with community theater; and a worker in W&J’s U. Grant Miller Library, where he is a student supervisor. He is an economics major minoring in Russian.

Also an economics major, Brennan is a member of Alpha Lambda Delta and the Pre-Legal society. She is a Student-Athlete Advisory Committee representative, represents W&J at admission-related events, and is a member of the women’s tennis team, where she is the no. 1 singles and doubles player.

A biochemistry major and resident assistant, Corbin-Pein participated in W&J’s Leadership and Service Institute, a four-day program for first-year students focusing on leadership, service, and cross-cultural collaboration. He is a member of the Student Government Association and a volunteer at the LeMoyne Community Center, whose mission is “developing, shaping, defining, and stabilizing our community with education, arts, health, and recreational programs.”

Bick is a political science major and English minor. She is an Alpha scholar; member of the Green Club, Gay Straight Alliance, Pre-legal Society, and Student Christian Association; participant in W&J’s annual Alternative Spring Break Community Service Trip; and recipient of the freshman leadership award.

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.

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