Six Promising Sophomores Receive Esteemed Annual Award

Created: February 16, 2016  |  Last Updated: October 5, 2021  |  Category:   |  Tagged: , ,

WASHINGTON, PA (Feb. 16, 2016) - Six Washington & Jefferson College (W&J) students are recipients of the 2015-16 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 Cole Grecco of Brockway, Pa.; India March of Washington, Pa. (not pictured); Rachel Nye of Shippensburg, Pa.; Blynn Shideler of Wexford, Pa.; Peter Sobraske of Victor, N.Y.; and Parker Trent of Greensburg, Pa.

“The Rule, Hughes, Murphy Prize is the most distinguished award W&J presents to sophomore class members,” said W&J President Tori Haring-Smith, Ph.D. “The Prize takes into account various aspects of student performance, including academics, citizenship and leadership. These students have earned this well-deserved recognition.”

Grecco, a Communication Arts and Gender and Women’s Studies double major, is an Alpha Scholar and a member of the Washington Fellows Honors Program. He serves as treasurer of the Diversity Programming Board, is a board member of the Gay-Straight Alliance, and is a member of the Alpha Lambda Delta Honorary Society. He also hosts a radio show on WNJR, W&J’s radio station, called “Our Take Weekly.” Grecco plans to pursue a career in broadcast journalism.

A Communication Arts major with an emphasis in Public Relations, March serves as the media chairman of both the Black Student Union and the Muslim Student Union. She is a Beta Scholar, and an active member of WNJR Radio Station, Alpha Lambda Delta, and the Zumba Club. She also is a high school mentor and a member of the women’s basketball team. March plans to pursue a career in marketing and social media management.

Nye is a Chemistry and Spanish double major with a minor in Mathematics. She is an active member of the swimming and diving team, track & field, Spanish Club, Alpha Lambda Delta, and the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority. She is an Alpha Scholar, and serves as a LINK mentor. Nye plans to pursue a career in chemical engineering.

Shideler is a double major in French and the 3-2 Engineering Program. An Alpha Scholar, he is active in wrestling, the W&J Choir, the Society of Physics, the Beta Theta Pi fraternity, and serves as a resident assistant. He is a member of the Washington Fellows Honors Program and, with Sobraske, initiated the Tom Talks presentations in 2015. He plans to pursue a career in engineering.

A Biochemistry and Business Administration major, Sobraske is an active member of Alpha Tau Omega fraternity, the Rotaract Club, Pre-Health Society, and the Washington Fellows Honors Program. An Alpha Scholar, Sobraske plans to attend medical school after graduating from W&J.

Trent, a Chemistry major with a Spanish minor, also is a member of the Washington Fellows Honors Program. He is an Alpha Scholar, and an active member of Alpha Lambda Delta, the Pre-Health Society, and Spanish Club. Trent plans to attend medical school and become a family physician.

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. For more information about W&J, visit, or call 888-W-AND-JAY.

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