Five W&J students outside

W&J Honors 2020-2021 Rule, Hughes, Murphy Recipients

Created: September 15, 2021  |  Last Updated: September 15, 2021  |  Category:   |  Tagged:

WASHINGTON, PA (Sept. 15, 2021) – Five Washington & Jefferson College students were honored Sept. 14 as recipients of the Rule, Hughes, Murphy Award, which recognizes high-achieving sophomore students at the college.

The 2020-2021 recipients are Garrett Franco, Lekhya Kollu, Neil Pandit, Evan Sante, and Zivya Sutton. Details of the winners are below.

The James Rule (W&J Class of 1898), Howard Hughes (Class of 1911) and Robert Murphy (Class of 1906) Memorial Fund was established in 1987 through the bequest of an anonymous donor and annually provides a monetary award to select students.

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.

Garrett Franco
Major: Math
Co-curricular engagement: LINK mentor, off-campus job at Target
Quote from nominator: “He is a strong student in my course, demonstrates ‘big picture’ learning, and is already demonstrating leadership potential. Having had more tie to get to know Garrett, I find I am unfailingly impressed by his maturity and character.”

Lekhya Kollu
Major: Biology (Temple Medical Scholars Program)
Co-curricular engagement: Co-founded a free mentoring program for first-gen immigrant high school students, biology lab assistant, Peer Mental Health Counselor, volunteer with the Crisis Text Line, volunteers at a soup kitchen and her local community food bank in NJ.
Quote from nominator: “I think you will find that Lekhya is academically excellent, has strong leadership skills and has volunteered her time to various causes attesting to her character and community service.”

Neil Pandit
Major: Neuroscience (pre-health track)
Co-curricular engagement: Admission Student Ambassador, Healthcare Advocacy Intern (State of MA), LINK mentor, SGA rep and dining services liaison, Prez2Prez Peer Health Educator, Alpha Phi Omega Treasurer, Interfaith Leadership Club member
Quote from nominator: “Neil is a respectful, hard-working, and involved leader on campus and possesses ‘uncommon integrity’.”

Evan Sante
Major: Biochemistry (pre-health track)
Co-Curricular engagement: W&J Baseball team, SAAC: Community Service Chair and Executive Board member, Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society, Washington Fellows
Quote from nominator: “He is a very disciplined and serious student who is involved in many ways at W&J College, and I admire his work ethic, character, and leadership development.”

Zivya Sutton
Major: International Relations and Economics
Co-curricular engagement: W&J Orientation Student Coordinator, Big Brother Big Sisters Mentor,  Matthew Brown Fellowship Scholar, SGA Secretary and liaison to Academic Affairs, Vira I. Heinz Scholarship recipient, ALD Honor Society, Summer Intern with Jewish Family Services, Intern to Director of Conference and Events, Washington Fellows, W&J Dining Committee
Quote from nominator: “I could see that she is destined for impressive work connecting the local to the global, the people to the issues. Her academic record is flawless, she has chosen a rigorous curriculum, and she has already demonstrated leadership potential, both on- and off- campus.”


About Washington & Jefferson College

Washington & Jefferson College, proudly located in Washington, Pa., is a historic liberal arts college founded in 1781 that values ethical leadership, professional readiness, and inclusive communities. Our highly customized and intellectually engaging student experience develops professionals of uncommon integrity to lead in an ever-changing world. For more information about W&J, visit, or call 888-W-AND-JAY.