Adrian College is an institution founded on tradition. One of its most recent customs has been Ribbons of Excellence Day, held every spring semester.
The Ribbons of Excellence are five categories or “ribbons” – developing creativity, caring for humanity and the world, learning throughout a lifetime, thinking critically, and crossing boundaries and disciplines – which support the College’s mission statement. The idea is derived from the Cane Ceremony, in which a colored ribbon with the names of every graduating senior is tied to the Shepherd’s Crook each year. It is passed from the president of the senior class to the president of the junior class at commencement.
Tuesday marked the fourth installment of the prestigious event. Student presentations in all five disciplines were presented to peers, faculty and staff, and family members. Heather Schuyler, assistant professor of athletic training education, organized the day’s events.
“What I take from Ribbons of Excellence is how each student takes what they learn and can turn it into a format for others to comprehend,” said Dave Napieralski, coordinator of Greek Life and theme housing. “It’s very exciting as an administrator to see this.”
There were numerous presentations all day, the earliest beginning at 9 a.m., and ending with a series of poster sessions at 5 p.m. in the Adrian-Tobias Room.
One of the early afternoon sessions was given by junior Sarah Nietupski, who explored the work of Ludwig van Beethoven and how he used the horn (not the French horn) in two major works. She opened her presentation with a performance of “Sonata for Horn and Piano, Opus 17” to illustrate one of Beethoven’s composing techniques called Rondo form.
Nietupski went on to introduce Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3 “Eroica,” explaining that it was the first major symphony to include three horns. She played excerpts from Movement III to emphasize her point.
Other sessions, such as junior Cyle Rogotzke’s, were focused on contemporary issues. Rogotzke spoke on the lack of health literacy – the ability to understand health information – in the United States. He conducted a campus wide survey in which he discovered that students could identify certain doctoral professions and recognize the difference between a deductible and co-pay, but had difficulty distinguishing health care plans and understanding medical information.
“I thought it would be a good way to further educate myself in my chosen field,” Rogotzke said. “It’s also a good resume builder…It’s important for students to show what they can do and for other students to learn other aspects of education.”
Still other presenters, such as senior Lauren Fabian, engaged themselves in a text and presented their findings. Fabian’s speech was centered on the biblical characters of John the Baptist and Isaac, specifically focusing on their birth narratives. She concluded that both characters never achieve their potential and are overshadowed by the next major character in each story.
“I like how it gives people the opportunity to show their senior research in a professional setting,” junior Annie Gigowski said.
The day concluded with a special honors ceremony, which celebrated the academic accomplishments of AC students. Senior Krystin Stiefel was honored with the first-ever award given for an exceptional Ribbons of Excellence presentation. Her speech focused on comparing the cleanup of the Chernobyl nuclear meltdown from over 25 years ago to the recent disaster at Fukushima in Japan. The faculty voted her presentation the best of the day.