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Shellito earns ‘Spirit of Chowan’ Award

MURFREESBORO – Chowan University alumna and Director of Academic Assistance, Syble Shellito, received the third Spirit of Chowan Award on Thursday, September 7.

The award was presented to Shellito during a joint meeting of the Board of Trustees and Visitors, which was held during the University Celebration.

The Spirit of Chowan Award was conceived by a thoughtful member of the Chowan University Board of Trustees and is intended to recognize extraordinary individuals who embody the heart and soul of the university. The award is presented only when the university and the Spirit of Chowan Selection Committee identify a worthy recipient. Typical criteria include, but are not limited to, having at least three semesters participation in the Chowan community, enjoying good standing within the university, being in unison with the mission of the university, and embodying the heart and soul of the university. 

Shellito’s association with Chowan began in 1998 when she enrolled at Chowan as a freshman majoring in history.

“I had the privilege of serving as one of Syble’s professors and as her academic advisor. As her advisor, I watched her progress as a Chowan student closely. I have never encountered another student with as much motivation, ability and commitment to excellence as Syble,” stated Dr. Danny Moore, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs.

One example of her commitment to excellence is the public history internship she completed at the Elms Foundation in Franklin, Virginia. Her responsibilities included cataloguing and describing the Paul D. Camp family archive collection. Her work led to the construction of an archival building to house the collection. Shellito’s relationship with the foundation and the Camp family remains strong today.

During her tenure as a full-time student at Chowan, Shellito served as president of the History Club and Phi Alpha Theta, worked in the financial aid office several hours per week, served her church in Gates County in a variety of roles and became a mentor to her fellow classmates. She did all of this while raising six children, four of whom are enrolled at Chowan today.

By the time Shellito had graduated from Chowan in 2002, she had received numerous awards and honors, which include Membership in Phi Alpha Theta and Alpha Chi, Selection to Who’s Who Among America’s Colleges and Universities, the Excellence in Leadership Award, the Superior Citizenship Award and the Best All Around Student Award

Shellito also received Chowan’s highest academic honor, the Senior Scholastic Award, graduating summa cum laude.

Upon her graduation, Shellito accepted the position of Director of Career Services at Chowan. She remained in that position until May 2004 at which time she was appointed Director of Academic Assistance.

“Syble shines in this position. In her work with our students, she is levelheaded and wise,” Dr. Moore stated. “She is always thoughtful and sensitive to their needs and feelings. She is completely at ease with students of all ages, cultures, and socio-economic levels and is quick to establish a warm and intense level of communication. Students like and respect her. She has a natural flair, a rare infectious enthusiasm that fires the imagination of the students she assists. She knows how to engage and inspire them, and they find it easy to relate to her.”

In the eight years Shellito has been associated with Chowan, she has demonstrated time and time again that she is a gifted and hard-working individual, who is dedicated to serving Chowan, our students, and the larger community through her work. She is simply the best and the brightest Chowan has to offer. She embodies the spirit of Chowan.

The Spirit of Chowan Award was established to recognize individuals who embody the heart and soul of the university. This may be a student who has overcome significant adversity, has displayed the characteristics of a servant in the model of Christ and remains committed to the mission of the university and his or her personal relationship with God. Or, there may be instances when extraordinary members of the faculty or staff so embody the spirit of the history, mission and perseverance of the university that they warrant recognition with the Spirit of Chowan Award. 

As a recipient of the Spirit of Chowan Award, Shellito will receive a medallion. Her name and the year of her selection will be added to a perpetual plaque that hangs prominently in the McDowell Columns.

The first Spirit of Chowan Award was presented to Genevieve Grier, a Chowan College student in 2003. Grier exhibited great courage and Christian faith in living with a physical malady that eventually took her life. The second Spirit of Chowan was awarded in 2004 to Sami El-Maasarani, Pioneer College Caterers’ Director of Food Services. During Hurricane Isabel, and later when campus water main breaks threatened Homecoming activities, he went beyond the call of duty to accommodate students and guests alike.