Graduates Recognized for Academic Success, Service to Others, Campus Leadership

Tuesday, June 02, 2020
Images of Connor Ray and Rachel Shubella smiling.

Recognized as outstanding 2020 graduates were Connor Ray, recipient of the John T. Royse Award, and Rachel Shubella, who received the Herman A. Moench Distinguished Senior Commendation. Three others earned Heminway Gold Medals.

Chemical engineering and chemistry students Connor Ray and Rachel Shubella from Rose-Hulman’s Class of 2020 have been honored for their service to campus and community, along with outstanding scholastic success, while three other new graduates were recognized at this year’s virtual Commencement, May 30, for perfection during their academic careers.

Ray earned the John T. Royse Award for being considered the most outstanding graduate, in the opinion of Rose-Hulman’s faculty and staff, based upon academic achievement, student leadership, participation in co-curricular activities, and general campus citizenship.

Meanwhile, Shubella of Salt Lake City, Utah, received the Herman A. Moench Distinguished Senior Commendation for distinguishing herself as a commendable influence on members of the Rose-Hulman community, according to Herman A. Moench Distinguished Professor Thom Adams, a professor of mechanical engineering.

Ray excelled in all aspects of his Rose-Hulman career, according to Erik Hayes, vice president for student affairs and dean of students. The Lockport, Illinois, native had a near-perfect 3.99 grade point average while being a double academic major. He also had an important role in campus residence life as a two-year resident assistant (RA), helping first-year students successfully transition to college life, and vice president of the Residence Hall Association.

One student told Hayes that Ray “is a large reason that I decided to stay at Rose-Hulman. He is a fantastic RA and person, and has really made this decision to come to Rose-Hulman worth it.” Then, one of Ray’s professors added, “Connor makes his world and the world of those around him better through his maturity and warm demeanor.”

Ray was a member of the Office of Admissions’ A-team, leading prospective student campus tours, and served as president of Rose-Hulman’s Chem-E-Car student competition team. He also initiated several community service activities with the United Way of the Wabash Valley, Terre Haute’s Ryves Hall Youth Center, and local elementary schools.

Royse served as a member of Rose-Hulman’s Board of Trustees for several years. His son, John N. Royse, is an emeritus member of the board.

Shubella was cited for being a model engineering and science student who has conducted basic research that has been disseminated at the national level. She participated in teams that earned second-place honors in the PepsiCo/Society of Women Engineers’ National Student Engineering Challenge and third place in the American Institute for Chemical Engineers’ kindergarten-12th grade student outreach competition. As a chemistry student, Shubella has twice made research project presentations at the National American Chemical Society conference.

Adams noted, “Rachel believes teams are more important than individuals, and she has inspired her fellow Rose students to strive to be their best in all their endeavors. Nowhere is this more evident than in her attending two different conferences on opposite ends of the country on the same weekend. Rachel took a red-eye flight from Orlando, Florida, to Orange County, California, in order to serve as an ambassador for Rose-Hulman and to support her teammates.”

At Rose-Hulman, Shubella was president of the campus chapter of the American Institute for Chemical Engineers, was a four-year, three-season varsity track and cross country student-athlete, and helped tutor fellow students in the Learning Center for four years. She was a member of the college’s Alpha Chi Sigma and Omega Chi Epsilon student organizations and contributed to a variety of local outreach activities, including the Vigo County Literacy Fair.

Herman A. Moench was a legendary Rose-Hulman professor and administrator.

Earning the Heminway Gold Medal for attaining the highest academic achievement, with a perfect 4.0-grade point average, during their Rose-Hulman careers were Jiaxuan Chen from China, a double major in electrical engineering and mathematics; Kevin Ferguson from Plainfield, Illinois, a double major in mechanical engineering and mathematics; and Gabriel Paree-Huff from Fishers, Indiana, who earned a degree in electrical engineering.

Sarah Heminway, a cousin of the institute’s founder, Chauncey Rose, established the Heminway Gold Medal award in 1888 to honor outstanding student academic achievement.