Lang, Cavanaugh win Taylor and Warner awards as outstanding seniors
Christopher Lang
Alyson Cavanaugh


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10:13 a.m., May 13, 2010----The University of Delaware Alumni Association has selected Christopher Lang and Alyson Cavanaugh as the recipients of the Alexander J. Taylor Sr. and Emalea Pusey Warner awards for UD's 2010 graduating class.

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The awards are given annually to recognize the outstanding man and woman, respectively, in the graduating class who most exemplify leadership, academic success and community service.

Christopher Lang

Lang, from Newark, Del., is graduating with a bachelor of science degree in finance and economics and an Honors bachelor of arts degree in political science. He will be attending New York University School of Law in the fall, with the hopes of practicing corporate law in the future and finding time to give back to his community, hometown and the University of Delaware.

Throughout his time at UD, Lang has maintained a 3.593 grade point average and has achieved Dean's List every semester. Lang has been active in the University community, serving as president of his fraternity, Kappa Delta Rho, and as the captain and president of the UD men's club soccer team. Both groups won national recognition under his leadership. He also serves as a member of the Lerner College of Business and Economics Student Advisory Board.

Lang said he felt honored and excited to receive the award, citing its prestige and tradition.

“The University of Delaware has provided me with a outstanding academic environment coupled with amazing opportunities, experiences and friendships that have allowed me to learn about not only the world around me but also myself,” Lang said. “I hope to be able to continue to exhibit the values of leadership, academic success and community service that this award stands for as I move on from the University of Delaware.”

“Chris is a very bright, industrious and engaged young man with a strong commitment to public life,” said James Magee, professor of political science and international relations. “At some point in the not too distant future, he will emerge in Delaware as one of the state's promising public leaders.”

Alyson Cavanaugh

Cavanaugh, from Danville, Pa., is graduating with an Honors degree with distinction in human services with a concentration in clinical services and a minor in psychology.

The Dean's Scholar student will begin pursuing a joint master's/doctorate degree in human development and family studies at the University of North Carolina Greensboro in the fall, with the goal of helping connect families, youth and communities to mental health services in schools, while also decreasing the barriers for youth in receiving a quality education within national and international localities.

While at UD, Cavanaugh has maintained a 3.91 grade point average and was accepted into UD's accelerated master's program. Cavanaugh received a Woman of Promise Certificate of Distinction from the University two years in a row. She has given numerous research presentations at various conferences, winning first place for her poster, “Adolescent Anxiety and Coping,” at the Marion Steele Symposium in 2009.

Cavanaugh said she was honored to receive the award and was reminded by a professor that not only does the award provide recognition for a student's accomplishments, but it also recognizes a student's potential.

“Emalea Warner was an amazing woman who believed in the potential of others and opened the door for women at the University of Delaware,” Cavanaugh said, crediting much of her own success to her professors, mentors and advisers who opened many doors through their overwhelming support, encouragement and advice. “I hope to inspire students in a similar way to help others believe in their potential.”

Cavanaugh has been very involved in her community, both in Danville and her second home over the past four years, UD. She has served as an executive board member of Kappa Omicron Nu Honor Society, an ambassador for the College of Education and Public Policy, a volunteer at the Emmaus House homeless shelter in Newark and a camp counselor for the Ronald McDonald House in Pennsylvania.

“Alyson's intelligence, clear insight and concern for others make her an excellent candidate for working with people in her future career,” said Julie Mapes Wilgen, associate professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies. “She takes her responsibilities seriously, is dependable and follows through with her assigned tasks.”

The awards

Alexander J. Taylor Sr. (1875-1940) entered Delaware College in 1889 and graduated in 1893 as class valedictorian, with a baccalaureate degree in civil engineering. Mr. Taylor was elected to the Board of Trustees in 1927, reelected in 1932 and again in 1938. He served on the Grounds and Buildings Committee and Executive Committee and was chairman of the Finance Committee.

Emalea Pusey Warner (1853-1948) is best remembered on the University of Delaware campus as a champion of education. In 1911, she became chairperson of the State Federation of Women's Clubs' Committee on Education and worked diligently toward the specific goal of establishing a state-supported women's college. In 1914, she was appointed chairperson of the Advisory Council of the Women's College and later became the first woman member of the Delaware College Board of Trustees. Both Warner Hall on the UD campus and Warner Elementary School in Wilmington are named in her honor.

The Warner Award was first given in 1950 while the Taylor award debuted in 1968. Recipients are recognized with a $2,500 scholarship, are honored at a luncheon and lead the alumni delegates' procession at Commencement.

Article by Jon Bleiweis
Photos by Ambre Alexander