Return of in-person Prize Day for 112 distinct awards


Courtesy of Office of Communications and Marketing

Bethany Costello ’22 is the recipient of the Bailey Prize.

Daniel Greenman, News Editor

On May 14, Prize Day was held in Memorial Chapel, in person for the first time since 2019. 112 prizes were given from academic and other departments to students.

One of the top honors, the Josephine Daggett Prize for “a senior of the best conduct and character,” went to Unglid Paul ’22. Paul also won the David Brind (1982) Memorial Prize in English for an outstanding senior English student, the George H. Catlin (1867) Prize for graduating liberal art senior with the best scholastic record and who is most promising for graduate study and work in college teaching, the President’s Commission on the Status of Women Senior Thesis Prize to a senior whose thesis contributed most to scholarship on women, and the Mrs. Edwin L. Rich Prize to an English major who has demonstrated outstanding scholarship. In awarding the Daggett Prize, President Harris recognized Paul’s focus on equity and equality at Union. Paul has been active in the Office of Intercultural Affairs, having led dialogue-based programs there. She also founded Spill the Tea to create a space for Union community members to discuss diversity, equity, and inclusion. She leads Union’s Gospel Choir as well. Paul also lived and studied in Senegal, volunteering there with the Association des Juristes Sénégalaises, a pro bono female lawyer’s group aiding children and low-income women who are domestic violence victims.

“What means the most to me,” said Paul of the Daggett Prize, “was that there were people who saw the work I was doing, who saw my heart, my character, and my conduct[…] I love being a writing tutor. I love being a senior intern, and ambassador for this school. I love Spill The Tea and the amazing and tough discussions we have all over this campus. I love being a Posse Scholar. I am passionate about Black women’s history, Haitian history, poetry, writing, and teaching. The fact that I’ve been able to explore all of these passions the way I have so far says a lot about the opportunities available at Union.”

The other top honor, the Frank Bailey (1885) Prize to the “senior who has rendered the greatest service to the College in any field,” went to Bethany Costello ’22. Costello also won the Joel A. Halpern (1961) Prize for “a student who has made a commitment in service to the local community,” and the Ethel Kirchenbaum Memorial Prize to a senior with “best potential for furthering the ideals of the engineering profession,” and the Mortimore F. Sayre Prize to a senior with “the best potential for furthering the ideals of the mechanical engineering profession.” Costello chairs the sustainability club U-Sustain, Student Forum’s VP of Sustainability and chairs the Union’s Sustainability Committee. She has also won the $25,000 Green Fee, which went to installing eight new water-bottle-filling stations at Union. She was also given a Udall scholarship, and a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, the latter granting the opportunity to travel to cities across Europe and Asia to aid environmentalist grassroots and policy organizations. She also co-organized Student Efforts to Advance Sustainability NY, a conference that involved over 140 students from 32 New York campuses.

When asked to describe the work that won her the Bailey Prize, Costello highlighted sustainability as her “focus throughout four years,” involving her time in clubs, work like coordinating volunteers to man waste stations, and more. Costello hopes her work on Union’s Climate Action Plan will continue after she leaves. At Union she has worked with administrators and trustees to “move forward in really making a new Climate Action Plan” with the “required research needed.” She highlighted that in Harris’ essay on this year’s Bailey Prize, he mentioned the Plan. “I like to think I’ve involved enough other people and “talked enough to other students that they’ll pick up the cause.” To her the prize was “celebratory,” reflecting opportunities at Union she was “very grateful for.”