Bridgewater College Announces 2024 Founder’s Day Awards

Founder's Day

Bridgewater College marked its observance of Founder’s Day on Tuesday, April 2, and presented awards to three faculty members for their excellence in teaching and scholarship, two staff members for dedicated service and one student for academic excellence. 

The Founder’s Day observance at Bridgewater commemorates the April 3, 1854, birth of Daniel Christian Flory who, at the age of 26, began a new school at Spring Creek in Rockingham County in 1880. The school, first known as Spring Creek Normal School, moved to Bridgewater two years later and changed its name to Bridgewater College on July 12, 1889. The College’s observance of Founder’s Day began in 1920.

“There could not be a better time–the day we remember the College’s founding—to celebrate the contributions of faculty, staff and students and the enduring power of the connections between us,” Bridgewater President David Bushman remarked at the ceremony in Nininger Hall. “Just as a braided rope is stronger than a single strand, and a quilt is more than a single block, we are better together – stronger, more resilient and more complete – than any of us could ever be on our own. The individuals we honor today embody the scope of the connections on which our work and our life together depend, and they represent the very best of Bridgewater College.”

Ernest “Skip” Burzumato, Senior Instructor of Sociology, received the Martha B. Thornton Faculty Recognition Award; Amanda Campbell, Professor of Health and Human Sciences, received the Ben and Janice Wade Outstanding Teaching Award; and Michael Hough, Associate Professor of Art, received the Faculty Scholarship Award.

Senior Associate Director of Admissions J. Mark Griffin was awarded the Daniel Christian Flory Award, and Jaime Penney, Senior Director of Advancement Services & Research,was the recipient of the James O. and Sylvia Kline Bowman Peace and Justice Award.

Aidan Keller, a senior health and exercise science and Spanish major from Strasburg, Va., received the Bridgewater College Founder’s Award.

About the honorees:

Martha B. Thornton Faculty Recognition Award
Prof. Ernest “Skip” Burzumato, Senior Instructor of Sociology, joined Bridgewater College in 2011. He was BC’s Director of Endowed Lectures from 2015 to 2019 and is now advisor for the minor in leadership and community engagement. He was honorably discharged from the U.S. Navy in 1990, following six years as a cryptologic technician. After graduating from Full Sail University’s Recording Arts Comprehensive Program in 1989, he earned his B.A. and M.A. in sociology from the University of Memphis in 1994 and 1996 respectively. Burzumato also earned an M.A. in Biblical studies from Reformed Theological Seminary (Miss.) in 1998. Burzumato volunteers with the Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance and has served on the boards of the Friendly City Food Co-op and the Massanutten Chapter of Trout Unlimited.

Ben and Janice Wade Outstanding Teaching Award
Dr. Amanda Campbell, Professor in the Department of Health and Human Sciences, joined the Bridgewater College faculty in 2007. She received a B.S. in health and physical education from James Madison University in 2001 and a M.Ed. in adapted physical education in 2002 and a Ph.D. in education—kinesiology in 2012, both from the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education. Campbell’s research has focused on barriers to childhood physical activity, especially in schools, and the accessibility of physical education for individuals with disabilities. She teaches courses on health and physical education, teaching methods and assessment and currently serves as coordinator for the Health and Physical Education Teacher Education Program. Campbell is also co-founder of the Shenandoah Valley Inclusive Wellness Coalition, a platform to connect individuals with disabilities, caregivers and wellness organizations to improve access and increase opportunities for physical activity.

Faculty Scholarship Award
Prof. Michael Hough, Associate Professor of Art and Director of the Beverly Perdue Art Gallery, joined the Bridgewater College faculty in 1997. He graduated from California State University with a B.A. in art in 1983 and an M.A. in ceramic sculpture in 1989. He earned an M.F.A. in ceramics from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1993. An artist for more than 40 years, Hough specializes in metal sculpture, ceramic sculpture and pottery. He has received a number of awards for his sculpture, held numerous solo exhibitions in local and regional galleries and exhibited in several museums. Images of his work have been published in books and magazines including the Korean magazine Monthly Ceramic Art, Mastering Raku by Steve Branfman, The Ceramic Design Book from Lark Books and Raku Pottery by Robert Piepenburg.

Daniel Christian Flory Award
Senior Associate Director of Admissions J. Mark Griffin, who is in his 35th year in the College’s Admissions Office, graduated from Bridgewater College with his B.A. in sociology in 1988. He earned his master of science in kinesiology/athletic administration from James Madison University in 1998. Since joining the admissions team in 1989, Griffin has served in various roles, with his current leading responsibility being the recruitment of new students primarily from the Shenandoah and Roanoke valleys. He has been a mentor to many admissions counselors in his years at BC and also serves as the team mentor for the women’s golf team. When you hear “Touchdown, Bridgewater!” on fall gamedays, it’s Griffin, who has served as the voice of Eagles football since 2001. Griffin is active in his church, where he has served as a deacon and youth advisor. He is also a contributing sportswriter for a number of regional newspapers.

James O. and Sylvia Kline Bowman Peace and Justice Award
Jaime Penney, Senior Director of Advancement Services & Research,earned a B.A. in history and political science from Bridgewater College in 2001 and an M.S.Ed. in higher education administration from ODU. She returned to the College in 2008 and has since filled several roles in the Office of Institutional Advancement, most recently overseeing all research and service needs in support of the College’s fundraising efforts. Her dedication extends beyond BC to the local community. Penney has led Girl Scouts for nearly a decade, not only as a troop leader but also as a service unit and summer camp leader. In recent years, Penney has added volunteerism with Scouts BSA and Augusta County 4-H to her list of priorities, serving as scoutmaster for two troops and Augusta 4-H Community Club assistant leader. Penney strives to make the world a better place and is passing along those same ideals to the next generation.

Bridgewater College Founder’s Award
Aidan Keller, from Strasburg, Va., is a senior health and exercise science and Spanish major and member of the Flory Honors program. In 2022, he participated in summer research funded by The Research Experience @ Bridgewater (TREB), partnering with Assistant Professor of Health and Human Sciences Dr. Michael Ray to conduct a literature review on the effectiveness of an educational technique used with chronic pain patients, research that was presented during a poster session at the U.S. Association for the Study of Pain. Keller is also a BC student ambassador and a mentor for Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. During the spring of his junior year, Keller studied abroad at Universidad Católica del Uruguay in Montevideo, Uruguay, and lived with a Spanish-speaking host family. Keller has been accepted into the doctor of physical therapy program at Shenandoah University in Winchester, Va., where he will enroll in the fall.

Media Contact:
Heather Cole
Editor & Media Relations Director