June 8, 2020
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Justala Simpson Honored with Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award
Montgomery, Ala.—Huntingdon College Class of 2020 graduate Justala Faith Simpson of Montgomery was honored with the College’s prestigious Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award in May.
The award is presented annually to a Huntingdon College senior whom the College believes exemplifies the definition of “nobility of character” as established by the Sullivan Foundation: “…we reserve the word ‘noble’ carefully for those whose greatness is not spent in their own interests; … for one who goes outside the narrow circle of self-interest and begins to spend themselves for the interest of mankind.” According to the Foundation, the recipient should possess “fine spiritual qualities, practically applied to daily living” such that the “spiritual standard of the institution may be judged by the character of the person to whom the award is made.”
Simpson, a religion major, was active in and held leadership roles for Huntingdon Campus Ministries and the Huntingdon Leadership Academy. She was also active in her sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., and served on the executive council of the College’s Student Government Association, as a Huntingdon Ambassador and Student Recruiter, and as a member of the Huntingdon Concert Choir, among other organizations. Passionate about youth and teaching ministries, she interned with the Huntingdon Leadership Academy and with First United Methodist Church-Montgomery.
Simpson is a local and denominational leader in the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, serving as the youth liaison on the planning committee for General Conference 2020 and as youth president of the AMEZ Church. She also served on the planning committee for the denomination-wide Midwinter Gathering for Christian Education for Youth and Young Adults.
Huntingdon religion professor Dr. Diane Abernethy stated, “I have seen that her academic abilities, astute theological reasoning, wide-range of ministry experiences, and gifts for leadership demonstrate the nobility of character and fine spiritual qualities recognized by the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award.”
The daughter of two pastors, The Reverends Harold and Lessie Simpson, Justala also feels called to ministry as her vocation. She will enter seminary study at Candler School of Theology at Emory University this fall, where she received a full-tuition Presidential Scholarship to continue her education, discernment, and development as a leader in the Church.
The Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award and Mary Mildred Sullivan Award are presented annually to a student and non-student member of the Huntingdon College community, respectively, and are supported by the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Foundation. The Foundation provides the awards to approximately 70 colleges and and universities in the American South each year. The awards have been given since 1890 and were first presented by the membership of the New York Southern Society, including U.S. President Grover Cleveland.
Simpson is a 2017 graduate of Brewbaker Technology Magnet High School. At Huntingdon, she was inducted into Sigma Sigma Sigma, Theta Alpha Kappa, and Order of Omega honor societies. A summa cum laude graduate, she received the Margaret Read Scholarship Medal upon graduation with her Bachelor of Arts degree. This spring, she was also recognized with the Louise Panigot Award as the senior religion major “who holds the greatest promise for scholarly achievement in the field of philosophy and in the academic study of religion.”
Huntingdon College continues a legacy of faith, wisdom, and service through a residential liberal arts academic tradition grounded in the Judeo-Christian heritage of the United Methodist Church.
Huntingdon College is committed to a policy against legally impermissible, arbitrary, or unreasonable discriminatory practices. Therefore, the College, in accordance with applicable federal and state law and stated College policy, prohibits discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived race, color, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, religion, age and/or national origin.