Grace Anne Cochrane, Language and Literature major, has been named the recipient of Lee University’s 2021 Zeno C. Tharp Award. Dr. Mark Walker, president of Lee, recognized her for this achievement in a chapel service.
The Zeno C. Tharp Award is given annually to the Lee senior who shows the greatest promise of making a significant contribution to the Church. Established in 1955, the award is named in honor of the sixth president of Lee, who served from 1935-44. Each department may nominate one student for the award. A winner is selected by faculty vote from this group of nominees.
“In many ways, Grace Anne has already begun living out a vocation as a scholar, a teacher, and a spiritual advisor, and we firmly believe she will make a significant impact to the Body of Christ,” said Dr. Donna Summerlin, chair of the Department of Language and Literature.
Ms. Cochrane is a double major in biblical/theological studies and English literature. While at Lee, she has been involved with the Kairos Scholars Honors and McNair Scholars programs; Theta Alpha Kappa, the national honor society for religious studies and theology; and Sigma Tau Delta, the national English honor society. She has worked as a teaching assistant and student worker in the School of Religion for various professors. She is also president of Big Pal Little Pal, which she’s been involved in since freshman year.
“Receiving this award is such a huge honor, but it would be a lie to act like I've achieved this on my own,” said Ms. Cochrane. “I can't even begin to express how significant a role my friends, mentors, and professors here at Lee have played in my life over these four years. I really mean it when I say I wouldn't be here without them. To God be the glory for the gift of friendship.”
After graduation, she plans to enroll in an English Master of Arts program at Marquette University under a fully-funded teaching assistantship.
“Grace Anne beautifully understands the value of approaching Scripture with the same analytical rigor we apply to literature in our major; she knows that the study of one intensifies our understanding of the other,” said Ashley Mulligan, assistant professor of English at Lee. “By pursuing a study of both literature and theology in graduate school, I know that she'll set herself for a vocation that deeply impacts the Kingdom of God.”