August 12, 2022

Eagle Awards Celebrate Campus Leaders, Dean Rucker

Senior Brianna Reaves received the Grace Mann Launch Award at the recent Eagle Awards ceremony, while Dean Cedric Rucker received the new Eagle Beyond Compare Award. Photo by Kayla Zegada.

Senior Brianna Reaves received the Grace Mann Launch Award at the recent Eagle Awards ceremony, while Dean Cedric Rucker received the new Eagle Beyond Compare Award. Photo by Kayla Zegada.

University of Mary Washington senior Brianna Reaves was presented with the Grace Mann Launch Award during the annual Eagle Awards last Thursday. Held in person for the first time since the pandemic, the event honored more than a dozen campus leaders in the University Center’s Chandler Ballroom. A newly established award was presented to Cedric Rucker, associate vice president and dean of Student Life, who will retire this June.

“Every class is amazing, but looking out at the students gathered here tonight – you’ve led our community through one of the most difficult times in its history,” UMW President Troy Paino said. “You embody the Mary Washington spirit.”

Rucker, visibly emotional throughout the ceremony, presented Reaves with the $6,900 award. “With tireless initiative, integrity, institutional investment … her leadership is deeply respected across all sectors of the University community,” said Rucker, acknowledging Reaves’ achievement as the first Black female student to become UMW Student Government Association president.

Grace Mann was a UMW leader and social justice activist who died seven years ago during her junior year. Her parents established an endowment for an annual financial award to be presented to a graduating senior who exemplifies Mann’s commitment to social justice, equality and advocacy.

Reaves, a sociology major and social justice minor, began her Mary Washington experience by becoming elected class president during her freshman and sophomore years. After participating in a 2018 Social Justice Fall Break Trip through the James Farmer Multicultural Center (JFMC), she made it her mission to make UMW a more inclusive and welcoming community. Read more.