The Smith, Stern & Connelley Awards

These Awards are Presented at the Annual SAIL Event

  • The Bishop Robert Smith, Ted Stern Cup and Alexander Chambliss Connelley awards are presented at the annual S.A.I.L Event - formerly SALA Awards Event. 
  • SAIL is an acronym for Student Achievement, Involvement & Leadership Awards. 

Award Recipients

The Bishop Robert Smith Award 

This is the highest and most selective honor an undergraduate can achieve at the College of Charleston.  
The award recipients receive a plaque, a monetary award and recognition during the graduation ceremony.  

2020 Award Recipients

Our highest senior student honor for the college, recipient(s) are chosen on the basis of consistent exemplary leadership and academic excellence by a committee composed of the Provost, the Executive Vice President for Student Affairs and former award recipient.

Our Recipient is Niamh Cahill.

Niamh is a Biochemistry major and Spanish minor who intends to study medicine after graduation. She has a perfect 4.0 GPA in a very challenging major. In addition, she has been an Aiken Fellow in the Honors College and was a member of the Medical Humanities cohort. She is the recipient of numerous college scholarships (Swanson Family, Edward Emerson Towell in Chemistry, CofC Merit, and Presidential Scholarship). She is a member of Omicron Delta Kappa (a national leadership honor society), Phi Kappa Phi (Honor Society), Alpha Epsilon Delta (Pre-med honor society), and Alpha Chi Sigma (Chemistry Service fraternity).

Niamh has played a pivotal role in the continued success for Charleston Miracle. She was a part of the first Executive Team to exceed $100,000+ raised in a single year for MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital. Most recently, she led 50+ student leaders to their goal, all while navigating the devastating news of event cancellation due to the coronavirus. Niamh and her team still managed to raise over $100,000 again. 

Niamh threw herself into all that the College has to offer by participating in a Medlife service learning trip her first winter break and an FYE neuroscience exploration of the Danish healthcare system in Copenhagan in the spring. These choices, like many others, were carefully selected to prepare her for an eventual career in medicine. Medlife provides access to medical care for the rural and urban poor in Equador, Peru, Nicaragua, and Tanzania. Her commitment to the Medlife program is particularly noteworthy. Niamh combined her major in biochemistry and a minor in Spanish in her extensive service to the Medlife organization.

Niamh also managed to squeeze in all of the other normal experiences expected of a pre-med student. She obtained numerous shadowing experiences including the SCRUBS program at Roper St. Francis, participated in undergraduate research, and volunteered at the Ronald McDonald House for four years. Her research project in Dr. Wendy Cory’s lab involved studying the effects of accelerated aging and irradiation on meclizine tablets for NASA Space Mission Planning. She presented her work at the Southeast Regional Meeting of the American Chemical Society in Savannah this past fall. In summary, as one nominator penned, “it would be difficult for me to recall a student who combined academic excellence, service with an international reach, advanced scholarly pursuit, and local campus leadership so well. She is simply both an academic and service superstar. She is a natural choice for the Bishop Robert Smith Award.”

Previous Bishop Robert Smith Award Recipients

The Ted Stern Cup

The Theodore S. Stern Cup Award recipients receive a Silver Cup and a monetary award. 

2020 Ted Stern CupThis cup honors a member of the Senior Class of the College of Charleston who by character and influence has best and most faithfully exemplified the high ideals and exemplary qualities of former President Dr. Theodore S. Stern both in the College and the community. 

First Recipient: Olivia Rothstein

Olivia exemplifies the qualities of President Stern, according to her nominators. She has worked both inside and outside the classroom to make the College of Charleston a better place.  From working as a student employee in the Political Science department to serving the Student Government Association, she exercised a style of leadership which attracts others to join her.  Olivia has been devoted to serving others since she arrived on campus. She has not only served students well through the Student Government Association and the College Democrats, working hard particularly for those with fewer resources and those with excluded voices, but she has fought tirelessly for younger students who may not even have the idea of college in their near future, assuring they have the support they need to achieve as much as they can with an eye toward helping them imagine that college could be part of their coming years. During her time in the Student Government Association, she collaborated with administration to institute the campus overhaul of integrated clock system, initiated and passed legislation to improve awareness of disability services on campus, promote diversity and inclusion on campus, and designed and implemented a process for students to self-report incidents of harm and distress.

Olivia's commitment to excellence has won her opportunities like the internship she completed in Munich last summer, working on very important and sensitive projects related to preserving the voices and experiences of Nazi victims. In her Bachelor's Essay, Olivia is analyzing the political effects of Confederate monuments by connecting the presence of monuments to political outcomes such as voter turnout, an imaginative and important project.

Second Recipient: Asia Pitts

In 2019, Asia was selected as the first recipient of the Jill Conway Scholarship Award, established by Honors College retiree Jill Conway in order to recognize a current Honors College Student who has demonstrated engagement, personal growth, curiosity, and leadership. This award is especially significant because students are nominated by their peers.

Ms. Pitts has also achieved great success in the broader South Carolina community as a student, both in Charleston, and in her hometown of Spartanburg. This year, Asia served as a campus leader and organizer for Charleston Area Justice Ministry (CAJM), working to establish a strong CofC chapter.  She also planned and organized the “Minority Youth Empowerment Weekend,” a 2-day event for 75 minority youth in the city of Spartanburg. Asia was selected for a position with the Direct Action and Research Training Center (DART). She will have the opportunity to serve as a Lead Organizer and establish a new DART organization in Savannah, Georgia. She held multiple leadership positions in Journey: A Worshipping Community, including Outreach Chair and Vice Moderator. She was also a founding member of the Scholar-Citizen Initiative, a student group that fosters relationships between individuals on campus and in the Charleston community, raises awareness of critical social issues, and affects positive change through civic engagement and education.

Previous Ted Stern Cup Recipients

Alexander Chambliss Connelley Award

The award is presented to the student of the graduating class who has made the most unselfish contribution to the student body and the College of Charleston. It is awarded for special achievement. The Recipient receives a plaque and monetary award.

2020: The recipient of the 2020 Alexander Chambliss Connelley Award is Katherine "Abbie" Kline.

Abbie Kline's engagement in the community is unique because in most cases, she has sought to draw in both the campus and the broader Charleston community. She has a unique and comprehensive understanding of service based on inclusivity and synergy. This penchant for inclusive leadership is a hallmark of Abbie’s leadership. Abbie was a co-liaison with a fellow student on the Green Heart project. The Project builds garden-based experiential learning projects for students of all ages.  She also served as President of the Rotoract Club, which brings students together to exchange ideas with leaders in the Charleston community and develop leadership and professional skills. Additionally, Abbie organized the Hurricane Matthew Relief for Haiti Student Fundraiser, served as a leader in the Campus Outreach Leadership Project, and co-founded Cougars with Purpose, which seeks to rally students together to advocate for and work towards curing pediatric cancer.  She organized the Lowcountry Citizens' Summit, an event that seeks to bridge the gap between the campus and the community by serving as an interdisciplinary venue for conversations regarding the construction and sustaining of a productive, equitable Lowcountry community.

Previous Alexander Chambliss Connelley Award Recipients

What is the Nomination Criteria for these Awards

Who were the men who named the Awards?

Bishop Robert Smith Award 

This is the highest and most selective honor a graduating student can achieve at the College of Charleston. The Bishop Robert Smith Award was established by former President Theodore Stern to recognize students who demonstrate exceptional leadership and academic excellence. These award winners are selected by a committee composed of the Provost, the Executive Vice President for Student Affairs and former award winners. Each nomination comes from a group of faculty and staff members.

Who was Bishop Robert Smith?

Bishop Robert Smith (1732–1801) was the first American Episcopal bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina. At age 25, Smith became the rector of St. Philip's Episcopal Church, Charleston. He was consecrated bishop of South Carolina in 1795, the sixth bishop in the American Episcopal succession.

Smith was one of the prominent South Carolinians to sign the charter of the College of Charleston in 1785. Smith also served as the first president of the College between 1790 and 1797. He maintained his residence at 6 Glebe Street, in Charleston's Harleston Village neighborhood, between the house's construction in 1770 and his death in 1801. This house was constructed on the glebe of St. Philip's Episcopal Church as the parsonage house. Additionally, it served as the location of some of the College's first classes. The house is now a part of the College of Charleston, serving as its President's House, and is officially known as the Bishop Robert Smith House.

Theodore S. Stern Cup Award 

Dr. Ted Stern, President of the College from 1968-1978, passed away January, 2013 not long after his 100th birthday.  As we have awarded The Theodore S. Stern Cup Award for many years, we continue to honor his legacy with the presentation of this award to the most deserving member of the senior class. 

The Theodore S. Stern Cup Award was established in 1975 and presented anonymously on the occasion of his 25th wedding anniversary.  When Dr. Stern retired, the cup was passed to honor a member of the Senior Class of the College of Charleston who has most faithfully served the interests and ideals of the College. And who by character and influence has best exemplified the ideals and qualities of Theodore S. Stern, both in the College and the community. The Theodore S. Stern Cup Award recipients receive a Silver Cup and a monetary award. 

Who was Ted Stern?

Dr. Ted Stern, (1912-2013) was the sixteenth president of the College of Charleston.  When he arrived on campus in 1968, there were 432 students enrolled. During his ten-year administration, the future of the College was insured through the construction of new facilities (including the Robert Scott Small Library and the Stern Student Center), the enrollment of minority and international students, and recruitment of skilled and accredited faculty and staff.  He also transitioned the College from a private to state institution.  In addition to his role as President of the College, Dr. Stern helped found the Coastal Community Foundation in 1974 and served as the Chairman of the Board of the Spoleto Festival from 1977 to 1985.  

Alexander Chambliss Connelley Award

The award is presented to the student of the senior class who has made the most unselfish contribution(s) to the student body and the College of Charleston.  It is awarded to a student of the graduating class for special achievement. Nominations will be accepted from the student body, faculty, and staff.  The recipient receives a plaque and monetary award. 

This award winner is selected by the Faculty Committee on Student Affairs. 

Who was Alexander Chambliss Connelley?

Alexander Chambliss Connelley was born in Charleston 1882. He was devoted to the College of Charleston, was elected a Trustee in 1927, and spent a very large amount of time and effort as Chairman of its Finance Committee.  He gave wise and  prudent counsel and guidance to his fellow Trustees and was always ready and anxious to do anything that he could to help the College. 

He served the Charleston community in many capacities: Charleston city alderman, president of the St. Andrew's Society and the Associated Charities Association of Charleston, president of the Country Club of Charleston (retiring the entire debt in his term), president of the Charleston Rotary Club and member of numerous other civic and fraternal organizations. Read more from The College Today:

The "Alexander Chambliss Connelley Award" was named and established by Connelley himself to be awarded to a student of the graduating class for special achievement of a nature to be determined each year by the Trustees.


More information here: