James A. Durling '14 Receives 2014 Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award

This award citation was read during Davidson College's 177th commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 18, 2014.

It is my privilege to announce the student and community recipients of the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award. It  is given annually on this day to those individuals who exemplifies the "fine spiritual qualities practically applied to daily living, usually going to persons who have given unselfish service without due recognition." 

Our student recipient is an individual of exceptional quality in so many aspects of student life. His unconditional generosity and caring nature are evidenced through his unfailing, behind the scenes service to many aspects of the Davidson community. As a member of the track and cross-country teams he has fought through numerous injuries to compete. But even when he was unable to do so, he provided consistent leadership to the team by helping teammates navigate personal issues. His coach recently recognized his many efforts by awarding him the Coach's Award for all he has accomplished and contributed.  

In his junior year, he was the president of the Gay Straight Alliance and placed great value on encouraging student involvement and service to the community. He worked hard to maintain the Safe Spaces program in its infancy as a student-led effort with Patterson Court organizations and athletic teams. He worked closely with the Residence Life Office to create a more gender-inclusive living environment within the residence halls. He has been a member of SGA, representing the broader student community and, as one student describes, is consistently "the voice of conscience often representing important minority viewpoints" within that body. 

He makes daily contributions to Davidson College by supporting individuals and working on issues that impact the community and does so with little need for recognition of his efforts. His willingness to give back far more than he ever receives serves as a living example of a student who embraces our mission of developing creative minds for lives and leadership and service.   

He truly exemplifies the spirit of the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award and today we celebrate and recognize all that he has contributed to the betterment of this place. Our 2014 student recipient of the Algernon Sydney Sullivan award goes to James A. Durling.


  • May 18, 2014


  • Commencement
  • LGBTQ at Davidson
  • Multicultural Life