Three Students Recognized for Courage, Strength of Character and High Moral Purpose with the Chantler Prize

Three members of the Yale College Class of 2000 were honored with the Chantler Prize in recognition of their courage, strength of character and high moral purpose during Senior Class Day ceremonies.

Stanton Wheeler, chairman of the Council of Masters Committee on Awards, master of Morse College and the Ford Foundation Professor of Law and Social Sciences, presented the awards to Jennie Soon My Han, Louis John Nkrumah and Joseph Walland.

Established by Mrs. Frederick J. Robinson in memory of her brother, David Everett Chantler (B.A. 1910) of Pittsburgh, Penn., this award is presented annually to members of the senior class who have best exemplified qualities of courage, strength of character and high moral purpose.

Jennie Soon My Han, a double major in Political Science and Ethics, Politics & Economics, earned straight As and one B+ in eight terms at Yale. Fluent in Russian, Korean, French, Uzbek and English, she won a Rhodes Scholarship, the Wendy Blanning Scholarship and the Beinecke Fellowship for graduate study. Her courage and determination in rehabilitating herself from a serious injury she suffered during her junior year more than qualified her for the Chantler prize. She had seriously injured her spine and broke both ankles during a paragliding lesson while on a trip to Kazakhstan. After lying in a brace for two-and-one-half weeks, she entered physical rehabilitation for the next two months and continued to recover while taking a full course load. She made better progress than her doctors expected and continued to perform academically at the same high level as before. Han rose up to surmount the formidable physical and medical challenge that had been thrown in her path and, for this reason, she shared in the Chantler Prize for 1999-2000.

Louis John Nkrumah arrived in the United States from his home in Accra, Ghana determined to take full advantage of the opportunities offered to him by Yale and this country. He demonstrated the kind of courageous discipline, capacity for hard work and generosity of spirit that made it possible for him not only to realize his academic goals but also to contribute in so many significant ways to Yale and the community. While enrolled in a joint B.S. and M.S. program in molecular, cellular, and developmental biology, he joined the Children’s Defense Fund and the Black Community Crusade for Children, and helped develop a curriculum for training student leaders to serve as mentors for children. In his junior year, he initiated the Child Advocacy Network to lobby on behalf of children and collaborated with other groups and agencies in the Yale-New Haven community. Moreover, he worked to promote the internationalization of the University, giving presentations to Yale alumni and serving as a counselor during the orientation for new international students. He plans a joint Ph.D. and M.D. program following graduation.

Joseph Frank Walland Jr., starting quarterback for the Yale football team, has distinguished himself at Yale with his thoughtfulness and generosity. Despite the pressure of meeting his football and academic responsibilities, he nonetheless responded to the call of his peers in Timothy Dwight College and became their best-ever intramural pitcher. He pitched a shutout in his freshman year that yielded the college the Tyng Cup. Walland’s “best exemplification of courage” came when he played in the 1999 Yale-Harvard football game, while saddled with a fever of over 100 degrees and a broken toe, and led the team to victory in a last-minute finish over Harvard, 24-21, giving Yale a share of the Ivy League crown for the season.

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