Tamara Ellerbe, an Olney resident and Murrell Dobbins Career and Technical High School graduate, was the recipient of Manor College’s Mother Josaphat Medal. Ellerbe is a senior studying Human Services.
“Being the first black woman to win the Mother Josaphat Medal carries a profound sense of pride not just for myself, but for a broader audience,” Ellerbe said. “I wanted to express my heartfelt gratitude for receiving this award. I am thankful to Manor College. They have opened so many doors and opportunities for me. Thank you for making me feel like I belong here.”
The Mother Josaphat Medal is a student award presented to a Manor student who exhibits a responsible lifestyle evidenced through reverence, respect and service. The medal is the highest honor for a student at the college.
“Tamara is always the first student to greet a new person as they walk by her in the dining hall,” said Janeen Smith, director of dining services. “Since I joined the team at Manor, Tamara has given her time and talents at many events. She is always happy, willing to help when asked and never negative. She is a great representation of the type of student who leads by example.”
At Manor, Ellerbe is a Presidential Ambassador and is often found giving tours around campus to incoming students. One professor who nominated Ellerbe for the award said that her presence on campus goes beyond her official Presidential Ambassador capacity.
“She knows that people need help and she wants to be the one to serve them,” the nominator wrote. “Tamara is someone who always asks the question, ‘What can I help you with?’ What is most amazing to me is that she is known by the other Manor students as someone they can turn
to. She has helped multiple students this year find outfits for job interviews from our career closet and is often seen cleaning up in the dining hall or jumping in to help during an event.”
A second nominator wrote, “Despite not using the bus herself, when she heard that SEPTA may take away the stop for commuter students, she took action and took up a petition to try to stop them from taking away the stop. She exhibits caring behavior, always making visitors feel welcome or asking how another student is doing with their day. She truly goes above and beyond for others.”
In addition to Ellerbe, four students were named finalists for the Mother Josaphat Medal: Sylvania Juste, a Samuel Fels graduate; Hailey Ramirez, a Little Flower graduate; Natasha Moore; and Brooke Strassle.
Meanwhile, Manor last week held its 21st annual Founders Day.
The day is a celebration of the Sisters of Saint Basil the Great, who founded Manor in 1947.
The two-day event begins with Tea with the Sisters, a chance for students and faculty at Manor to personally celebrate with the Sisters of Saint Basil the Great, who live in a convent next to campus.
The larger celebration included a ceremony, prayer service and accompanying reception.
Dr. Joseph Gillespie, Provost of Manor, delivered the institution’s keynote address. He spoke on the courageousness of the Sisters of Saint Basil the Great, their long trip to the United States from Ukraine and the founding of Manor.
Professor Jennifer Buechel received the Educator of the Year award. Buechel, the program director of Psychology and Human Services, first came to Manor as an adjunct faculty member in 2017. She began her current role in 2021.
The Educator of the Year is given to a professor whose dedication and commitment goes beyond the classroom. This student-nominated award honors the selected faculty member who received the most votes.
As part of Founders Day, Manor conducted a food drive for the institution’s Bird Feed Food Pantry.
The pantry, located on campus, benefits Manor students in need and their families. It provides a variety of non-perishable food items and basic necessities.
With the help of 21 community organizations, Manor collected more than 500 pounds of food for the pantry. ••