Holy Cross College held the annual Honors Convocation ceremony, honoring full-time students earning a 3.5 grade-point average or higher during spring or fall 2020 semesters and graduating seniors with honors. During the convocation, the College bestows the Student Saints Awards to four students, nominated and vetted meeting distinct criteria before being selected by the award committee. All internal constituents of the College – faculty, staff, administration, and students – were invited to submit nominations for each of the four student awards. Nominations were reviewed by a selection committee composed of members from various areas of the College.
The College is proud to announce the 2021 Student Saints Award recipients are The Saint Thomas Aquinas Award to Zechariah Ritchie, the Saint Joseph Service Award to Catherine Oliva, the Saint Sebastian Champion of Character Award to P. Benjamin Beekman, and the All Saints Award of Excellence to Zachary Mundwiller.
Saint Thomas Aquinas Award
The Saint Thomas Aquinas Award is awarded to a student who demonstrates academic excellence, intellectual curiosity, and a scholarly approach to the liberal arts.
Recipient Zechariah Ritchie was born in South Bend and graduated from Washington High School. He originally came to Holy Cross College, not as a student, but as an employee in the Siegfried Dining Hall. After two years of service, combined with encouragement from friends, he joined the student community in 2018 as a Psychology major with a minor in Elementary Education. He currently maintains a 3.996 grade-point average, while continuing to work in the Dining Hall, but has also taken on responsibilities as a Resident Assistant, Writing Center Tutor, President of the Holy Cross College chapter of the Delta Epsilon Sigma Honor Society, and Treasurer of the Holy Cross College chapter of the Psi Chi Honor Society. During the summer, he worked at the Indiana United Methodist Children’s Home with emotionally and behaviorally challenged youth. After graduation, he plans to continue his education at Indiana State University’s School of Psychology Educational Specialist Program and hopes to go on to earn his Doctorate in Psychology.
Saint Joseph Service Award
The Saint Joseph Service Award recognizes a student who possesses an outstanding sense of stewardship and service to others.
Recipient Catherine Oliva is from Osceola, Indiana, and graduated from Marian High School. She is a Visual Arts Major with double tracks in Studio Art and Graphic Design, and a Theology Minor, with a 3.75 grade-point average. During her time at Holy Cross College, she has been actively involved in Campus Ministry, serving as the Retreats and Pilgrimages Intern for one year and contributing her technical art skills in creating posters, flyers, logos, and t-shirts. Her involvement in Student Government has included being the Chief of Staff in 2019 and a Senior Senator this year. Since her junior year, she has been a Resident Assistant and is currently President of the Outdoors Club and Vice President of the Holy Cross College Studium Thomisticum. For three years, she has been a mentor for the Saints & Scholars Summer Theology Institute and is the Logistics Intern for 2021. Within the tri-campus community, she has worked with the University of Notre Dame’s PEMco Theatre Group as stage manager for “The Addams Family” in 2018. In the community, she worked and volunteered with United Youth Theatre as a production and stage manager, and artistic set designer. This fall, she will begin the University of Notre Dame’s Master of Architecture program.
Saint Sebastian Champion of Character Award
The Saint Sebastian Champion of Character Award honors a student-athlete who demonstrates a spirit of leadership through good sportsmanship, courteousness, and personal integrity.
Recipient P. Ben Beekman is from Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he attended Grand Rapids West Catholic High School. He is a Business major with minors in Sport Management and Marketing and a 3.75 grade-point average. He has been a member of the inaugural men’s tennis team at Holy Cross College, currently leads the program in doubles wins, and has proven his leadership skills as team captain. He is the Resident Assistant in South Hall and a member of the Delta Epsilon Sigma Honor Society. In August, he plans to visit Serbia and return to South Bend next spring to help coach the women’s tennis team. Next year, he will pursue a master’s degree in Sports Administration, in the hope of one day becoming an athletic director.
All Saints Award for Excellence
The All Saints Award for Excellence is awarded to a student who embodies the spirit of the College through their exemplary scholarship, leadership, service, and faith.
Recipient Zachary Mundwiller is from Thousand Oaks, California, where he graduated from Thousand Oaks High School. He is a Biology major with a 3.8 grade-point average. In his time at Holy Cross College, he has served as a member of the Liturgical Choir, a chemistry tutor, the Social Concerns Committee Chairman, the Medicine Track Mentor for the Saints & Scholars Summer Theology Institute, and a Junior and Senior Class Senator. He is currently a librarian, an altar server, a sensei at the University of Notre Dame Martial Arts Institute, the Basil Hall third floor Resident Assistant, a Thomistic Fellow in the Studium Thomisticum, a member of the Delta Epsilon Sigma Honor Society, the organic chemistry laboratory assistant, and an Ambassador for the Admissions Team. After graduation, he will return home to California to serve others as a Certified Nursing Assistant for a year and then will apply to Physician Assistant schools.