The Alec Award, given in memory of Evan Alexander Johnson ’97, honors a senior member of Eta Sigma Phi, the national Classics honor society, who has a gentle and humble heart and is dedicated to serving others in a kind, compassionate, and Christ-like way.
Evan Alexander Johnson (1974-2014), a Wisconsin native, took Greek at St. Olaf and graduated summa cum laude in 1997 with a Mathematics major. After a few years spent as a high-school teacher and software developer, he went on to graduate school at UW-Madison, earning a Ph.D. in Mathematics in 2011. At the time of his death he was doing postdoctoral research in astrophysics at the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium, using computer modeling to predict the timing of solar flares and their effect on the power grid, computers, and satellites. A dedicated servant of the poor, he gave away most of his income; he had a special interest in Uganda, where he funded scholarships for needy children, established school gardens and tree nurseries, and promoted sustainable farming.
Winner of the Alec Award for 2017 is Katherine A. (Kate) Bello ’17, a triple major in Medieval Studies, Latin, and English, from Mission Hills, Kansas. She spent the spring of 2016 in Oxford at the Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies. This year she completed an Independent Research project on “Hidden Habits: Dress as Theology in Late Anglo-Saxon Nunneries.” In the 2014 St. Olaf College production of Plautus’ Miles Gloriosus, she was a member of the chorus of singing hams.
The winner of The Alec Award receives a certificate and a check for $100. Jeremiah Harrelson and his family were able to come to campus to present the award to Kate Bello at the Classics Conversation Table on May 1, 2017.
Previous Winners of the Alec Award
2016: Leif D. McLellan ’16 (Classics and Ancient Studies major)