2020 Dr. James H. Mullen, Jr. Student Prize for Civility in Public Life

The Dr. James H. Mullen, Jr. Student Prize for Civility in Public Life is awarded annually to exemplary student leaders who have demonstrated a strong passion for, and deep understanding of, civility on the Allegheny College campus and in community work. Prize recipients exhibit a depth and breadth of activities, roles, responsibilities, and years of involvement that have a significant impact on civility and respect on the campus and beyond. Established in 2017, the prize was named in 2019 in honor of retiring Allegheny College President James H. Mullen, Jr. in recognition of his commitment to civility on campus, locally, regionally, and nationally. Naming the prize was made possible by a generous gift from Dag and Julie Grosjean Skattum (’84/’85).

About The Honoree

The Office of the Dean of Students is proud to announce the recipient of the 2020 Dr. James H. Mullen, Jr. Student Prize for Civility in Public Life:

Charles Allen Ross

Class of 2020

Throughout his time at Allegheny College, Charles Allen Ross has exemplified a commitment to deep insight and thoughtfulness that drives impactful action. As a leader and a scholar, he has gained respect across the community for his passion, intellect, and dedication to listening to — and helping — others.

“Charles recognizes the importance of intersectionality and respect of individuals wherever they may be in their development,” noted an Allegheny staff member who nominated Ross for the Dr. James H. Mullen, Jr. Student Prize for Civility in Public Life. “He has always exhibited a sense of empathy and understanding and strives to view things from others’ perspectives, not just his own.”

Ross is a community and justice studies major with minors in education studies and theatre. He has completed independent research projects at Allegheny with Professor Heather Moore Roberson and at Columbia University. His research has drawn on theories from a wide range of disciplines that include multicultural education, women and gender studies, and higher education, culminating in his Senior Project, “Fouling Out: A Community Reflection on the Academic Ejection of Black Male Student-Athletes.” Ross has committed to attend a Ph.D. program in American studies at the Washington State University following graduation.

“He is a truly interdisciplinary thinker who is determined to work for the betterment of our communities and to call out oppression and systemic racism through careful research and analysis,” an Allegheny professor said in his nomination of Ross.

Ross has taken on numerous roles through which he has made a positive difference at Allegheny and in the Meadville community. For example, as president of the Men of Color Advancement Association (MOCAA), he has worked tirelessly with the organization’s members on crucial issues, including peer mentoring, building community, philanthropy, and self-esteem. In addition, Ross has served as an America Reads student tutor, a summer intern with the United Way of Western Crawford County, and a fellow in the Community and Justice Studies Department.

In his senior year, Ross was selected to deliver the keynote address at the first Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Brunch on campus, and he later spoke at the MLK Community Dinner in Meadville. He also was a four-year member of the Allegheny football team and was active in the Playshop Theatre, among many other involvements.

“Charles has distinguished himself as perhaps the most thoughtful, empathetic, impassioned, deep-thinking student I’ve had the pleasure to work with,” an Allegheny professor said in his nomination of Ross. “He is the embodiment of civility in public life and deserving of every honor the College can bestow upon him.”


The 2020 Dr. James H. Mullen, Jr. Student Prize for Civility in Public Life nominees included:

  • John Fazio, Political Science major, Global Health Studies minor
  • Taylor Marzouca, Global Health Studies major, Community and Justice Studies minor
  • Jared McHale, Mathematics major, Education Studies and Psychology double minor
  • Katelyn Perroz, Biochemistry major, Global Health Studies minor
  • Charles Allen Ross (recipient), Community and Justice Studies major, Education Studies and Theater double minor
  • Marisol Santa Cruz, Communication Arts major, Computer Science minor
  • Jesse Tomkiewicz, Political Science and Philosophy double major

About the Prize

Selection Committee

The 2020 recipient was selected by a committee of faculty, students, and staff, including:

  • Gretchen Beck, Associate Dean of Students for Wellness Education
  • Jim Fitch, Director of Career Education
  • Gilly Ford, Title IX Coordinator
  • Pamela Higham, Assistant to the President
  • Sarah Holt, Quigley Hall Building Coordinator
  • Jermaine Mitchell, Student Life Coordinator
  • Dr. Heather Moore Roberson, Assistant Professor of Community and Justice Studies and Black Studies
  • Lucinda Morgan, Director of International Education
  • Dr. Angelica Perez-Johnston, Interim Director of the IDEAS Center
  • April Thompson, Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students