May 22, 2023

Outstanding Graduates Shine on Academic Awards Day

Outstanding Graduates award ceremony

PBA News

The sunshine beamed through the stained glass, casting celebratory prisms in the DeSantis Family Chapel as Palm Beach Atlantic University leadership, faculty, students and parents honored this year’s Outstanding Graduates and Fulbright Scholars. The Spring 2023 Academic Awards Day took place last month.

The Outstanding Graduate Award is a prestigious honor given to students who have made significant achievements in academic excellence, student life, and community service. This year, 35 students were recognized.

Honorees were nominated by faculty members from each school using specific criteria. Nominees also must have earned a minimum 3.5 GPA during their time at the University.

This year, several graduates were honors students, studied or taught overseas, and served in leadership roles in clubs or associations. Many have plans to pursue advanced degrees or start full-time positions after graduation.


In addition to acknowledging outstanding grads within individual programs, the University recognizes eight outstanding graduates from each school. This year, they are:

  • College of the Arts: Grace Barrett
  • Marshall E. Rinker Sr. School of Business: Gabriel Parke
  • School of Education and Behavioral Studies: Lilah Castle
  • School of Liberal Arts and Sciences: Chase Kibben
  • Catherine T. MacArthur School: Charissa Carter
  • School of Ministry: John Morgan
  • School of Nursing: Karla Cantero-Garcia
  • Lloyd L. Gregory School of Pharmacy: Jamie Saltmarsh


“Our time at Palm Beach Atlantic has taught resiliency, patience, and a complete dependence on the Lord,” said Lilah Castle, the School of Education and Behavioral Studies outstanding graduate. “It has provided me with irreplaceable opportunities to ask questions and grapple with abstract ideas in the honors program; [and] I found a community of fellow book lovers and grammar geeks through my work with Academic Writing Excellence. PBA encourages their students to explore all opportunities…”

During her time at PBA, Castle studied abroad at Oxford and excelled in their rigorous elementary education program. She was also a student teacher in Spain—and plans to return there to teach for a Christian mission.

“I’m becoming a better teacher every day because of the support and counsel of my professors,” said Castle, who shared a few words during PBA’s May 2023 commencement. “…These resources will allow us to enhance the world around us in our chosen fields, churches, families, and communities.”

At Academic Awards Day, PBA leadership also recognized unique accomplishments from several graduates, including four Fulbright Scholars. The esteemed Fulbright Award allows U.S. students and faculty to teach, conduct research, and pursue professional projects abroad. Kristen Wagoner and Lauren Johnson will be English teaching assistants in the Slovak Republic and Taiwan, respectively. Kyla Gates and Krista Entwistle will take on English teaching assistantships in Bulgaria and Brazil, respectively.

The University also honored Sam Miltner, who graduated from PBA’s Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program this spring. He now ranks as a cadet commissioning as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Reserve. He plans to serve in the Army Reserve Corps.

Frederick M. Supper Honors Program award recipients are:

  • Freshman Honors Award: Bethany Wolek
  • Frederick M. Supper Honors Program: Kyle Martin

For more photos from Palm Beach Atlantic University’s spring 2023 graduation celebrations, click here.

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