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The 2022 Henry G. Stifel III Award Ceremony Highlights Friendship and Community

The Pingry community's spirit and perseverance have been remarkable to witness over the past few years as we faced a myriad of challenges together. Two members of our community—Middle School student Jayden Battles-Cobb '26 and award-winning Biology Teacher and Research Advisor Dr. Morgan D'Ausilio—have truly displayed incredible courage and optimism amidst great challenges, and both earned the Henry G. Stifel III Award this year.

The Henry G. Stifel III Award is named for Mr. Stifel, who was paralyzed in an automobile accident during his junior year at Pingry. The Stifel Family established the award at Pingry in 1984 to "be awarded to the person who best exemplifies those characteristics exhibited by Henry G. Stifel III '83 in the aftermath of his accident and spinal injury: courage, endurance, optimism, compassion, and spirit." A Pingry lifer, Mr. Stifel is a former trustee who has received Pingry's Cyril and Beatrice Baldwin Pingry Family Citizen of the Year Award and Letter-In-Life Award, is a Vice Chair of the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation's Board of Directors, and works at Morgan Stanley. Mr. Stifel joined our assembly virtually this year, as he is participating in a research study at the University of Louisville to improve outcomes for those living with spinal cord injury—and making exciting progress.

Jayden is a leader in the Middle School, in student government, and in our campus community. He also serves as a spokesperson for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Allen Thomas, Middle School Academic Dean, Spanish Teacher, and Jayden's Advisor, shared a story about how Jayden inspires his peers and presented him with his award. Jayden shared a few of the challenges that he has faced managing ocular myasthenia—an eye condition that affects your eyelids – along with a few words of advice for his peers.

"My lesson to everyone listening is to become friends with as many people as you can, because being friends [with a] person can help them in so many ways that you couldn't imagine."

Dr. D'Ausilio has been teaching at Pingry for 10 years. After her cancer diagnosis last year, she continued to give her best on behalf of her students, colleagues, and advisees as a member of our faculty, and on behalf of her two young boys as a mother. Her colleagues Olivia Tandon and Deirdre O'Mara gave a series of heartfelt remarks expressing admiration for Dr. D'Ausilio's perseverance and the extraordinary effort she gave to be the best teacher she could. Dr. D'Ausilio thanked her colleagues, her family, and the entire Pingry community for helping her through this challenge.

"I honestly was surprised to be nominated because I never thought I was doing anything extraordinary by pushing through [and] continuing to teach and care for my family during my treatment. It just seemed like the only option I had. I hope, if you ever find yourself in a difficult situation, you will ask this community for help because, I promise, we will be there for you."

Mr. Stifel shared his admiration for Jayden and Dr. D'Ausilio, and expressed how the support of the Pingry community helped him in the aftermath of his accident in 1982.

"Jayden and Dr. D'Ausilio are two incredible individuals that so deserve this recognition. Despite their challenges, they have chosen to make the best out of a difficult situation and do whatever is necessary to continue to move forward. They make all of us proud to be members of this community and they both have set examples we all have learned from."

We honor and recognize Jayden and Dr. D'Ausilio for sharing their inspiring stories with our community, and thank Mr. Stifel and his family for supporting this important community award.

On Screen: Mr. and Mrs. Henry G. Stifel III
On Stage: Dr. Morgan D'Ausilio and Jayden Battles-Cobb '26

Contact: Ed Lisovicz, Advancement Writer