Adam Diggs named 2019 Outstanding Senior

Adam Diggs named 2019 Outstanding Senior

April 16, 2019

Adam Diggs, a finance/accounting major from Knoxville, Tenn., and a 2015 graduate of Fulton High School, was named the 2019 Outstanding Senior at Maryville College during the Academic Awards Ceremony held April 6 in the Ronald and Lynda Nutt Theatre of the Clayton Center for the Arts.

Finalists for the award included: Dante Hoppa, a finance/accounting major from Naples, Fla., and a 2015 graduate of Naples High School; Cassidy Mahan, a psychology major from Knoxville, Tenn., and a 2015 graduate of Heritage High School; Mindy Reagan, a music education (vocal) with teacher licensure major from Maryville, Tenn., and a 2015 graduate of William Blount High School; and Ian Schomer, a mathematics major from Knoxville, Tenn., and a 2015 graduate of Bearden High School. 

Established by the Maryville College Alumni Association in 1974, the Outstanding Senior award recognizes those students whose overall record of academic achievement and participation in extracurricular activities stand out as most exemplary.

Specifically, the award seeks to recognize a senior who has been active in a broad range of activities in college, who best exemplifies an “ideal” Maryville College graduate and who has the potential to be an outstanding alumnus/alumna – both as a representative of the College and in his or her service to the institution.

Only those seniors with a minimum grade point average of 3.0 are considered for nomination for the Outstanding Senior Award. A committee that includes student, faculty and staff representation is given the responsibility of choosing five finalists. Those finalists are invited to respond in writing to questions about their view of their future role as alumni of Maryville College, their goals for the future and their understanding of how the College has influenced them and helped shape those goals.

Dr. Jenifer Greene, chair of the Division of Social Sciences and professor management at Maryville College, introduced Diggs during the Academic Awards Ceremony. She said Diggs has distinguished himself as an outstanding student in multiple arenas during his four years at Maryville College.

“As the son of two proud Maryville College alums (Steve Diggs ’88 and Sabrina Spires Diggs ’90), Adam was invested in our mission and looking for opportunities for leadership and service,” Greene said. “Adam shares that football was a significant focus upon coming to MC, and he grew through his experiences not only as a team captain or while breaking the school record for most touchdown passes in a game but also through injury and when his performance was not up to his standard. However, Adam states that through this adversity, he found the opportunity to serve, placing his focus on his teammates rather than himself, and finding that this new concentration produced a senior year in which the sport became even more fun to play.”

Greene emphasized Diggs’s commitment to serving others, citing his volunteer work with Family Promise, the Community Food Connection and the Emerald Youth Foundation.

“His freshman year is when Adam started volunteering at Family Promise, a mobile shelter and transition program for families experiencing homelessness,” Greene said. “Adam spent time getting to know the families and playing with the children, especially on Sunday afternoons, when there was no other programming and often the parents needed a break. From this service experience, he gained a deep interest in the problem of affordable housing and the questions of how a community serves those who are struggling with poverty. This winter, he was the College’s main contact for our participation in the Blount County emergency winter shelter, which provided housing on the coldest nights to those who otherwise would have no warm place to stay.”

As an Isaac Anderson Scholar and leader in Maryville College’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes, he completed several church internships and served as a faith mentor to other college students. Through one of his internships, he developed the “Adopt-a-Scot” program, a network of church families who wanted to get to know MC students who were far away from their family and church home.

“In essence, Adam embodies Maryville College’s commitment to scholarship, respect and integrity,” Greene said. “He plans to continue this commitment by attending law school to gain additional skills he hopes to employ to the service of others whether through a career in law, nonprofit work, or the ministry. His ultimate goal, as he states, is to ‘embody a life of justice.’”

Diggs was presented a framed award along with a $500 cash award. His name will be added to the Outstanding Senior plaque displayed on campus.

In addition to the Outstanding Senior Award, Diggs took home the Ryan Newhouse Award. The recognition goes to the junior or senior student who, in the judgment of the business, fine arts and humanities faculty, typifies the finest characteristics of the liberal arts by uniting the fields of business and the humanities or fine arts in his or her academic life, personal growth and values.


Maryville College is a nationally-ranked institution of higher learning and one of America’s oldest colleges. For more than 200 years, we’ve educated students to be giving citizens and gifted leaders, to study everything, so that they are prepared for anything — to address any problem, engage with any audience and launch successful careers right away. Located in Maryville, Tennessee, between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the city of Knoxville, Maryville College offers nearly 1,200  students from around the world both the beauty of a rural setting and the advantages of an urban center, as well as more than 60 majors, seven pre-professional programs and career preparation from their first day on campus to their last. Today, our 10,000 alumni are living life strong of mind and brave of heart and are prepared, in the words of our Presbyterian founder, to “do good on the largest possible scale.”