Kelly Gunneson receives Henry Barnard Award

Philip Zoppi – Sports Writer

Senior Kelly Gunneson of Southern’s volleyball team was one of four Southern students to receive the 2016 Henry Barnard Award.

A total of 12 students from Southern, Eastern, Western and Central Connecticut State Universities are selected for this award for having over a 3.7 grade point average and demonstrating a record of significant community service. Gunneson said she is very grateful to win an award of this magnitude.

“I’m truly honored to be given such an award and to be associated with Henry Barnard and all the other recipients who have gotten this award,” she said.

Gunneson exceeded what it took to win the Henry Barnard Award on the academic side as she holds a 3.92 cumulative GPA and was in the National Math Honor Society in 2015.

These exceptional accomplishments in the classroom were achieved while Gunneson was not only seeing action as a starter during her four-year career on the volleyball team, but also being a two-year team captain.

Head coach for Southern’s volleyball team, Lisa Barbaro, believes that Gunneson has done so much more than just succeed on an individual level in volleyball during her career at Southern.

“Kelly has taken an active role in pursuing success in her educational path, and has overcome every obstacle she faced,” said Barbaro.  “She has done the same within our volleyball program.  Kelly is a leader for all students and athletes to follow.”

It was important for Gunneson to be such a leader due to the fact that more than half of the volleyball roster comprised of underclassmen. The track record and leadership of Gunneson could have an impact on the younger players.

Now that Gunneson’s volleyball career has come to a conclusion, she reflected on what aspect of volleyball she will miss the most.

“The one thing I’m definitely going to miss the most is just being with the team and the coaches,” said Gunneson. “You get to play with so many different people and go through all of these experiences with your coaches and teammates. Just having those experiences, being apart of a team, and everything that comes along with that is what I’ll miss the most.”

Gunneson has much more than just playing volleyball and winning the Henry Barnard Award on her resume.  Gunneson was a two-time selection to the Northeast-10 Conference Volleyball Academic Team and was given the Division II Athletic Directors Association Academic Achievement Award.

On top of that, Gunneson was selected to NE-10 Conference Commissioner’s Honor Roll multiple times throughout her time as an Owl.  

Additionally, Barbaro has no doubts that Gunneson is going to succeed once she graduates.

“If you are truly passionate about something, give it the love, respect, effort, and commitment it deserves and it will always pay you back,” said Barbaro. “This has been my message and one that Kelly has truly embraced in her life.  I know she has a very bright future for herself and I look forward to her future accomplishments.”

The feeling of compassion between Gunneson and Barbaro is mutual. Gunneson is appreciative of what Barbaro has done for her during her career at Southern.

“My relationship with Coach Barbaro has definitely helped me,” she said. “From the start she’s always been very open to something volleyball related or a question about something with school. Just in life in general, you always know she’s there for you.  She pushes you on the court and in the classroom.”

Gunneson is scheduled to graduate in May as a secondary education and mathematics major.

Photo Credit: SCSU Athletic Communications


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s