Lander graduate Learnmore Jeremia receives the 2021 Thayer Award
Wednesday, Jun 09, 2021

Learnmore JeremiaNewly conferred Lander University graduate, Learnmore Jeremia, of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, is Lander’s 2021 Thayer Award recipient. Jeremia received the award at the beginning of the University’s 2021 commencement ceremonies, which were held on Tuesday, May 11.

Each year, the Thayer Award is given on behalf of the family of Dr. Henry K. Thayer to a Lander student who holds the highest grade point average (GPA) upon graduation. Jeremia finished his Lander career with a 4.0 GPA while obtaining a Bachelor of Science in chemistry.

Additionally, Jeremia was a Presidential Ambassador, president of Lander’s American Chemical Society chapter, a chemistry tutor, Rotaract Historian, member of the Microscopy Association and ITS Student Technician, and is the recipient of numerous academic awards. 

Jeremia arrived at Lander in August 2017 by way of Zimbabwe, through the generous assistance of Douglas and Jean Mufuka, whose scholarship program helps students find colleges and universities that are a good fit for their academic interests. “I had always wanted to study chemistry,” he said, adding that he was drawn to Lander’s chapter of the American Chemical Society when considering schools.

In the fall of 2017 Jeremia met Dr. Brenda Kapingidza, a 2015 Lander Graduate and postdoctoral researcher at the Duke Human Vaccine Institute, who became his mentor. Her guidance has been “a beautiful part of my education, and very inspirational,” said Jeremia. “Having someone on the same path, who has done so many of the things that I want to do, has been very beneficial to me.”

When Kapingidza earned her doctoral degree from the University of South Carolina in May 2020, Jeremia was able to watch her dissertation defense online. “It was amazing to see her and how poised she was. She spoke about her research so eloquently.”

As commencement neared, it was announced that Kapingidza would speak at his ceremony. Hearing “wise words from someone who has been looking over my shoulder” during his graduation was inspiring, Jeremia said.

Jeremia will continue his education as a graduate student at Emory University, where he will pursue a Ph.D. in organic chemistry. He hopes to one day follow along the path of Kapingidza and become a mentor to students. “With this wonderful chemistry degree, I am well prepared for my graduate program and my future,” he said.