Several students will be honored as valedictorians and Dean’s Medal recipients for maintaining the highest GPA in their respective schools this commencement weekend, with a two-way tie in the McDonough School of Business.
Anneke von Seeger (COL ’17), the College valedictorian, will lead the commencement as the Georgetown College Marshal. Caitlin Miller (COL ’17), a government and theology major, attained the second-highest GPA in the College with a 3.978, and will deliver the Cohongorouton address, similar to a valedictorian address, at tomorrow’s Tropaia ceremony. Nicole Colarusso (MSB ’17), an international business and finance major, and Katherine Wildes (MSB ’17), an accounting and operations and information management major, who earned 3.991 GPAs, will both address the MSB convocation ceremony tomorrow.
Allyn Rosenberger (NHS ’17), a health care management and policy major, will receive the Dean’s Medal for the School of Nursing and Health Studies for her 4.0 GPA, while James Pavur (SFS ’17), a science, technology and international affairs major, will receive the Dean’s Medal for the School of Foreign Service for his 3.971 GPA. Neither the NHS or SFS formally name valedictorians.
Miller’s achievement was a result of her perseverance in her academic studies.
“I always operate that I just try to do my personal best,” Miller said. “I love meeting with professors, talking about ideas, just the process is a joy to me. The process of receiving comments on papers and things, and things I didn’t do so well, things I can improve on.”
In her address tomorrow, she plans to focus on the role of the Georgetown community in developing its students.
“At Georgetown, all of us have been blessed with people who already see us as the best person we can become,” Miller said. “People who see within us our potential, our capacity, and by seeing us this way they reveal that possibility to us. They show us what we can achieve, even if we are not able to see it in ourselves.”
Pavur focused on the importance of Georgetown’s student body in his convocation address today. Georgetown’s diversity offers students rare opportunities, according to Pavur.
“That’s the biggest reflection for me, that I was able to make friends with a lot of people who weren’t exact mirror images of me and who weren’t part of my bubble,” Pavur said.
In November, Pavur was awarded a Rhodes scholarship to pursue a Ph.D. in cybersecurity at Oxford next year.
Colarusso and Wildes plan to deliver a joint address in the structure of a Jesuit Examen, with one offering reflections on the past and the other on the future. Wildes said she hopes to advocate the importance of balance in her address.
“Georgetown has a culture that’s very focused on high achievement and intellectual curiosity, and I think learning to say ‘no’ to certain things so that I could say ‘yes’ to other things has been a really important part of my experience,” Wildes said.
Taking advantage of the diversity in Georgetown’s community is important to success, according to Wildes.
“Use kind of the shared experiences that we have here and kind of the openness that everyone comes with when they come to college as a platform for exploring our differences,” Wildes said.
Colarusso said it was a combination of academic passion and support from family and friends that led to her academic success.
“It’s kind of just a combination of things, but I would stress more so than anything, surrounding yourself with people that can help you along the way,” Colarusso said.
An interest in interdisciplinary studies unites this year’s group of valedictorians. All five students are either double majors or are majoring in interdisciplinary fields such as international business, healthcare management and policy, or science, technology and international affairs.
A passion to study the two things that affect people’s lives most — their nation and their faith — drove Miller to study government and theology.
“I study nations and God, the two things that motivate people, what people live and die for,” Miller said. “In a certain way it is my wish to understand people better that causes me to study both.”
Rosenberger said she hopes to unify a passion for health care and policy to improve the lives of others.
“I am particularly interested in public health policy and looking at the ways in which law and policy can be used to improve the health of communities,” Rosenberger said. “I’ve always been really passionate about health and ensuring marginalized people in vulnerable communities have access to the things that build healthy communities.”
Although exploring diverse subject matters is important, pursuing one’s passions outside of the classroom is equally important, according to Pavur.
Pavur said he was able to explore his passions in hackathons outside of the classroom.
“I love going and making something new, and kind of forcing myself to learn something on the spot, normally sleep deprived and caffeinated, it’s a lot of fun, and so I think that was a big part of my Georgetown experience,” Pavur said.
Rosenberger said working to coordinate the OWN IT summit, which seeks to empower female students, has had the most significant influence on her outside of the classroom.
“Every year it celebrates feminism and cultivates a new group of confident young women to go out in the world and engage with some of the most important issues of our time, and participating in that planning process and engaging with both our attendees and speakers just has had the most profound impact on me,” Rosenberger said.
To Miller, commencement is not a celebration of individuals, but rather the collective Georgetown community.
“When we’re celebrating, we’re not celebrating each individual isolated person, we’re celebrating this type of community that we have here, this community of support and interconnection,” Miller said. “It’s those interpersonal relationships that help us get to wherever we are in our lives and will continue to be the fabric of that.”
Clarification: An earlier version of this article excluded Anneke von Seeger (COL ’17), the College valedictorian who attained the highest GPA in the school.