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SLU-Madrid Honors Exceptional Student Achievement

On the eve of the Commencement Ceremony, SLU-Madrid Director and Academic Dean Paul Vita, Ph.D., held a reception for students, their families, faculty and staff to honor outstanding achievement.


Pre-commencement Awards Ceremony

Paloma Gómez de Salazar, counselor and campus minister, served as master of ceremonies, introducing Vita as well as SLU President Fred Pestello, Ph.D., who will be delivering the commencement address at tomorrow’s commencement ceremony in the Museo Nacional de Reina Sofia. Vita and Pestello offered words of praise to the award winners, as well as the families and the faculty and staff who have helped these exceptional students reach their potential.

The ceremony opened by recognizing the students who earned distinction for their cumulative GPA:

Cum Laude (3.5 or higher):
Katherine Blanter
Benjamin Grooters
Alexandra Landis Schwarz
Lucy Norris
Destiny Vernon
Alexandra Villarreal Yabut

Magna Cum Laude (3.7 or higher):
Amina Moataz

Summa Cum Laude (3.9 or higher):
Isabella Cissell
Eleanora Colzani
Livia Gasparini

Eleonora Colzani and Isabella Cissell also received recognition for having completed the University’s rigorous honors program. This distinction, beyond cum laude, signifies the completion of a series of special projects, special seminars and an honors senior thesis.

Departmental awards included the communication program’s recognition of three outstanding students: Destiny Vernon, Eleonora Colzani and Livia Gasparini. The communication department also recognized Brenden Aguasvivas as the “Good Citizen of the Department," Morgan Howard for “Intellectual Curiosity” and Ismail Reda for “Excellent Communication Skills.” The art history department recognized Nicholas Di Napoli and the political science department recognized Eleonora Colzani for “Academic Excellence.” The “Academic Excellence in Business Award” went to Paula Otero Santos, Benjamin Grooters and Farida Rehab. The Spanish department awarded the “Premio a la Excelencia Académica en Español” and the “Premio a la Contribución al departamento de Español” to Isabella Cissell. Daniel Montes Tolón was honored for “Academic Excellence in Engineering, Aviation and Technology” and Alec Tardy for “Academic Excellence in Health Sciences.”  The “Academic Excellence in Psychology” award went to Livia Gasparini.

The English and Spanish departments also recognized outstanding student writing. The winners of the Spanish department’s Concurso de Escritura Creativa Ignacio de Loyola were Carla Aparicio (first prize) and James Mesiti (second prize). The winner of the English SLU-Madrid writing prize was Laura Moyneur for her paper,  “Immigration - An Analysis of its Impact on the Well-being of Natives in the United States.”  Nicholas Di Napoli earned second place for his paper entitled,  “Depicting the Man of Sorrows in Seventeenth-century Spain: An Iconological Study of the Cristo de Perdón by Francisco Camilo,” and  John Arellano received third place for “The American Revolution: Asymmetric Warfare and the Triumph of Public Opinion.”

The University-wide  Prize for ENGLISH-1500 (second place) went to Richard Manginis for his piece, "Just Read This." The University-wide prize for the Dissoi Logoi Project in ENGL-1900 (first place) went to John Arellano for his paper, "A Clearer Understanding of Hate Speech and the Defense of Free Expression.”

The Madrid Campus Creative Writing Prize, given in honor of beloved SLU professor Georgia Johnston, went to Julia Morell for her poetry collection, with Carla Aparicio as runner-up for both fiction and poetry.

Vita also offered special recognition for Anne McCabe, Ph.D., professor of Spanish, ESL and communication, who was selected as recipient of SLU’s 2018 Nancy McNeir Ring Award for Excellence in Teaching.

In addition to these academic and leadership awards, students, faculty and staff were  honored for outstanding contributions to the campus by the Office of Student Life, the Office of Admissions and the Student Government Association:

Student Life Awards
Servant Leadership Award: Henok Nibin and Khadidja Djebairia
Student-Led Organization Award: Chess Club - Club Leader: Alexander Sprague
Outstanding Organization Award: Model United Nations - Club Leader: Adelaide Knight
Community Service Award: Bocatalk - Club Leader: Zenaida Gómez Raggio
New Student Leader Award: Matthew Scott Rose and Presley Cone
Social Justice Award: Human Rights Club - Club Leader: Veronica Rose Chancy 

Office of Admissions Awards
Admissions Appreciation Award – Senior Standout: Janee Mahan
Outstanding Tour Guide: Khadidja Djebairia

Student Government Association Awards
Staff Recognition Awards: Patrice Burns, César Rioja and Beatriz de Zaldívar
Faculty Recognition Awards: Dave Howden, Ph.D., Simona Rentea, Ph.D. and T. Ryan Day, Ph.D.
Student Recognition Award: Veronica Rose Chancey

The ceremony closed as Vita congratulated SLU-Madrid’s SGA President Michael Atieh for his service to the campus community this year. Atieh then took the stage and swore in future SGA executive officers:
President: Sierra Zima               
Vice-President: Rayan El-Grabli   
Communication Officer: Arcadia Wisnik
Events Manager: Addie Knight    
Treasurer: Paul-Emile Gerlier       

Congratulations to all winners and nominees—and to all graduates and their families!