Student Leaders, Scholars Named Valedictorian and Salutatorian Named for Assumption's 102nd Commencement Exercises
Following a rigorous selection process, Assumption is pleased to announce the valedictorian and salutatorian for its 102nd Commencement on Sunday, May 12, at the DCU Center in downtown Worcester, where more than 660 candidates for graduation will receive either an associate’s, bachelor’s or master’s degree, or a certificate of advanced graduate study.
As salutatorian, Julia Demkowicz, Student Government Association President, will introduce the Commencement speaker, Robert Lewis, Jr., CEO of The Base, a Boston-based nonprofit that provides athletic, education and career-building resources to enable student-athletes to pursue a college degree. Zachary Fournier has been chosen as the valedictorian and will address his classmates, their families and friends before the conferral of degrees.
“Selection to represent one’s peers as valedictorian and salutatorian is amongst the institution's highest honors and recognizes students for their relentless commitment to academic excellence,” said Dean of Undergraduate Studies Eloise Knowlton, Ph.D. “Mr. Fournier and Ms. Demkowicz have demonstrated an unfailing dedication to their studies, their college, and their community. We are enormously proud of them and all their classmates, and expect great things in coming years from the Class of 2019.”
Holden native Fournier is a candidate for graduation with a bachelor’s degree in accounting with a minor in business management. During his time at Assumption, he has served the campus community through his leadership as a co-leader of the Men’s Vocational Discernment Group and as an academic showcase representative for the Department of Business Studies. Fournier’s commitment to his academics is demonstrated in being named to the Dean’s List for each semester since his first year.
As a leader of the institution's Vocational Discernment Group, Fournier met weekly with students to discuss theological topics of interest that impact men attending a Catholic university. He developed fundraising plans as well as goals for current and future semesters to ensure the viability of the group. His organization of community service days benefited the local community through several volunteer efforts. His passion and support of Assumption is evident in his service in supporting recruitment endeavors of the Department of Business Studies where he interacted with prospective students to share his perspective of the effectiveness of the program at Assumption.
Fournier completed two internships in pursuit of his degree. During his junior and senior years, he served as a financial operations intern with Worcester-based Doug Russell Marine, Inc. From his sophomore until senior year, Fournier served as an audit and tax rotational intern with the premier Certified Public Accounting firm Grant Thornton, LLP in Westborough. He also served as a volunteer tutor for business studies students and at St. Mary’s parish where he taught and mentored candidates for the Sacrament of Confirmation.
Bain & Company, a global management consultancy headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts has offered Fournier an internal auditor position where he will work upon graduation while pursuing his CFE and CIA professional designation.
Demkowicz, of Shrewsbury, is a candidate for graduation with a bachelor’s degree in human services with a concentration in communications sciences and disorders and a minor in education. As this year’s Student Government Association (SGA) president, Demkowicz oversaw a 50-person governing body for students and lead initiatives such as Students Involved in Better Success (SIBS). SIBS is a mentor program that identifies students not actively involved on campus and matches them with activities and resources to enhance their college experience and increase institutional retention. During her tenure as SGA vice president for student affairs, she organized campus events such as blood drives, pep rallies, and fundraisers for an Assumptionist school in the Congo. As a peer minister with Campus Ministry, Demkowicz volunteered to provide emotional and spiritual support for her peers. She has regularly been named to the Dean’s List each semester since her first year at Assumption.
During this year’s Honors Convocation, an annual event held to recognize students’ excellence in academics, Demkowicz was the recipient of the award for Human Services and Rehabilitation Studies with a Concentration in Communication Sciences and Disorder. During her sophomore year, she participated in SOPHIA, a vocational exploration program that helps students discover their passion and calling in life. Demkowicz also participated in the institution's unified sports program in collaboration with Special Olympics.
As an undergraduate, Demkowicz volunteered in classrooms at Thom Worcester Early Intervention to support efforts to increase students’ social skills, language development and preschool preparation. As a camp counselor at the Jewish Community Center in Worcester, she promoted positive learning experiences for children. Through her internship at Nelson Place School, Demkowicz, a member of the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association, collaborated with a speech-language pathologist to work with children ages two to 12 to develop articulation, fluency, pragmatics and language development. The collaboration also included independent activities such as leading small groups of students in speech development and phonemic awareness. Her internships also provided opportunities to serve in special education classrooms to support student learning.
Demkowicz plans to attend graduate school this fall to study speech and language pathology.
Fournier and Demkowicz were chosen from a select pool of applicants that ranked in the top percentile of the Class of 2019. The finalists were interviewed by a committee comprised of faculty, administrators and students for the honor of serving as the valedictorian and salutatorian. The committee includes Dan DiTullio, Assistant to the President, and Co-Chair of the Commencement Committee; Carl Keyes, Associate Professor of History; Eloise R. Knowlton, Dean of Undergraduate Studies (Chair); Frank Marino, Associate Professor of Business Studies; Nancy O'Sullivan d'Alzon Library and Co-Chair of the Commencement Committee; Stephanie Cota, Vice President of the Class of 2019; and Anthony Mastrocola, President of the Class of 2019.
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