Tuesday, May 8, 2018 - 12:00
Valedictorian and Salutatorian Named for College’s 101st Commencement
Following a rigorous selection process, Assumption College is pleased to announce the valedictorian and salutatorian for its 101st Commencement. As salutatorian, Noor Kawmi ’18, a Syrian native, will introduce the Commencement speaker, The Most. Rev. Robert Barron, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles; and Raysa Guerrero ’18, who has been chosen as the valedictorian, will address her fellow classmates and their families. Commencement will take place on Sunday, May 13, 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.
“Selection to represent one’s peers as valedictorian and salutatorian is amongst the College’s highest honors and recognizes students for their relentless commitment to academic excellence,” said Dean of Undergraduate Studies Eloise Knowlton, Ph.D. “In addition, Ms. Guerrero and Ms. Kawmi have demonstrated excellence outside of the classroom through their notable and inspiring community service endeavors that provided direct service to those in the greatest of need. “
Guerrero, a native of Worcester, is a candidate for graduation with a bachelor’s degree in criminology with minors in psychology and sociology. Throughout her time at Assumption, her interests have been focused on sexual assault prevention efforts as well as providing support for victims through internships with New Hope, Inc. and the Worcester County District Attorney’s office. Guerrero conducted research on the impact of victimization on college students as part of an Honors Program fellowship, and has twice presented research on domestic violence and sexual assault at the College’s Annual Undergraduate Symposium. Demonstrating a commitment to the College’s mission that calls students to engage in compassionate service, Guerrero volunteered at many different organizations, including the Friendly House, a Worcester nonprofit that serves the immigrant communities of the city. There, she packaged food for those in need and served as a Spanish interpreter.
In recognition of Guerrero’s commitment to and excellence in academics, she was named an Augustine Scholar. Augustine Scholars are those students who have demonstrated initiative and leadership in academic and co-curricular endeavors, and are of demonstrably good character. She is a member of Sigma Delta Pi and Psi Chi, and will be inducted into the Alpha Kappa Delta honor society this month. She was also named to the Dean’s List every semester during her four years at Assumption. In addition to serving as a head resident assistant, she is also a SOPHIA Collegian and was a member of the Latin Dance team for two years. She was recently awarded the departmental award for criminology at the College’s 2018 Honors Convocation ceremony.
Guerrero is applying for a position in the field of criminology, and is planning to pursue a master’s degree in criminology in fall 2019.
Kawmi, also of Worcester, is a candidate for graduation with a bachelor of arts in biology. During her time at Assumption, Kawmi conducted extensive research on potential reasons behind the increased aggressiveness of pregnancy-related breast cancer. Her research on self-organization of disordered systems earned her an invitation to present her findings at the Self Organization of Complex Systems in Mexico in September 2017. She presented on both of these research projects at the College’s Annual Undergraduate Symposium and was recently awarded the departmental award for biology at the College’s 2018 Honors Convocation ceremony.
Also committed to community service, Kawmi, who is of Syrian birth, has volunteered at Saint Vincent Hospital in Worcester where she shadowed and learned from physicians; Syrian National Hospital in Syria where she assisted medical professional in the emergency department; and worked with low-income families at homeless shelters and soup kitchens during a service immersion SEND trip to Camden, NJ, during her junior year.
Kawmi is the cofounder and co-president of the Middle Eastern Student Association at the College; was an orientation leader; and serves as social chair of the Youth Committee at St. Mary’s Orthodox Church in Shrewsbury. In recognition of her academic achievements, Kawmi was inducted into the Phi-Theta Kappa Honor Society and was named to the Dean’s List every semester during her time at Assumption.
This summer, Kawmi will sit for the Medical College Admission Test with plans to attend medical school and continue cancer research she began at Assumption. This summer, she will lead an Assumption SEND trip to North Dakota.
Guerrero and Kawmi were chosen from a pool of senior applicants that ranked in the top percentile of the Class of 2018. The finalists were interviewed by a committee comprised of faculty and administrators 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; Alex Santos, treasurer of the Class of 2018; and Izzy Camasura, vice president of the Class of 2018.
Bishop Barron, Judith Beck, Ph.D., President of the Beck Institute, and John Agresto, Ph.D., former Interim Provost and Chancellor of the American University in Iraq will receive honorary degrees during Commencement recognizing their efforts to reflect the values of the College’s mission that include critical intelligence, thoughtful citizenship and compassionate service
Kimberly Dunbar, Director of Public Affairs, Assumption College