Ellen Desmond, daughter of Barbara and Donald Desmond of Concord, NH, received two major awards and then graduated from Saint Michael's College with a bachelor's degree in English literature, summa cum laude, at commencement on May 14.
Ms. Desmond received the award as the top English major, the John Reiss Award, created and presented by U.S. District Court Judge Christina Reiss (Saint Michael's 1984 graduate) in honor of her father the late Saint Michael's College English Professor John Reiss. Judge Reiss presented the award before the faculty of the English department and Ms. Desmond's family on May 4, 2012.
Three days later on May 7, 2012, Ms. Desmond was awarded the inaugural edition of the Michael Samara Award, named in honor of the retiring Saint Michael's Vice President for Student Affairs, Michael Samara. Mr. Samara recommended her for the award, saying, "Ellen Desmond epitomizes what liberal arts colleges in the Catholic tradition want for their students." He praised her outstanding academic record, her membership in Phi Beta Kappa and Delta Epsilon Sigma, the national Catholic Honor Society, and he said,
"As wonderful as Ellen's academic prowess is, she is special because her interpersonal skills are well developed and her desire to serve others is so genuine. Ms. Desmond served as an RA (resident assistant) for three years, from sophomore through senior year.
"Ellen Desmond is a person who holds herself to high standards and is able to enrich the lives of others through her genuine, value-centered approach to life," Mr. Samara said. She has been active in SMC Campus Ministry programs, serving as a Lector and Eucharistic Minister, Retreat Rector and strong participant in MOVE, the college's volunteer service program, where her work involved reaching out to the poor and disenfranchised of the local and national community.
"Aside from being among our brightest students, Ellen is also among our most motivated, most productive and most kind," Mr. Samara said.
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