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GS also announced that Michelle Page, GS ‘19, and Eytan Penn, GS ‘19, will speak at the Baccalaureate Service on Sunday, May 19 at 10 a.m. in St. Paul’s Chapel.

The School of General Studies announced its Class Day speaker, valedictorian, and salutatorian on Friday.

Sarah Ziff, GS ‘11, will speak at GS Class Day. Brittany Summer, GS ‘19, and Matthew Hess, GS ‘19, have been selected as valedictorian and salutatorian. The ceremony will take place on Monday, May 20 at 8 a.m. on Low Plaza and again at Commencement on Wednesday, May 22 at 10:30 a.m on the South Lawn.

Ziff, a labor activist, filmmaker, and fashion model, is the founding director of Model Alliance, a nonprofit organization that advances fair treatment, equal opportunity, and sustainable practices in the fashion industry. Ziff has appeared as a face of Stella McCartney, GAP, Kenneth Cole, and Tommy Hilfiger in her two decades of modeling. She graduated magna cum laude with a degree in political science, and received an M.P.A. from Harvard Kennedy School. Ziff is also a recipient of the National Organization for Women’s Susan B. Anthony Award and was named one of Fast Company’s “Most Creative People” of 2018.

Summer, a former dancer with the Boston Ballet, leader for Columbia Women in Business, and volunteer with the GS Mentor Program, was selected as the Class of 2019 Valedictorian. Summer has been inducted into the GS Honor Society, Phi Beta Kappa, and Psi Chi, the international honor society in psychology, and is graduating summa cum laude with a degree in psychology.

Hess, a Marine Corps veteran and first-generation low-income college student, leader on the Veteran Advisory Board, and volunteer with the Veteran Mentor Program, has been named the Class of 2019 Salutatorian. Hess was awarded the Presidential Global Fellowship to study in Amman, Jordan, will receive a Service Award from GS, and has been inducted in the GS Honor Society and Phi Beta Kappa. He graduates summa cum laude with a degree in Middle Eastern studies.

In addition, Molly Ola Pinney GS’09, the founder and CEO of the Global Autism Project—a nonprofit holding consultative status with the United Nations and working in ten countries—was awarded the University Medal for Excellence. The Medal is awarded to alumni with an outstanding record in scholarship, public service, or professional life. Pinney, who was invited to speak at the United Nations World Autism Awareness Day event, has also earned the Comcast NBCUniversal Award, the Autism Light Foundation Award.

General Studies administrators also announced that Michelle Page, GS ‘19, and Eytan Penn, GS ‘19, will speak at the Baccalaureate Service on Sunday, May 19 at 10 a.m. in St. Paul’s Chapel.

Staff writer Emma James can be contacted at emma.james@columbiaspectator.com. Follow her on Twitter at @emmawolfjames.

Commencement Class Day General Studies University medal of excellence
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