Morehouse College To Honor Two Valedictorians At Commencement Sunday

Date Released: May 16, 2017

By D. Aileen Dodd

Morehouse College will present degrees to nearly 300 scholars representing the Class of 2017 at the 133rd Commencement Ceremony at 8 a.m. Sunday. The event will feature a special appearance by a celebrity guest who will carry Morehouse’s 150th anniversary torch to the stage to launch graduation.

Commencement will be held at Century Campus, the esteemed green space in the shadow of the historic Graves Hall, Morehouse College’s oldest building.

Bowen and ScottTwo valedictorians will be honored at graduation for achieving a perfect 4.0 grade point average. The scholars are: Michael C. Scott, of Rockville, Md., an economics major and Chinese studies minor, and Douglas Bowen, an economics major, from Montego Bay, Jamaica.

“Being named valedictorian is an honor that I share with everyone who has helped me to get this far,” Scott said. “Since elementary school, I have been giving valedictory speeches; however, giving such a speech to my community at Morehouse College is humbling.” 

Scott, who received straight A’s throughout his time at Morehouse,  is a junior inductee of Phi Beta Kappa Society. He is also a member of Omicron Delta Epsilon, the International Economics Honor Society and Sigma Delta Pi, the National Collegiate Hispanic Honor Society. He was awarded the Goldman Sachs Scholarship for Excellence and the E.B. Williams Award for being a top scholar in the Division of Business Administration and Economics.

Scott also served as president of the Morehouse College Chinese Club, the Investment Finance Club, and was deputy managing editor of the Maroon Tiger Media Group, which publishes the student newspaper.

“The Department of Economics takes exposing students to research very seriously,” Scott said. “As a sophomore, I was able to work on a research paper with the Chair of Economics, Dr. Juliet Elu along with Dr. Tiffany Bussey of the Entrepreneurship Center. We presented the paper in Kunming, China which discusses the intersectionality of gender and ethnicity in China.

“With the support of Morehouse's Office of Academic Affairs, I had the privilege to travel overseas on a full scholarship.”

Upon graduation, Scott will spend a month in Berlin serving as a Humanity In Action Program fellow. He will then relocate to New York to work as an analyst within the Global Investment Research division at Goldman Sachs.

Bowen is a first generation college student who was also the valedictorian of his high school in Jamaica. He received a full scholarship to Morehouse and maintained straight A’s throughout his years at Morehouse. He enrolled in challenging courses and surrounded himself with a circle of friends who shared his academic focus, including co-valedictorian Michael Scott. 

Bowen also gained work experience. He served as an intern at Deloitte Consulting and Merchant Bank. He also traveled to London and Berlin with the Division of Business Administration’s Spring Tour business and cultural exchange program.

Bowen will graduate with the E.B. Williams Award for being a top scholar in the Division of Business Administration and Economics and for having the highest grade point average in economics.

Bowen says that he is “elated” about his being named as a valedictorian for the second time.

“The College beckoned, and I answered, and have been grateful ever since and humbled by these last four years,” he said.

After graduation, Bowen will work full-time as a financial analyst for BDT Capital Partners, a leading financial firm in Chicago.

2017 Salutatorian Gerard VanlooThe salutatorian of the Class of 2017 is Gerard Vanloo, a computer science major from Laurel, Maryland. Vanloo completed his coursework in December 2016 and is already working as a software developer for IBM Research in Yorktown, N.Y.

"Just knowing that we all worked hard together, it's humbling to know that I've placed among great graduates here at Morehouse.  

"It's not something that I set out to do," he added. "I just wanted to do well in school.

The top-graduating scholars will receive a special recognition during Commencement on Sunday, May 21. The day will begin with the lighting of the “Sesquicentennial Torch of Excellence” at a pre-graduation ceremony at 7:30 a.m. Sunday at the former site of Friendship Baptist Church, which is downtown Atlanta next to the new Mercedes Benz Stadium. Members of the Morehouse College Track and Field/Cross Country team will run the Torch as a group through the streets of southwest Atlanta and into the gates of the Morehouse campus following the event.

They will light the torch of the celebrity guest, who will then carry it onto campus at the beginning of the 133rd Commencement ceremony. 

Guest speaker for graduation will be Van Jones, a CNN political correspondent and former White House policy adviser to President Barack Obama.

Morehouse Writer Add Seymour contributed to this report.

Last Modified: June 8, 2017, 13:06 PM, by: Synera Shelton

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