Meet Class of 2017 Valedictorian Marialaura Grandolfo

Class of 2017 Valedictorian Marialaura Grandolfo

Class of 2017 Valedictorian Marialaura Grandolfo

John Cabot University’s Vice President and Dean of Academic Affairs Mary Merva is pleased to announce the Valedictorian for the Class of 2017, Marialaura Grandolfo.

The term “valedictorian” is an Anglicised derivation of the Latin vale dicere (“to say farewell”) and refers to the student who delivers the farewell statement at the graduation ceremony. This honor is usually granted to the student with the highest grade point average of the graduating class.

Marialaura comes from Modugno, a town near Bari (Puglia, Italy). She is an English Literature major with a minor in Communications.  She has been accepted to the University of Oxford, where she will work on her M.St. in English (1900-present).

During her time at JCU, Marialaura has worked as a Writing Center tutor and as an assistant to Prof. Carlos Dews, managing the public relations of the Institute for Creative Writing, and co-organizing the upcoming conference “Carson McCullers in the World.” Marialaura is also co-founder and board member of JCU’s Literature Club, and has been a board member of JCU’s Queer Alliance.

Here’s what two of Marialaura’s professors had to say about her.

Carlos Dews
“Rarely in a career as a professor does one encounter a student as brilliant as Marialaura Grandolfo. From my first advising meeting with Marialaura three years ago I knew that she was special – the perfect combination of natural curiosity, wonderful language skills, and the work ethic and dedication that allow her to achieve her scholarly goals.  One of the joys of teaching at JCU is seeing a student, in a language not her mother tongue, achieve critical and writing skills at the level that Marialaura demonstrates. It has been a pleasure having Marialaura as an advisee and student. We will miss her greatly and wish her well as she enters graduate school at Oxford University this fall.  I am certain that she will thrive there and that the professors at Oxford will feel the same way about her that we have here at JCU.”

Shannon Russell
“That Marialaura is Valedictorian is completely unsurprising. She has enriched all of our teaching lives at JCU and seemed to have arrived ready for graduate school in her first year with us.  She has always had a level of intellectual rigor and expression in her writing that is the mark of a real thinker.  Marialaura probes well below the surface of things to consider the hows and the whys of questions.  She works creatively to come up with her own fascinating interpretations, asserted always in clear and beautiful prose. She makes the hard work of writing and thinking look both effortless and enjoyable.  Marialaura will simply shine at Oxford next year.  We are so proud of her and so privileged to have had her in our community. And we can’t wait to see what she will do next!”

Congratulations to Marialaura from the entire John Cabot University community!