Meet Class of 2022 Valedictorian Giulia Leo

John Cabot University’s Dean of Academic Affairs Carlos Dews is pleased to announce the Valedictorian for the Class of 2022, Giulia Leo. She has earned a B.A. in Communications, summa cum laude, with a minor in Creative Writing. Giulia is also pursuing a second B.A. in English Literature with a minor in Classical Studies, which she will complete next year.

An anglicized derivation of the Latin vale dicere (“to say farewell”), the word “valedictorian” 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 in the graduating class.

Giulia Leo

Giulia Leo

Born and raised in Bari in the Puglia region of Italy, Giulia went to high school at the Liceo Classico Socrate in Bari, where she developed a passion for English Literature. “John Cabot’s English program immediately caught my eye when I stumbled upon the University’s website during my fourth year of high school. I like to say it was love at first sight because it did not take me longer than a few weeks and a campus visit to enroll one year in advance. During my academic journey, I had the chance to learn from great professors and to approach different texts and authors from many perspectives, often challenging traditional viewpoints,” says Giulia.

“The decision to add Communications to my studies came both from the desire to keep growing in JCU’s stimulating environment and a newfound passion for journalism. Back in 2018, when I was still in high school, I held a TED Talk on feminism and the future of women. That experience inspired me to take a Public Speaking class at JCU. Another Communications class followed, then another, until I found myself deciding it was worth pursuing another degree. Now, my path is clearer than ever. I plan to conclude my Bachelor of Arts in English Literature next year and apply for master’s programs in the field of Journalism for the Arts,” explained Giulia.

Here is what some of her professors had to say about Giulia:

Peter Sarram, Associate Professor of Communications and Media Studies
Having Giulia in class was a true privilege. Any professor dreams of having students like her in their courses. Not only for the sharp, focused way in which she tackled complex concepts and then rearticulated and synthesized them to serve her own research concerns but also for how she embodied the idea of growth, across the board, which should be the ultimate aim of a university experience. I’m certain she’ll bring that approach to anything she decides to do after graduation and will be successful in no uncertain terms.

Alessandra Grego, Associate Professor of English Literature
Giulia Leo is an enthusiast: she brings as much passion to her studies as she does to her multiple and varied extracurricular activities. She is also tireless – in addition to pursuing a double major in English Literature and Communications, she is the editor of The Matthew, the student representative of the English Department, and more. What I appreciate most about Giulia is her ability to bring together all her interests in a true interdisciplinary fashion, an excellent example of a liberal arts graduate.

Erika Tasini, Lecturer in Communications
In addition to being an outstanding student, Giulia is a unique compendium of rare qualities. In my classes, she constantly provided profound analytical insights, yet she also developed a remarkable creative talent. Always well-prepared, thoughtful, and enthusiastic, she conveyed her academic passion with a mature and professional attitude. Her calm, kind determination and her enterprising spirit led her to go the extra mile and serve as both the president of The Matthew and a Representative of the English Department. I can’t wait to see where the world takes Giulia, as I’m convinced that the world is hers to take on.

Antonio Lopez, Associate Professor of Communications and Media Studies
Giulia is an amazing interdisciplinary thinker who produced graduate school-level research for her Senior Capstone. Her research project was a literary analysis of pop singer Taylor Swift. She innovatively developed the concept of the “Swiftverse” to describe the artist’s transmedia storytelling across different media platforms. Giulia was always a positive and enthusiastic presence in class. She was a joy to have as a student.

Elizabeth Farren, Lecturer in Creative Writing
Giulia Leo is an impeccable student who sets the standard for all of her peers. She animates the classroom with her intelligent observations, her remarkable ability to think outside of the box, and her wealth of knowledge. She is extraordinarily well-read, perceptive, eloquent, humble, thoughtful, always prepared, and ever curious. What a lucky professor I was to have Giulia in the classroom!