Valedictorian April O’Brien Receives Bethany College Oreon E. Scott Award

BETHANY, W.Va. — Valedictorian April M. O’Brien of Columbus, Ohio, completed her college career with top honors during Bethany College’s 2011 Commencement ceremony on May 14. Dr. Darin E. Fields, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty, presented O’Brien with the College’s Oreon E. Scott Award, given annually to the senior graduating with the highest academic standing.
“It is a genuine honor to be able to award the Oreon E. Scott award to valedictorian April O’Brien,” Fields stated. “Her outstanding scholarship and leadership at Bethany during her four years is a testament to her extraordinary character and drive. She is truly a remarkable young woman, and Bethany College is proud to have her as one of our new alums.”

 O’Brien, who earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications and Media Arts, passed her Senior Comprehensive Exams — written and oral assessments required for graduation from Bethany College — with distinction, an honor reserved for those who perform unusually well.  

 Professor M.E. Yancosek Gamble, Chair of the Department of Communications and Media Arts, remarked, “In all that she does, she represents all of us with responsibility, class, distinction and dedication.” Gamble continued, “She is among those exemplary students who personify the very best that Bethany is and can be, honoring the College’s traditions and its future possibilities.”

 Known for her exemplification of the meaning of leadership and commitment, O’Brien’s activities throughout her four years at Bethany demonstrate not only superior academic achievement, but the ability to organize and communicate effectively while maintaining her fundamental commitment to enriching the life of the Bethany College community.
During the College’s Honors Day Convocation in April, she was awarded the Bethany 2000 Prize (Senior Achievement Award) honoring a senior who has demonstrated loyalty and commitment to the College; and the Charlotte Manion Yurko Award, presented to the Communication senior with the highest scholastic average in the major.
O’Brien was a member of several honor societies and campus groups, including Alpha Psi Omega, Spanish Honor Society, Mass Media Club, Committee on Student Media Experiences, Society for Collegiate Journalists and the Bethany College Cheerleading Squad.

 She was a founding member of the Gamma Sigma Alpha Bethany honor society chapter; a volunteer with the YWCA; fundraising chair for Alpha Psi Omega; a justice of Bethany’s student court; treasurer of her freshman, sophomore, junior and senior classes; a senior fellow with the Department of Communications and Media Arts, secretary of the Student Government Association; and assistant editor of The Tower (Bethany College campus newspaper). 

 She has earned a wide variety of awards and honors, including the Margaret Woods Prize in Spanish Excellence; the James Keegan Prize for International Communication; the Jessie Pulcipher Prize in Communications; the Vira I. Heinz Women in Global Leadership Travel Award; and the Slaymaker-Kinsey Award in 2009 and 2010.

She was also named Tower Staffer of the Year and was a Bethany College Kalon Scholar.

O’Brien worked as president of Alpha Xi Delta sorority and was an official spokesperson for Wendy’s International. 
She has served in three internships — with NBC; WNCI, an Arbitron top-rated radio station; and Las Rosas, a radio station and public relations firm in Córdoba, Argentina.

O’Brien will also compete in the 2011 Miss West Virginia Scholarship Pageant and represents the state’s Northern Panhandle region.

Bethany College is a small college of national distinction located on a picturesque and historic 1,300-acre campus in the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia. Founded in 1840, Bethany is the state’s oldest private college.