BETHANY, W.Va. – Valedictorian Olivia Konopka of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, who completed her “perfect” college career as a double major in History and Interdisciplinary Studies, was recognized during Bethany College’s 2017 Commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 20. Dr. Larry Grimes, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty, presented Konopka with the College’s prestigious Oreon E. Scott Award, which is given annually to the senior graduating with the highest academic standing.
Konopka has been cited by her professors as a talented and exceptional student well beyond her years.
“She is quite simply the most talented student I have ever taught, sophisticated well beyond her years, whose intellectual curiosity leads her in the most intriguing and delightful directions,” said Grimes.
Dr. Grimes also noted that not only is she a superior student, but she is an upstanding citizen of the Bethany Community and the larger world.
“Our winner is graduating Summa Cum Laude. She was recently inducted into the 1933 Society open only to those who graduate with distinction. The celebratory coin reads ‘Maxima Cum Laude’,” said Grimes. “A 4.0 is a perfect grade point average at Bethany College. Suffice it to say, our valedictorian has graduated beyond perfection – perhaps this rises to yet another laude. I shall call it Super-Nova Cum Laude.”
As a History and Interdisciplinary Studies double major, Konopka has excelled every semester of her college career. She was named to the President’s List each semester, which is awarded to those who have a perfect 4.0 grade point average while completing a minimum of 12 graded credit hours, as well as earned distinction on both sets of comprehensive exams. The honor of distinction is reserved for those who perform exceptionally well and show mastery of their field of study in both written and oral assessments.
Konopka has won numerous awards, including the John R. Taylor Award, Cammie Pendleton Award, Frank Alfred Chapman Memorial Award, Frank Roy Gay Award and Thomas R. Burns Award.
In addition, she is a member of several academic honor societies, including Phi Alpha Theta, Pi Gamma Mu and Sigma Tau Delta.
Outside of the classroom, she led weekly tours of the Campbell Mansion for visitors to Bethany from all over the country. She was appointed as senior fellow in both history and interdisciplinary studies. During her senior year, she also volunteered with the Bison Basketball Team.
With great loyalty and dedication, she led and served as an officer for numerous campus student groups. In particular, Konopka was President of both the Writer’s Club and the Religion-Philosophy Club.
She is the daughter of Andrew and Lori Konopka, and is a 2013 graduate of Avonworth High School in Pittsburgh.
Bethany College is 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.