Continuing a tradition that dates back to 1928, Connecticut College has selected 15 seniors to be honored as Winthrop Scholars. The impressive group includes a Critical Language Scholarship winner, an Academic All-American swimmer, an All-New England indoor track sprinter, and two senior admission fellows.
The designation of Winthrop Scholar is the highest academic honor bestowed by the College. Reserved for students who demonstrate exceptional scholarship, the honor is named for John Winthrop the Younger, who founded the city of New London and served as governor of Connecticut.
Winthrop Scholars are also the first members of their class selected for membership in Phi Beta Kappa, the national honor society of undergraduate higher education.
At an April 12 induction ceremony, President Katherine Bergeron congratulated the Winthrop Scholars on “becoming the newest members of the oldest honor society in the United States.”
“An honor society like Phi Beta Kappa, of course, is both a symbolic community and a real community. Symbolically, new members are connected by common qualities and values: your intellectual curiosity, your hard work, your love of learning,” Bergeron told the scholars.
“But as today’s gathering also makes clear, with this wonderful turnout, you aren’t just a symbolic community, but a real community. You are surrounded by like-minded friends and teachers and family members; people who took your love of learning seriously,” she continued.
“I want you to take a moment to reflect on that community today and think about all those people in your lives who invested in you. And as you do that, I do hope that you will recognize all the love that kept your life on course.”
Assistant Professor of History Dean Accardi gave the keynote address, “Let the work lead you, but never lose your humanity.” An historian of gender, religion and politics in South Asia and the Islamic World, Accardi told the winding story of how his exploration of various interests eventually led him to focus his research on Kashmir, the contested region at the shared borders of India, Pakistan and China, that is often described as the “most dangerous place in the world.”
He told students that when he was able to travel to Kashmir, “Kashmiris encouraged me in my research, telling me I needed to tell their stories and tell the world what is happening there. To talk about Kashmir not as a place, a territory being fought over by governments and nation states, but as people in this world who need to be known, and need to live. So here I am, telling all of you.
“So go out into the world, and let the work you are excited by guide you and take you wherever it takes you, but never lose your humanity. Remember people in this world, and never let the work overtake the people for whom your work is meant.”