Widener Announces Four-Way Tie for Class of 2013 Valedictorian

groupFour members of the Widener University Class of 2013 have been named valedictorian after each earning a 4.0 grade point average. Sharing the honor are Michelle Callaghan, Edwin Dauber, Emma Ricciardi, and Erin Sylvester.

Salutatorian is Charlotte Kirkby who earned a near-perfect grade point average of 3.99.

Callaghan is the daughter of John and Donna Callaghan of Williamstown, N.J. She graduates Widener with a bachelor's degree in English. She is currently researching graduate programs that will enable her to purse a newfound interest in interactive narrative, specifically video game writing. She would eventually like to teach at the collegiate level and follow in the footsteps of her mother, Donna, who is faculty in Widener's School of Nursing. Immediately following graduation, Callaghan will work as assistant director of The Road Company Theater Group's youth summer theater camp in Williamstown.

At Widener, Callaghan was a member of the Alpha Psi Omega, Phi Kappa Phi and Sigma Tau Delta honor societies. She served as president for both Alpha Psi Omega and Sigma Tau Delta. She performed for four years with the Widener Chorale, for three years in Theatre Widener and for one year with Widedauberner's FreshBaked Theatre Company, which puts on inventive dramas for children. In addition, she was a resident assistant her sophomore year.

Prior to commencement, Callaghan earned three academic awards: the K.B. Brannon Award for her contribution to the life of the humanities at Widener; the College of Arts and Sciences Prize for her high scholarly attainment and service to the university; and the Alice Nearing Prize for her ability in creative writing.

Dauber is the son of Edwin George Dauber Sr. and the late Elva Lorinda Dauber of Chesapeake City, Md. He graduates Widener with a bachelor's degree in computer science. Following graduation, he will begin working toward his doctorate in computer science at Drexel University.

At Widener, Dauber was a member of the Phi Kappa Phi and Sigma Alpha Pi honor societies. He was also a member of the Computer Science Club. Dauber represented Widener's computer science program for two years as a presenter at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research. This past year, he presented his senior research project, which involved programming a computer game.

Dauber earned a full-tuition scholarship to attend Widener. Prior to commencement, he also received two academic awards: the Computer Science Award for demonstrating excellence in the computer science field, and the Science Award for having the highest academic average of any student in the science division. In addition, Dauber received a certificate of honors in general education for completing the Honors Program at Widener.

Ricciardi is the daughter of Phil Ricciardi and Laurie Gilroy of North Wales, Pa. She graduates Widener with dual bachelor's degrees in English and creative writing. Following graduation, she will attend ricciRutgers-New Brunswick to pursue a master's degree in library science.

At Widener, Ricciardi was a member of the Alpha Mu Gamma and Alpha Psi Omega honor societies. She was an editor for four years – and editor-in-chief last academic year – of Widener's literary magazine, Widener Ink, formerly The Pioneer Review. She also served as an editor for The Blue Route, Widener's online undergraduate literary journal.

Ricciardi earned a full-tuition scholarship to attend Widener. Prior to commencement, she received the J. Wilson Graham Award, which is presented to a member of the senior class deemed most outstanding in English literature. In addition, she received a certificate of advanced honors in general education for exceeding the five courses needed for a certificate of honors.

Sylvester of Mantua, N.J., is the daughter of Ray Sylvester of Windham, Maine, and Judy Andrews of Brunswick, Maine. Her stepfather is Richard Andrews. Sylvester graduates from Widener with a bachelor's degree in English. She is pursuing a career in editing.

At Widener, Sylvester was a member of the Omicron Delta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi and Sigma Tau Delta honor societies. She was also a member of the English Club and served as manager during the 2011-2012 academic year and as senior consultant this past year. She served as editor of Widener's literary magazine, Widener Ink, formerly The Pioneer Review, during the 2011-2012 academic year and as editor-in-chief this past year.

Sylvester earned the Presidential Scholarship to attend Widener.

Kirkby, Widener's salutatorian, is the daughter of Alan and Margaret Kirkby of Williamstown, N.J. She graduates Widener with dual bachelor's degrees in French and psychology. Following graduation, she will begin a summer internship with the Presbyterian Historical Society in Philadelphia. In the fall, she will attend Rutgers-New Brunswick with her Widener roommate for the past three years, Ricciardi, to pursue a master's degree in library science. Kirkby discovered her passion for library science after working for nearly three years with the Widener University Archives.

At Widener, Kirkby was a member of the Alpha Mu Gamma, Alpha Psi Omega, Phi Beta Delta and Psi Chi honor societies. She participated in Theatre Widener as both a performer and crew member and served as a president of the French Club this past academic year. Kirkby studied abroad in both the south of France in Aix-en-Provence and in Quebec to improve her fluency in French.

Kirkby earned a full tuition scholarship to attend Widener. Prior to graduation, she received two academic awards: the French Award, which is given by the French government through the French Embassy in Washington, D.C., to seniors majoring in French who have demonstrated outstanding achievement in that area; and the Psychology Prize, which is presented to graduating senior psychology majors who have demonstrated outstanding scholarship in that discipline. In addition, she received a certificate of advanced honors in general education for exceeding the five courses needed for a certificate of honors.

Widener University is a private, metropolitan university that connects curricula to social issues through civic engagement. Dynamic teaching, active scholarship, personal attention, leadership development and experiential learning are key components of the Widener experience. A comprehensive doctorate-granting university, Widener is comprised of eight schools and colleges that offer liberal arts and sciences, professional and pre-professional curricula leading to associate, baccalaureate, master's and doctoral degrees. The university's campuses in Chester, Exton, Harrisburg, Pa., and Wilmington, Del., serve some 6,500 students. Visit the university website, www.widener.edu.

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Photo 1: From left to right, valedictorians Michelle Callaghan and Erin Sylvester pose with salutatorian Charlotte Kirkby.

Photo 2: Valedictorian Edwin Dauber

Photo 3: Valedictorian Emma Ricciardi