Earning a top ranked graduate degree in just eleven months is hard. Earning that degree in the middle of a pandemic when the cohort is such a vital part of the success of the thirty four year old program is a bigger challenge than most would want to take on. But, to do all of this with a perfect 4.0 GPA is incredible. Yet, CICS announced not one student with a perfect GPA, but four at the virtual graduation ceremony on July 18, 2020.
Trey Berry, Corentin “Coco” Rafflin, Dion Utt and Christina Wellbank were on hand to accept their awards. When presenting it, Dr. Dennis Trinkle, Director of CICS stated “The Academic Award recognizes academic success and it goes to the students who achieve the highest level of academic performance. Or to ‘the student’, typically, it is just one student. But, this has been an extraordinary class in an extraordinary year and this year we had not one but four students who have it who have attained perfect GPAs in the program. I understand from faculty who been here since the beginning that it’s rare in any year to have a student to earn a 4.0 and it really is extraordinary to have four students who met that mark so it is my real pleasure to acknowledge these students”.
Each student was allowed a moment to speak. Trey Berry shared his experience during his freshman year in his undergraduate program, when his GPA was not a 4.0, that his guidance counselor urged him to get on an upward trend and stay there. He definitely did! Trey went on to say “I could not have done it without the support of all the teammates along the way and all of our professors, the support throughout this whole program has been astonishing so thank you very much.”
Christina thanked her teammates as well, stating “CICS has been the best decision of my life! I’m so happy I got to meet all you guys and I definitely grew in being a team member. So, thank you for everybody who contributed to that and I’m look forward to seeing where we’re all going!”
CoCo and Dion echoed that sentiment that they grew stronger academically because of the cohort and faculty. Both had fond memories of times where they leaned on others and were very humble in this outstanding accomplishment.