We were greatly saddened that the students of the Class of 2020 did not get the opportunity to be recognized at the Honors Convocation in Hendricks Chapel, and to celebrate with their families, friends and well-wishers who convene from around the world, at the reception on the Quad. On May 7th, the Honors Program community celebrated with the graduates and their well-wishers in a poignant virtual gathering. The celebration video can be accessed on the Honors Thesis Research Showcase page. 

We asked our graduating speakers to tell us more about their academic careers, their plans after graduation and share some words of wisdom. As they remind us, even as we face so many uncertainties, with so many of our plans seeming to disappear, we can still look to the future with courage and with faith. Here is what they shared.

Samantha Walters

Picture of Samantha Walters
Samantha Walters
Whitman School of Management
Majors: Marketing Management/Accounting

I studied abroad in Madrid, Spain during the spring of 2019 and interned in the assurance division at Ernst and Young during the following summer. I will be returning to the firm in the fall of 2020 to become a Staff level Audit Accountant. I also plan on completing my CPA exam in the next year.

I was the president of Traditions Commission, the vice president of community engagement for the Honors Advisory Board, a U100 tour guide and a sister of Delta Phi Epsilon sorority. 

“Although the world is incredibly unpredictable at this moment, there is one thing I do know for certain. That is, that Syracuse University and the Honors Program prepared us for our futures.” 

Words of Wisdom: Every time you walk through campus, look around, listen to your favorite song, and take it all in, because one day you will look back and dream of being able to do that just one more time.

Isabel Reedy

Picture of Isabel Reedy
Isabel Reedy
School of Education
Major: Health & Exercise Science

While at Syracuse University, I was fortunate enough to study abroad twice; once over the summer as part of the Mt. Everest Base Camp Expedition, and during the spring semester of my junior year in Dublin, Ireland where I studied at University College Dublin. Moving forward, I will be working as a research assistant at Loyola University Medical Center with an ultimate goal of attending medical school in the coming years. 

During my four years at SU, I also served as the Director of Membership for the Forever Orange Student Alumni Council, the VP Communications for Delta Gamma, a Family & Hospital Relations committee member for OttoTHON, and was a Class Marshal for the School of Education. 

“We have learned from and been guided by leaders in our respective fields, preparing us for our careers or to further our educations. We have learned the importance of standing up for what is right and just in a world that is not. We have learned that although seeing your best friends and classmates every day is ideal, our friendships will stand the test of time due to the technology we are blessed to have. We have learned that we are not complacent, searching for a greater truth in this world. We have learned that we are capable of taking on and completing challenges that may have seemed so daunting at the beginning.”

Rori Sachs

Picture of Rori Sachs
Rori Sachs
S. I. Newhouse School of Public Communications
Major: Television, Radio and Film

I graduated summa cum laude from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications with a major in television, radio & film major and from the Martin J. Whitman School of Management with a minor in Entrepreneurship & Emerging Enterprises. Throughout my four years at Syracuse University, I participated in seven internships, including positions at talent agency William Morris Endeavor and Sony Pictures Entertainment. During my time on campus, I worked in-house at The Daily Orange for five semesters and was a voting member of the board of directors. For my honors thesis, I received $5,000 Crown funding to produce a documentary about The Daily Orange and its recent move from its house of 36 years. I plan to submit the documentary to film festivals in the near future.

In addition to holding a position on the executive board of the Entrepreneurship Club, I also participated in the Syracuse Abroad Madrid and Syracuse University in Los Angeles programs and was selected to be a Global Ambassador. For fun, I competed on both the Club Ultimate Frisbee and Club Tennis teams, which was a blast.

In the future, I hope to work at a talent agency to learn more about the business of the entertainment industry and eventually, become a TV/Film producer.

“As graduates in the year 2020, let us go forward with a clear vision of all that Syracuse University and the Renée Crown University Honors Program have taught us in our time on campus.”

Words of Wisdom from Rori: With challenge comes reward. That’s the philosophy of the Honors Program that has served as our guiding principles. Looking back at my application to the Honors Program as an overeager freshman, undecided in my major, all I wanted was to find my place on campus. The Honors Program provided me both an academic and social outlet to pursue my passions. For me, what really shines is the community it fosters and how it brings together the best and brightest students across all different majors.

Michael DiNardo

Picture of Michael DiNardo
Michael DiNardo
Martin J. Whitman School of Management/ College of Arts and Sciences
Majors: Supply Chain Management/ Psychology

Over the past four years, I am grateful for all the opportunities that SU has given me to get involved on campus and within the local city of Syracuse. From my first semester on campus, I was a member of OrangeSeeds: First-Year Leadership Empowerment Program where I served on the Executive Board for three years, including two-terms as one of the Co-Executive Directors. In the Spring of my first-year, I joined Phi Sigma Pi, a gender-inclusive, major-inclusive professional fraternity, where I was able to further develop my leadership abilities through various roles, such as serving as the President this past year.

More important than the leadership roles I have held in these organizations are the families I have gained from them. Without OrangeSeeds and PSP, I have no idea where I would be right now. Throughout the years, I have also had an opportunity to give back to the Whitman and Honors communities by serving as a peer mentor for both programs. Additionally, in my senior year, I had the honor of being selected as a Remembrance Scholar where I represented Frederick “Sandy” Phillips, a student in the School of Management who was passionate about serving his campus community. There are not enough words to describe how grateful I am to have been selected as a Remembrance scholar, but I am excited to carry Sandy’s legacy with me wherever I go beyond SU.

Although I am sad to be leaving SU, I am looking forward to returning to Danone North America’s Sales and Operations (S&OP) Department, where I was an intern back in the Summer of 2019. I am forever grateful for my time at SU and am excited to be a part of the strongest alumni network!

“Even though our time at SU may be coming to an end, the relationships and connections we have made here will always be with us. Sure, I could sit here and list everything we missed out on these past couple of months, but that list is nothing compared to the list of everything SU has given me over the past 3.75 years. From countless memories to lifelong friends, I always know that I have a second home at SU and for that, I am forever grateful.”

Words of Wisdom from Michael: Get involved on campus! Our university has so many different student organizations to offer and it is truly one of the best ways to make lifelong friends and connections. The best relationships and memories that I have created over the past four years have come from the organizations I joined. My experience at SU would not have nearly been the same without them. So, I encourage every student to find the organization that will make SU feel like home to them. More importantly, get involved with the city of Syracuse. Although Syracuse University may be a beautiful campus, we cannot forget about the city around us.

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