On the evening of Tuesday, May 17, Deborah Knaust, Dean of Student Life and Engagement at the Office of Student Life, and Professor Fabio Ferrari emceed the Academic Awards Ceremony to great fanfare in the Nielsen Auditorium on the Kaletsch Campus. Dean Deborah opened the ceremony with a witty “Ode to the Franklin Community,” where she shared memories of the year’s events. Her message was humorous yet poignant for attendees, comprised of faculty, staff, and students. The event was filled with appreciation, applause, and occasional bursts of laughter as each award was announced. 

Academic Award recipients included Grace Bacon, Madeline Espinoza, Majda Halim, Arpi Khachatryan, Spencer Landry, Stephanie Lohmann, Gabriela Malavenda, Gretchen Manderfeld, Alexandra Mitu, Britton Morrell, Angelica Berrios Nieves, Oleksandr Pryimak, Prerna Singh, Claire Marie Sullivan, and Aigerim Tulzhanova.  

Student University Award recipients included Alexandra Mitu for Class Valedictorian 2023, Spencer Landry for the Presidential Leadership Award, Grace Bacon for Academic Excellence, Arpi Khachatryan for the Gerta Holman Award, Paige Arellano for Outstanding Graduate Student Leadership, Cassidy Gorrigan for Outstanding First-Year Student, Arpi Khachatryan for SGA Student Engagement, and Calysta Warner for the Alumni Council Student Art Competition Award.  

Faculty and Staff University Award recipients included Professors Bernd Bucher and Marcus Pyka for Excellence in Professional Engagement, Tracie Mac Kenzie for Excellence in Service, David Suleiman for Excellence in Teaching, Vera Dianova for Adjunct Faculty Appreciation, and Fatima Campos and Marta Leto for the Britt-Marie Muzi Staff Award. President Samuel Martín-Barbero congratulated award winners and seniors in the audience for their contributions to making Franklin a special place for learning and producing excellent research and artistic projects during their time in Lugano as students.  

All enjoyed a sumptuous banquet of Ticinese casual cuisine at the ceremony’s conclusion as faculty and students chatted and toasted to a job well done. Dessert was held al fresco as gelato—in an old-fashioned novelty truck and an assortment of colors and delicious flavors—was served to the honorees. The evening’s celebratory mood grew stronger as the crowd began to dissipate, as those gathered knew this was only the beginning of their week of Graduation festivities.