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Raising the Bar

by Meaghan Agnew

Top row, from left: Evan Jesch, Jonathan Boyd, Salil Shah; middle row, from left: David Chacko, Dianna Truong, Malinda Lin, John Tan; bottow row, from left: Nilay Vora, Neil Vora, Nathaniel Dumas.

More than 200 USC students who embody the innovative and interdisciplinary ideals of Renaissance thought will be honored at the USC Senior and Graduate Recognition Awards Ceremony Thursday, May 13.

In addition, 10 scholars who won $10,000 USC Renaissance Scholar Prizes will be honored individually at the Bovard Auditorium ceremony beginning at 1 p.m.

A total of 239 Renaissance Scholars will be recognized for accomplishments in widely varied academic-program combinations. That number represents a significant jump from the 161 scholars honored in 2003.

Among the 2004 prizewinners is David Chacko, also this year’s valedictorian. With this latest honor, he has officially duplicated the accomplishments of his older brother, Jacob, who served as his graduating class’ valedictorian in 2000 and was also a Renaissance Scholar that year. Both brothers won Truman and Marshall Scholarships.

To be considered for the scholar designation, students submitted their course of study to a faculty panel, which evaluated it for breadth and depth of intellectual investigation. Students who met the panel’s criteria and who graduated within five years of undergraduate study with an overall grade-point average of 3.5 or better and a GPA of 3.5 or better in their major and minor course requirements, then received the Renaissance Scholar honor.

As many as 20 Renaissance Scholars annually can receive the $10,000 prize at commencement. To be considered for the prize, certified Renaissance Scholars in their senior year submitted faculty recommendations and an essay.

The 2004 Renaissance Prize winners are:

• Jonathan Boyd, major in health promotion and minor in classics and natural science.

• David Chacko, major in biology and business.

• Nathaniel Dumas, major in critical studies and minor in cultural anthropology.

• Evan Jesch, major in biology and minor in history and musical studies.

• Malinda Lin, major in biology and sociology.

• Salil Shah, major in philosophy and economics.

• John Tan, major in American Studies & Ethnicities, biology and political science.

• Dianna Truong, major in political science and American literature.

• Neil Vora, major in international relations and biology and minor in philosophy.

• Nilay Vora, major in interdisciplinary studies and mathematics and minor in natural science.

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