Four Nigerians, an Igbo girl and three Igbo boys, were named as best graduating students at the Dillard University, New Orleans, in the U.S.A.
The ceremony for 226 graduates was held at the University Auditorium and had the First Lady, Michelle Obama, in attendance.
On that evening, all eyes were on 20-year-old Merrilyn Akpapuna. The Igbo-speaking, Delta-State-born bright mind obtained the highest distinction, Summa Cum Laude, in Psychology. The topic of her research project was sexual harassment.
Moreover, Akpapuna won an award for highest academic achievements for the College of Arts and Sciences and another one for College of General Studies. She plans her postgraduate study at Western Michigan University this autumn.
The graduate, who was also the valedictorian, a student who delivered the farewell speech at the ceremony, shared the stage with Michelle Obama.
The three other Nigerians are: Victor Ogburie (Abia State) – Computer Science Major with minors in Physics and Mathematics. Academic award: Salutatorian – Summa Cum Laude; Stephen Ogidi Igwe (Abia State) – Biology Major. Academic Award: Salutatorian – Summa Cum Laude; Emole Anya Dimgba (Abia State) – Computer Science Major with minors in Physics and Mathematics. Academic Award: Salutatorian – Summa Cum Laude.
US First Lady, Michelle Obama described the graduates of the “historically-black” college as a “sea of young geniuses”, and told them they had opportunities and skills that their parents and grandparents never could have imagined.
She also used the occasion to remember abducted Government Girls Secondary School, GSS Chibok girls, who now suffer only “for wanting an education and wanting to go to school.”


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