Exceeding Expectations

Condon Medal winner announced and student achievements celebrated during award ceremony

Andrew Iferenta ’24, right, shares a moment with his parents, Renee and James Iferenta, after receiving the Condon Medal from President David A. Greene during the Colby Student Awards ceremony.
By Laura MeaderPhotography by Ashley L. Conti
May 9, 2024

The end of the academic year brings many bittersweet moments. One of the sweeter ones is the Student Awards ceremony, celebrating an array of student accomplishments.

The 16th annual event brought the campus community together to celebrate exceptional achievements and contributions by students who excelled academically and displayed remarkable creativity, critical thinking, and a deep commitment to service.

“The students we honor today have shown dedication to exploration and a willingness to push the boundaries of knowledge,” Dean of the College Gustavo Burkett said in his opening remarks. “Whether through innovative research, creative projects and performances, or transformative community service, you have made a lasting impact, not only within Colby but also in the community at large.”

President David A. Greene was inspired by the energy reverberating throughout the ceremony, held May 7 on the Colby Green. “When I see this level of achievement, and how well you’ve all done and the enthusiasm of everybody here, I just have to say that I’m so proud of all of you for everything you’ve accomplished,” he said. Despite the difficulties of the pandemic and some personal hardships, students pushed through. “You bring so much joy to this campus. Maybe it’s just the sunshine, but I have to say it’s great to be here with all of you to celebrate with you.”

Condon Medal Winner

President Greene then turned his remarks to the announcement of the Condon Medal winner,  presenting the prestigious award to Andrew Iferenta ’24.

“This year’s recipient of the Condon Medal demonstrates a commitment to community, a contagious desire to see and think about the world in new and creative ways, and a commitment to making positive change,” Greene said of Iferenta, who has “demonstrated time and again his ability to build community and work in the best interest of others.”

The Condon Medal, established in 1920 through a gift from Randall J. Condon, a member of Colby’s Class of 1886, recognizes the finest qualities of citizenship and is the only student award presented at commencement. In Condon’s words, “Character is the supreme end of education. Citizenship is the expression of it in the community.” The senior class and faculty choose the recipient by vote. 

Andrew Iferenta '24
Andrew Iferenta ’24 received the College’s prestigious Condon Medal, which recognizes constructive citizenship. Iferenta was hailed by President Greene as someone who demonstrated time and again an ability to build community and work in the best interest of others.

Iferenta is a science, technology, and society major with a double minor in cinema studies and English. Originally from the Bahamas, he attended high school in New Jersey and Massachusetts. At Colby, he served on the Student Government Association all four years, including as vice president his senior year. He was also the programming manager for the Colby radio station, WMHB, and worked with the Colby Museum on student engagement. A defensive lineman for the football team, Iferenta also helped recruit donors for Be the Match, a marrow registry organization for people with life-threatening diseases that the team supports.

After joining President Greene on stage to receive the Condon Medal, Iferenta turned to see his parents walking toward him, shock and surprise washing across his face. The family embraced, enveloped by applause from students, faculty, and staff.

A testament to hard work and perseverance

More than 100 students received academic and leadership awards at the ceremony. Students received their awards directly from faculty members, who offered handshakes and hugs in displays of mutual affection and respect. 

Brunda Katikireddy ’24, from Durham, N.H., was chosen by the senior class to deliver the student address at commencement on May 26. A computer science and mathematical science double major, she has served as president of the Student Government Association this year. She is also an intern with the Admissions Office and runs the e-NABLE Club, which prints 3D prosthetics.

Brunda Katikireddy ’24 was selected by the senior class to be the class speaker at commencement.

Prominent national awards included Fulbright grant winners Jackie Hardwick ’24 and Yumi Kang ’24. Bibatshu Thapa Chhetri ’25 and Joseph Grassi ’25 won a $10,000 Projects for Peace grant for their project “Digital Kisan (Farmer),” which will take place in Nepal this summer. Anooshka Sethi ’25 was awarded a $7,000 Udall Scholarship for environmental leadership.

The senior class selected Associate Professor of Psychology Tarja Raag as the 32nd Charles Bassett Teaching Award recipient. Raag will present the traditional “Last Lecture” to the senior class on May 21.

“We are incredibly proud of all you have accomplished,” concluded Burkett. “Your achievements are a testament to your hard work, perseverance, and passion for learning. You have not only met the challenges, you have exceeded expectations, inspiring others around you to reach for new heights.”

A complete list of award winners and their respective awards can be found here.