Academic Spotlight: Christina Burke speaks at Purdue commencement

Christina Burke, 22, of Naperville, speaks at Purdue commencement.  |  Submitted
Christina Burke, 22, of Naperville, speaks at Purdue commencement. | Submitted

In a class of more than 6,000 students at Purdue University, Christina Burke stood out among her peers. The 22-year-old Naperville resident was selected by the faculty at the West Lafayette, Indiana, campus to deliver the commencement address at the graduation ceremony May 17.

“Being chosen to speak at my graduation was very surreal,” said Burke, who graduated from Benet Academy in 2010. “I received an email saying I was selected, and I didn’t really believe it until they called me. It’s very hard to describe how much it meant to be able to address my peers.”

Along with being named commencement speaker, Burke was awarded the Flora Roberts Award, which is presented to the outstanding senior woman. It honors her scholarship, leadership, character and service to the university community. She also received the Outstanding Senior award from the School of Health Sciences based on similar principles.

“Christina is an individual of integrity, who leads by example and sets high standards,” said Rosemary Ricci, Purdue University academic adviser. “She is a believer in the ‘do right’ principle; do it right the first time and every time. She has the respect of her professors, fellow students and friends.”

Christine Ladisch, dean of the College of Health and Human Sciences, shared the sentiment.

“Christina personifies all that we can possibly expect from a Purdue student: she excelled academically, actively participated in co-curricular opportunities, and became a student leader and role model for others,” Ladisch said. “We wish her all the best as she moves on to medical school.”

Burke earned a bachelor of science in health sciences, with minors in biology and Spanish.

She said her Benet education left her “well-prepared for Purdue’s rigorous curriculum.”

“My Benet education made the transition between high school and college very seamless,” she said. “Additionally, after my involvement at Benet in athletics and clubs, like cross-country and student government, I was very interested in becoming involved at Purdue.”

In the fall, Burke plans to attend Midwestern University Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine to pursue a career in family medicine.

“I have been so honored and humbled by the recognition this year, and I owe so much of that to the wonderful faculty and peers I had the chance to work with,” she said. “I am especially thankful to my family and friends for being my cheerleaders; I know I wouldn’t have gotten very far without them.”

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