Each year, Denison chooses a select few to receive recognition as a President’s Medalist, Denison’s highest student honor. The preeminent criterion for receipt of a President’s Medal, established in 1985, is academic achievement. In addition, candidates must embody some combination of the following: service to the community, contribution to the arts, enlargement of the community’s global perspective, athletic fitness and achievement, leadership ability and contribution to community discourse.
Madelyn Kay Dirrim: English major, with minors in music and women and gender studies, was selected as a 2021 President’s Medalist. Her citation reads:
At Denison, it is not entirely unusual for a student to be praised for being able to “synthesize broad theoretical concepts.” And having the ability to communicate those concepts through good writing is part of what the university tries to develop in every student. What made your nomination stand out, Maddie, was the way so many faculty noted both your breadth and focus; your ability to be comprehensive in your academic scope, yet to stay tightly in analysis down to essential details … and for those gifts to be shown both on the page in composition and in your use of vocal performance as a means of self-expression and academic achievement. Perhaps more importantly in the difficult times we’ve all worked through, you used musical theatre as a way to bring students together even when we had to be apart, from parking garages and tennis courts for practices to the campus football field for performances, to give us a chance to let music bring us together across wider distances than usual. And we cannot award you as a President’s Medalist without noting your internship in Bath, England at “Mr. B’s Emporium of Reading Delights,” which I suspect now is on all of our bucket lists as a bookstore we need to visit someday.