Philosophy, politics & economics major Madeleine “Maddy” Murphy is one of only eight students chosen as a President’s Medalist, Denison’s highest award for students, for the Class of 2023. Murphy says, “I knew I would be challenged to think in small classrooms and have a tendency to get myself involved in leadership so while those were incredibly formative they were expected. On the other hand, I never expected to continue playing flute in college.”

“I loved band in high school but I did not even bring my flute with me my first semester,” says Murphy, who adds that many of her friends were in the Wind Ensemble. “After a bit of healthy peer pressure and some FOMO, I decided to join them my spring semester.”

“What surprised me was while we were playing high-level music I felt the emphasis was not on perfection — it was on learning to be a lifelong creative. We also were playing music that meant something. I found myself connecting Political Theory or Protest History classes to band music in a fascinating way.”

Murphy fondly remembers a conversation with President Weinberg. “He remembered my name in front of my grandmother during Big Red Weekend. She was just so impressed that the president knew me (and called me out in a speech later that day). I think it points to the way he really tries to get to know all of us and what we are interested in, an individual approach that is reflected across the campus.”

Murphy’s citation reads, in part:

“…you have been described as “curious, passionate, and brave,” as a major in philosophy, politics, and economics. You excelled in the classroom and have taken what you have learned there to contribute to our campus community.”

“…Your overarching interest in public policy has been reflected in so many areas of our campus, but particularly as DCGA policy chair, speaker of the Student Senate, and as 2023 class co-governor.”

“…Your engagement with policy also led you to a summer internship in the Maryland Senate, working with the Commission to Assist Ukraine and the Helsinki Commission.

“…You have enriched our community with your work on the University Conduct Board, University Council, and as a volunteer with Camp Kesem.

“…You also have sought harmony as a member of the Orchestra and Wind Ensemble, with a music faculty member describing you as ‘the model of the liberal arts student we all love to work with.’”

May 5, 2023