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May 8, 2003
A Rare Double-Double: Two Valedictorians, Two Perfect 4.0s

Daniela Gregory and Kathryn Luxa Took Different Paths Toward Top Honors

Contact:
Darren Johnson
(631) 287 8313
Fax: (631) 283 4081

Southampton, NY - Southampton College will host a rare double accomplishment at Commencement this year: Both Daniela Gregory and Kathryn Luxa will be honored as co-valedictorians, each scoring a perfect 4.0 over her four years.

But aside from the duplicate honors, the two women took very different paths to Southampton College, and they each ended up being transformed in different ways during their four years of study. Each will give a speech at Commencement, which begins at 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 18, on Chancellors Hall Lawn.

Daniela Gregory has finally found a home at Southampton College. The daughter of a civil servant working for the U.S. government, she otherwise lists Pisa, Italy, as her hometown and Stars & Stripes as her hometown newspaper. She graduated from Livorno American High School in Pisa with eight others. A world traveler already, she chose Southampton College because of its Environmental Studies program and its heralded, hands-on SEAmester program, where students man an ocean schooner for nine-weeks while studying marine science and literature of the sea, with stops from the Caribbean up the east coast to Greenport, NY.

However, Gregory never found the time to go on SEAmester. Instead, the student who had lived globally, now found out how to act locally. She became a full-fledged activist. Gregory has led the campus club P.E.A.C.E. (Protecting Every Aspect Concerning the Environment), serving as their president for her sophomore and junior years. Seeking to include more environmental requirements into the core curriculum for all students, Gregory advises on the faculty's Curriculum Committee. She is also a prominent member of the organization Greenprint, a group that incorporates faculty, administration and students in an effort to make the campus more environmentally aware. Part of what pushed her to succeed was her commitment to improving the environment and making others more ecologically conscious. She also recently spearheaded a campus drive to send care packages to Iraqi refugees. Last week, she was presented with the Vincent Aloia Memorial Achievement Award on campus for her combination of scholarship and activism on campus, as well as the Provost's Citizenship Award. She, along with Luxa, also won the Outstanding Academic Achievement Award. Gregory is the daughter of Roy E. and Graziella Gregory of Pisa, Italy.

Always a solid A-student, Kathryn Luxa wasn't nearly as much of a globetrotter ? until she came to Southampton College. The Tacoma, Wash., native and Marine Science Vertebrate Biology major was finally able to go beyond her textbooks, and a new world was opened up through SEAmester last year. "It was the most exciting experience of my life," Luxa said. SEAmester is a challenging adventure where students not only study the ocean environment - they live it. On board the ship, the students are the crew, standing deck watch, manning the helm, and setting an acre of sail. At the same time, they take a full semester's workload, including courses in maritime history, marine science, coastal ecology and literature of the sea.

Knowing from an early age she wanted to work with sea life, Luxa has spent her undergraduate career studying marine animals through co-ops and internships all over the U.S. SEAmester was the catalyst that helped her explore the world and get the most from her college experience.

Luxa is also one of three student deans in the admissions office, where she is in charge of e-mails and the computer database. She has been active in the office since she was an incoming freshman herself, training the other student workers and guiding potential classmates through the admissions process.

As a Vertebrate Zoology lab assistant last semester, Luxa helped her fellow students explore the anatomy and physiology of animals. She has lectured on the anatomy and behavior of birds and supervised dissections. She is the daughter of Mary Luxa, and Bob and Kathy Luxa of Tacoma, Wash.

Both Luxa and Gregory plan to attend graduate school someday but will both take a little time off for now. Gregory is engaged to be married over the summer, and Luxa hopes to attain an internship at Cornell University studying bioacoustics.

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