The Commencement Speaker Medal is presented to a student who represents the character of the graduating class and will give an inspirational and engaging speech that represents the college’s values and learning outcomes.
The Barbara Johnson Stearns Award was established in 1982 and honors a member of the senior class who has demonstrated exemplary leadership and a dedication to the college community.
Nathnael Feleke, a nursing major from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, is both a mentor and role model to those who cross his path. A gifted student with a passion for healthcare, Nathnael is equally as motivated outside the classroom, dedicating much of his time to helping those around him succeed.
A member of the Wesson Honors Program, as well as the Alpha Chi National College Honor Society and Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing, Nathnael’s commitment to academics is palpable in his achievements. Nathnael worked hands-on as a Student Nurse Extern in the Coronary Care/Cardiac Surgery Unit and Cardiac Telemetry Unit at Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor, Maine, and plans to continue helping those who need him most as a critical care nurse.
Nathnael’s devotion to his peers was evident through his work as a resident assistant, in which he volunteered to be placed with first-year students in each of his three years in that role. As one staffer who nominated him for the Barbara Johnson Stearns Award put it, “I believe this speaks directly to his ready willingness to teach, assist and lead.”
Outside of his work as a resident assistant, Nathnael was involved in a variety of clubs and organizations on campus. He was a senator and treasurer on the Student Government Association, a member of the Presidential Blue Key Society, a peer research consultant and a student ambassador, among several others. He was also a member of the college’s cross country and track and field teams.
Nathnael said he credits Colby-Sawyer for providing the financial assistance he needed to attend a four-year institution, and that once he arrived on campus, he quickly immersed himself in a variety of leadership roles as a way of showing his gratitude to the college. Nathnael said he hopes to continue to support students like himself who rely on financial aid and scholarships to further their education.