The Lord Botetourt Medal

Rebecca Koenig - 2012 Award Citation

REBECCA KOENIG graduates with a Bachelor of Arts in History and English, membership in Phi Beta Kappa, and a near-perfect GPA.  Her professors in both of her major departments laud her intellectual maturity, work ethic, and superb abilities as a writer.  Whether as the lone freshman in a class of upperclass undergraduates or, more recently, as the lone undergraduate in a graduate-level seminar, Becky has distinguished herself among her peers in even the most advanced courses. One of her professors wrote that Becky “asks the most penetrating questions I’ve ever gotten from a student at any level,” and she has stood out to more than one professor as the best student in class.  She brings to the classroom not only a brilliant mind, but also, in the estimation of another professor, “strong convictions, a deep moral sense, and flair with words that is extremely rare.”

An aspiring journalist, Becky spent a summer in Washington, D.C., chronicling the everyday lives of ordinary people.  Her series of non-fiction essays became the foundation of her senior honors thesis, “Playing in the Big Leagues,” which was judged by one professor as “among the very best things I’ve ever read by an undergraduate.”  Her thesis received the relatively rare mark of “highest honors”—a designation reserved by the English Department for only the most exceptional work. 

Becky has developed her journalistic skills through her co-curricular activities as well.  She has been involved with the campus newspaper The Flat Hat since her freshman year, serving as both a writer and, most recently, managing editor.  She has also worked as a reporting intern in the Washington, D.C. area with Connection Newspapers and the Scripps Howard Foundation Wire.  Her writing has received numerous recognitions, including first- and third-place standings in the Tiberius Gracchus Jones Award for Creative Non-Fiction in 2010 and 2011, respectively.  She was honored again this spring with the College’s Kays Gary-Charles McDowell, Jr. Journalism Award. 

Becky will continue her studies at Northwestern University, one of the best journalism programs in the nation.  In the words of one of her nominators, “hers will be a stellar career,” no doubt characterized by the incredible talent and fine personal qualities that have so distinguished her during her time at the College.