Notre Dame Has First Black Valedictorian

A 21-year-old woman will make history May 16 at the University of Notre Dame

By Aixa Velez
|  Tuesday, Apr 13, 2010  |  Updated 11:17 AM CDT
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Chicago's Reality Connection

Katie Washington, first black valedictorian at Notre Dame

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A Gary, Indiana native will make history next month as the first black valedictorian from the University of Notre Dame.

Katie Washington, 21, is a biology major and minor in Catholic social teaching with a 4.0 GPA.

“I am humbled,” said Washington to the Northwest Indiana Times. "I am in a mode of gratitude and thanksgiving right now.”

University officials said they couldn’t recall ever having a black valedictorian, and don’t keep record of their race.

The valedictorian has been accepted to five schools, including Harvard, but she plans to pursue a joint M.D./Ph.D. at Johns Hopkins University, according to nwitimes.com.

"Katie works so hard," Washington’s mother Jean Tomlin said. "I told her when she went to Notre Dame, 'You are representing your family, your church and the city of Gary. Make us proud.'"

She has definitely made her family proud and is following in their footsteps. Her father is a doctor, her mother and sister are nurses, one brother is completing his residency and another brother who works for British Petroleum.

"I have had so much support, people who really wanted to see that I reached my full potential,” Washington told nwitimes.com. “They all had my best interest at heart."

Washington will address the class of 2010 at commencement on May 16.
 

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