Eastern Mennonite University members of the Class of 2023 who will march with Cords of Distinction are: (top, from left) Skyy Brinkley, La’akea Fujita, Briana Garcia-Sanchez, Nardos Haile, Philip Krabill and (bottom, from left) Molly Piwonka, Rayn Robinson, Aman Seyoum, Lindsey White and Merry Yirga) (Photos by Derrick Chirinos and Scott Eyre)

EMU announces 2023 Cords of Distinction honorees

Ten graduating seniors are Eastern Mennonite University’s 2023 Cords of Distinction recipients. They will wear blue and gold cords signifying their achievement during the 2023 Commencement.

Faculty, staff and fellow students nominated the recipients, who were cited for their “significant and verifiable impact” on the university and on student life; for their contributions to developing the institution’s positive image; for substantial contributions to the Harrisonburg/Rockingham County area and beyond; for their high academic and social standing; and their embodiment of EMU’s shared values of Christian discipleship, community, service and peacebuilding.

The cords are blue and gold. Blue represents strength of conviction that one person can help to create a better institution or community. Gold represents the love of spirit and yearning toward creating a better university environment or community.

The 2023 Cords of Distinction recipients are:

Skyy Brinkley, a clinical lab science major and psychology minor from Waldorf, Maryland;

La’akea Fujita, with majors in accounting and business administration from Coopersburg, Pennsylvania;

Briana Garcia-Sanchez, a liberal arts major from Abbottstown, Pennsylvania;

Nardos Haile, with a major in social work, a minor in criminology and restorative justice, and a minor in psychology, from Lancaster, Pennsylvania;

Philip Krabill, with majors in peacebuilding and development and Bible, religion and theology and a minor in community organizing and development from Elkhart, Indiana;

Molly Piwonka, an art major with an all-grade education (PreK-12) licensure and an environmental studies minor from Salisbury, Pennsylvania;

Rayn Robinson, a psychology major and human resource management minor from Henrico, Virginia;

Aman Seyoum, a clinical lab science major from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia;

Lindsey White, an environmental science major and environmental justice minor from Broadway, Virginia;

Merry Yirga, a liberal arts major with minors in sociology, psychology, and peacebuilding, from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Nominees are:

  • Seth Andreas
  • KC Argueta-Rivas
  • Zach Bauman
  • Olivia Beiler
  • Becca Boone
  • Cindi Boyer
  • Alyssa Breidigan
  • Natallie Brown
  • Micah Buckwalter
  • Jessica Chisolm
  • Morgan Evans
  • Hannah Giagnocavo
  • Amanda Gilbert
  • Aliyyah Haggard
  • Olivia Hazelton
  • Caleb Hostetler
  • Jaden Jones
  • Christian Knight
  • Matt Leavy
  • Kendra Oguamena
  • Angelo Olayvar (Angelo Joseph)
  • Dallas Organek
  • Stephanie Palomino
  • Anahi Ramerez
  • Ashley Schoenhardt
  • Nati Seifu
  • Katelyn Sellars
  • Ruth Seyoum
  • Forrest Shuey
  • Hannah Thomas
  • Camelie Vazquez
  • Luke Wheeler
  • Imani Williams
  • Carrie Yoder

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  1. AS A “CORD OF DISTINCTION” RECIPIENT, I’M SO VERY PROUD OF MY GRANDAUGHTER, LA AKEA FUJITA! SHE RECEIVED A WONDERFUL EDUCATION AT EMU! A BIG THANK YOU TO THE ENTIRE EMU FAMILY OF PROFESSIONALS.

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