Tennessee native Sarah Murray juggled a full plate of academic and extracurricular activities during her four years at Palm Beach Atlantic University.
Still the 22-year old managed to rack up a near perfect 3.95 GPA to graduate summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in communication and minor in Spanish.
Although the stellar GPA fell short of her original 4.0 goal, Murray said her time at PBA taught her it was alright to sacrifice a little academically in order to take advantage of other invaluable experiences.
“Instead of graduating with a perfect GPA, I’m graduating with an almost perfect GPA and the understanding that sometimes it’s okay to let a spontaneous adventure, a deep conversation or a good night’s sleep take priority over studying,” said Murray during the May 5 commencement festivities.
Murray was chosen along with School of Education and Behavioral Studies graduate Lillian Rogers to deliver traditional “graduate reflections” speeches during the ceremony. She made the Provost and President’s lists of top students three-and four times respectively over seven semesters at PBA. Both students were among a batch of eight scholars this spring who were recognized as outstanding graduates for their respective schools.
“I’ve learned to love a place and to be a member of this community,” said Murray of PBA. “Instead of thinking of myself, I’ve made incredible friends, formed relationships with brilliant professors and been a part of groups that have changed my life.”
"For the last four years I’ve given myself to a place and a community, and it has given me back more than I could ever ask for," she continued.
Besides being named outstanding graduate for the School of Communication and Media, Murray’s was also a participant in PBA’s prestigious President’s Lyceum speaker series and the Frederick M. Supper Honors Program. Last November, Murray was selected as a 2018 research fellow in the University’s LeMieux Center for Public Policy.
Dr. Linda Raeder, Murray’s faculty advisor for the LeMieux fellowship remembers her as a quiet yet extraordinarily talented student.
“I really courted and cultivated her and convinced her to apply for the research fellowship,” said Raeder, professor of politics.
Among Murray’s standouts were her writing, public speaking and Spanish-language abilities, Raeder said.
“She’s the best writer I’ve come across in my 17 years of teaching at PBA, and an outstanding public speaker,” Raeder said. “Communication is really her strength.”
In October, Murray is slated to present the findings of her research on sanctuary cities during a LeMieux Center event, Raeder noted.
Other professors have described Murray as possessing a genuine intellectual curiosity.
In the month since graduating, Murray has been taking some time to figure out her next move, said Raeder.
Ultimately, she plans to attend graduate school to pursue a program that combines her interest in public politics and public policy, Murray said in an email this week.
"For now I am just living and working in the area and enjoying being out of school," Murray wrote. "Basically, I am just taking things slow, not trying to rush myself into the future, taking advantage of the free time I have, and trusting God each day. "