Over 80% of Yale’s Class of 2023 Held Affiliations with Dwight Hall, including the Highest Honored Undergraduates

On May 22, 2023, Yale College observed its 322nd Commencement ceremony. Over 80% of the Class of 2023 was affiliated with Dwight Hall, demonstrating the central role community engagement plays in the education of Yale students. 

The day before, Yale College held its annual Class Day, featuring Dr. Elizabeth Alexander ’84, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation President and former Yale English and African American Studies professor, as the 2023 Class Day Speaker. In 2021, Dr. Alexander was also recognized as Dwight Hall’s Jane and William E. Curran ’49 Distinguished Mentor. 

The Class Day celebration likewise honored eleven undergraduates who “distinguished themselves in the classroom, on the athletic field, and in the community” (YaleNews 2023). Several of the recognized students held affiliations with Dwight Hall. 

Below, learn more about these students and the organizations or programs they supported through the Hall:

Ami Gianchandani was awarded the Nellie Pratt Elliot Award, given to a “senior woman who, on the field of play and in her life at Yale, best represents the highest ideals of American sportsmanship and Yale tradition”. Ami was part of the Dwight Hall member group Code Haven. 

Shaezmina Khan was awarded the Nakanishi Prize, presented to “two graduating seniors who, while maintaining high academic achievement, have provided exemplary leadership in enhancing race and/or ethnic relations at Yale College”. Shaezmina was the political chair and later president of the Muslim Students Association, a Dwight Hall member group.

Karen Li was also awarded the Nakanishi Prize. Karen was involved in Dwight Hall member groups Yale Effective Altruism. She also participated in several Dwight Hall institutional programs, including the New Haven Civic Allyship Initiative, FOCUS on New Haven (where she was a FOCUS leader), and two Dwight Hall fellowships: Community Response Fellows and Family Support Fellows.

Julia Hontaruk-Levko was honored with the James Andrew Haas Prize, awarded to “that senior whose breadth of intellectual achievement, strength of character, and fundamental humanity shall be adjudged by the faculty to have provided leadership for his or her fellow students, inspiring in them a love of learning and concern for others”. Earlier this year, she was the recipient of the Roosevelt L. Thompson Prize, awarded by the Council of Heads of College for service to the college and the community. Julia was a member of Matriculate at Yale, a Dwight Hall member group. 

Aaron J. Dickstein was honored with the Arthur Twining Hadley Prize, awarded to the “graduating senior majoring in the social sciences who ranks highest in scholarship”. Aaron was part of the Dwight Hall member groups MathCOUNTS and Yale Effective Altruism. 

Nga Nhi Nguyen was presented the Russell Henry Chittenden Prize, awarded to the “graduating senior majoring in the natural sciences who ranks highest in scholarship”. Nhi Nguyen was a member of Yale Undergraduate Mindfulness and the Yale Student Mental Health Association, two Dwight Hall member groups.

Diego Miró received the Louis Sudler Prize, awarded to “two graduating seniors for excellence in the performing or creative arts”. Diego was a former member of Dwight Hall member groups Camp Kesem and Special Needs Undergraduate Swim Lessons. 

Annelise Ratner was also awarded the Louis Sudler Prize. She participated in Dwight Hall member groups Students for Yemen and Migration Alliance at Yale. 

Michael Chen was given the Alpheus Henry Snow Prize, awarded to the “senior who, through the combination of intellectual achievement, character, and personality, shall be adjudged by the faculty to have done most for Yale by inspiring in his or her classmates an admiration for the traditions of high scholarship”. Michael is a 2023 Dwight Hall Summer Fellow and was formerly a Dwight Hall Urban Fellow and a Membership Coordinator on the 2021 Dwight Hall Student Executive Committee.

Dwight Hall congratulates all Yale students on their graduation and looks forward to witnessing the spirit of service that will motivate their future careers. Graduates, if you’d like to remain connected to Dwight Hall, follow us on social media here!

For questions about this article or to learn more about Dwight Hall programs, please email barbara.mola@yale.edu.

Updated May 31, 2023; 3:18 PM: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated ten of the eleven honored undergraduates held affiliations with Dwight Hall. The updated list is above.

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