Yale College Class of 2001 to Graduate May 21
On May 21, Yale College will graduate 1,332 young men and women at a ceremony on Old Campus, including a 17-year-old who majored in both math and physics, a demolition expert who writes plays, and a rock musician who spends most of his spare time pursuing social justice.
Nearly evenly divided by gender (50.7 percent women, 49.3 percent men), the graduating students identify themselves as 7.8 percent African American, 14.5 percent Asian American, 6.6 percent Hispanic and 1.3 percent Native American. International students, including Canadians, represent 7.3 percent of the total. Close to 600 participated in intramural sports at Yale, and approximately half of them were involved in some form of community service.
Here are profiles of a few unusual seniors.
DANIEL L. JAFFERIS will graduate this month with a double major in physics and mathematics. He entered Yale at age 14 and is now 17. Daniel, a West Haven, Connecticut resident, and his brother received home schooling from their mother. He is one of the youngest college students to graduate this year. In addition to numerous Yale prizes, he is the recipient of a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Award. He has been accepted by Harvard’s Ph.D. physics program and is excited about his future. “I’m eager to start on my research on theoretical physics, and the grants I’ve received allow me the freedom to focus on just that.”
ROBERT MCGINNIS, a former Navy Seal and demolition expert, transferred to Yale from a community college in California where he was been stationed in the Navy. He is 30 years old, but chose to live on campus in his residential college (Ezra Stiles) with the 18-22 year-olds and fit right in. A Theater Studies major, he wrote a play for his senior project and directed another play on campus. In addition to his theater work, he has been devising a desalinization project for which he has received funding from Yale College. His adviser on the project thinks he has an original, workable and possibly commercial process. Rob will do independent research on his desalinization project this summer to finish the last requirement for his degree.
JOHNNY SCAFIDI has demonstrated an extraordinary degree of commitment to the local community, motivated by dedication to social justice and by his religious faith. In addition, he plays bass in one of the more successful student bands, Hung Jury, and was an organizer of the 1999 Spring Fling. Scafidi has been one of the most active volunteers at Dwight Hall, Yale’s umbrella organization for community service. He was a Dwight Hall summer intern last year and worked on a mapping project with a community activist, Pat Spear, on the Renaissance Square program. He helped organize an “alternative” Spring Break project, encouraging Yale students to volunteer on an Indian reservation instead of heading off to the beach. He has also been a student leader at the campus Roman Catholic center, the St. Thomas More House, where he was Social Action Coordinator. He has worked to create an Interfaith Alliance for Social Justice at Yale. Johnny will stay at Yale after graduation, serving as acting program director for Dwight Hall.
Gila Reinstein: firstname.lastname@example.org, 203-432-1325