James Washington ’24 Named Undergraduate Valedictorian at Manhattan College

James Washington, an Exercise Science Major and U.S. Army Veteran will be the 2024 Undergraduate Student Speaker.

James Washington, a May 2024 graduate of Manhattan College majoring in Exercise Science and a U.S. Army veteran, has been selected as the undergraduate valedictorian for the class of 2024.  He will be the student speaker at the May 18 Undergraduate Commencement to be held on the College campus.

photo of James WashingtonWashington, a Yonkers, NY native, attended two years at Lincoln High School before he and his family moved to South Carolina where he completed his high school education at Lancaster High School.  After working for one year, he joined the U.S. Army in 2012 where he honorably served until 2020.  Washington’s first assignment was at Fort Carson, CO through 2018.  While there, he had two overseas rotations, first in Kuwait (2013-2014) followed by Kosovo (2016).  This was followed by a tour in Vilseck, Germany and the completion of his Army career in Oklahoma in 2020.

With a strong interest in exercise science, he returned to the New York area and sought council from the Bronx Veterans’ Administration about schools catering to his interest.  This led him to Manhattan College where he started in January 2021.  Never having been on the campus itself prior to his acceptance, Washington was unsure what to expect.  “As an Army veteran, an older student, and a member of the LGBT community, I certainly had some apprehensions,” he said.  “However, I was welcomed immediately and have felt comfortable at Manhattan College throughout my time here.  Being a Military Friendly School and having a Veteran Success Center dedicated to veterans like myself where we congregate, share experiences, and motivate each other was essential to whatever success I have thus far achieved.”

Going forward, Washington is deciding upon which school he will attend for his ABSN – an Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing which is a degree specifically for those who already have earned a bachelor degree.  His interest in nursing likely will keep this extraordinary person in the New York area for a bit longer, but the beauty of Colorado may also be beckoning.

Milo Riverso, Ph. D., President of Manhattan College said, “Having a student such as James highlights the diversity and true spirit of community that is so integral to Manhattan College.  His life experiences thus far have been extraordinary, and we all know that he will continue along a path of helping others succeed as he has.”

By MC Staff