Casey Weider ’20 Named Class Valedictorian

Class of 2020 Valedictorian Casey WeiderSenior Casey Weider ’20 has achieved a great milestone, an extraordinary pinnacle of success by being named the 2020 Class valedictorian at Saint Mary’s. For some, the very idea of being named to speak before graduating classmates, family, friends, and the Saint Mary’s community would be a daunting task. But not for Weider, whose high academic performance and stellar engagement in the College community made him a perfect candidate for this distinct designation.

Upon learning that he had been named class valedictorian, Weider shared that he was thrilled with the news. “Thinking about this, being named class valedictorian is such a big concept. It was initially hard to wrap my head around, but honestly, I was just incredibly honored and really grateful,” said Weider. “I’ve poured my heart into Saint Mary’s, and being named class valedictorian is validation of everything that I’ve worked for and cared about; and to be recognized for my hard work is an unbelievable feeling.”

Weider first arrived at Saint Mary’s as a transfer student from Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana, and was essentially drawn to the College for its great academics, but he was also looking for a special community of faculty and students that would embrace his uniqueness and welcome him into the fold. “When I came to Saint Mary’s, I saw a community that was so connected and not the least bit cliquish. Everyone accepted each other for who they were, so I felt like I could really, truly be myself,” said Weider. “That just felt really incredible to me, to feel that so early on.”

The welcoming community of Saint Mary’s also helped Weider to overcome doubts he had about his intellectual capabilities. “As a child, I was diagnosed with ADD, and I had some learning differences, so I always questioned what I was capable of, and I had my doubts. Being at Saint Mary’s has helped me to work past that doubt, and being named valedictorian is validation that I am capable of high achievement, which is really incredibly powerful.”

Weider embraced the opportunity to focus on the type of college experience he wanted and how that would prepare him for the future. “I was looking for a way that I could grow intellectually; that I could grow spiritually, emotionally, mentally; and really just overall improve myself and become a better person. Saint Mary’s allowed me to thrive in all of those areas,” said Weider.

A Business major with a dual concentration in Marketing and Digital Media, Weider has maintained a high GPA, consistently hovering around 4.0. He is interested in marketing and has always been intrigued by how a 30-second commercial can influence someone to want to purchase the produce or service. “The whole world of advertising and marketing has always fascinated me. I wanted to learn more in that field and to do everything I could to understand what goes on behind the scenes. Marketing is influenced by psychology and why people think a certain way. Essentially, it’s understanding human behavior.” Weider is also interested in filmmaking, which is part of his long-term future plans. “I’m interested in understanding what appeals to people visually, how they think, and how they behave, and how do you create that? How do you take an idea, a beautiful artistic idea, and bring it to an audience so they can perceive and interpret it?” he asked. Now armed with his degree in Marketing and Digital Media, Weider is about to cast a wide net as he begins a new journey toward achieving his goals.

Being named the Class of 2020 valedictorian is deeply meaningful to Weider on a number of levels. In addition to recognizing his academic accomplishments and his deep engagement with the Saint Mary’s community and recognizing his work to help others who may feel insecurities and doubts, Weider is grateful for how his life has changed while at the College. “Saint Mary’s helps to shape individuals in such a powerful way. It can’t be understated how true that statement is,” said Weider. “The College absolutely has a way of changing lives, and I think every single day how the decision I made to go to Saint Mary’s is the best decision I’ve ever made. With all that being said, being honored and validated with being named class valedictorian means the world to me. From the bottom of my heart, I love Saint Mary’s. It is my home. It always will be.”