A Nigerian woman is following her two older sisters as valedictorian at Dillard University in New Orleans. Stephanie Akpapuna, a Theatre Arts major from Lagos, Nigeria, has been named valedictorian of the Dillard University Class of 2016. Akpapuna will deliver the valedictory address at Dillard’s Commencement exercise on Saturday, May 7.
Akpapuna is part of a very unique family tradition at Dillard University. Both of her older sisters, Jennifer, was valedictorian in 2004, and their sister, Merrilyn, was valedictorian in 2014. A graduate of Reagan Memorial Baptist Girls Secondary School in Lagos, Nigeria, she is the daughter of Dr. Emmanuel and Rita Akpapuna
“I’m proud and humbled by the fact that I could do my sisters proud and also keep the legacy they started going,” said Akpapuna. “Dillard has been a wonderful experience. I’ve enjoyed my stay here and I’ve learned so much. I would have been a number somewhere else, but at Dillard you are treated as an individual. Here we’re so family oriented and it’s great to have that.”
After graduation, she will attend Carnegie Mellon University where she will pursue her Master of Fine Arts in stage and production management.
Akpapuna has been named a Presidential Scholar and is a recipient of the Humanities Talent Scholarship, the Ray Charles Scholarship as well as the Denzel & Pauletta Washington Scholarship.
She is a member of the Dean’s list and has been inducted into Alpha Kappa Mu National Honor Society and Alpha Psi Omega National Theatre Honor Society. Akpapuna is also a participant in the Daniel C. Thompson/Samuel DuBois Cook Honors Program.
As a member of the Theatre Department she was worked on or appeared in 14 theatrical productions.