Cum Laude Convocation Features Dean Hosgood ’98

Friday, April 9, 2021
Mercersburg’s newest Cum Laude Society inductees (see caption below)

Twenty-six members of Mercersburg’s Class of 2021 were inducted into the Academy’s chapter of the Cum Laude Society chapter April 9 as part of the school’s annual Cum Laude Convocation. Dean Hosgood ’98, the vice president of Mercersburg’s Board of Regents, was the keynote speaker at the event, which was held virtually; Hosgood is the director of global environmental health and a faculty member in the department of epidemiology and population health at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City. (Listen to his remarks here.)
Members of the senior class inducted April 9 are Maggie Betkowski ’21 of Mercersburg, PA; Ryan Bland ’21 of Greencastle, PA; Kevin Chen ’21 of Shanghai, China; Kiersten Donnelly ’21 of Pottstown, PA; Marlee Ecton ’21 of Chambersburg, PA; Sabine Ellison ’21 of George Town, Cayman Islands; Stanley Fang ’21 of Hong Kong, China;  Dylan Gantt ’21 of Atlanta, GA; Clara Getty ’21 of Allentown, PA; Lois Hargrove ’21 of Mount Hermon, MA; Kenny Hong ’21 of Tianjin, China; Minsoo Jung ’21 of Busan, South Korea; TV Kieu ’21 of Hanoi, Vietnam; Elizabeth Kendrick ’21 of Big Sky, MT; Marco Malo ’21 of North Bergen, NJ; Alexa Marsh ’21 of Fairfax, VA; Aden McCracken ’21 of Tyrone, PA; Dalila Melkumova ’21 of Moscow, Russia; Shoki Nemoto ’21 of Tokyo, Japan; Krysten Nguyen ’21 of Hanoi, Vietnam; Sarah Noorbakhsh ’21 of Vienna, WV; Ebube Onwusika ’21 of Lagos, Nigeria; Brandon Ryu ’21 of Seoul, South Korea; Chelsea Seaby Bruno ’21 of Dhahran, Saudi Arabia; Lian Wang ’21 of Hong Kong, China; and Elsa Yelk ’21 of Boiling Springs, PA.
The Cum Laude Society recognizes the highest level of academic achievement within the school. Mercersburg is one of 382 secondary schools across the country with a Cum Laude Society chapter.

“This is a well-deserved honor for our inductees,” says Academic Dean Jennifer Miller Smith ’97. “We’re excited to welcome these students into the Cum Laude Society, and congratulate them on their impressive work and dedication to excellence in the classroom.”

Invited speaker Dean Hosgood ’98

Hosgood completed his undergraduate degree at Carnegie Mellon University before earning a master’s and a doctorate from Yale University. He has served as a molecular epidemiologist at the National Cancer Institute and as a researcher at the Yale School of Medicine. (Read a feature story on Hosgood from the Summer 2020 issue of Mercersburg magazine.)
In his address, Hosgood offered three qualities for the inductees and the Mercersburg student body (assembled virtually) to consider as keys to future success: a willingness to fail, resilience, and passion.

“Every one of your journeys will be unique,” said Hosgood, who himself was inducted into Mercersburg’s Cum Laude Society chapter as a student in 1998. “There is a rapidly evolving landscape in education. For better or for worse, the pandemic has rapidly accelerated this change. 

“Pursuing a path you are passionate about makes it so much easier to persevere through challenging times.”

Hosgood is a past president of Mercersburg’s Alumni Council and has served on the Board of Regents since 2016. He chaired the school’s most recent Head of School Search Committee, served as a steering committee member for the Daring to Lead Campaign, and has been an external advisory group member with Mercersburg’s Storm Watch Task Force, which has helped guide the school through its ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hosgood has three siblings who are Mercersburg alumni: Emily Weiss ’08, Connor Weiss ’13, and Ceara Weiss ’20. He and his wife, Sara Smiley Smith, have two children and live in Hamden, CT.

Front row (L–R): Dalila Melkumova, Clara Getty, Ebube Onwusika, Lian Wang, Sarah Noorbakhsh, Alexa Marsh. Second row: Maggie Betkowski, Sabine Ellison, Elsa Yelk, Lois Hargrove, Stanley Fang, Dylan Gantt, Ryan Bland, Elizabeth Kendrick. Third row: Kenny Hong, Shoki Nemoto, Kevin Chen, TV Kieu, Minsoo Jung, Marco Malo, Marlee Ecton. (Not pictured: Kiersten Donnelly, Aden McCracken, Krysten Nguyen, Brandon Ryu, Chelsea Seaby Bruno.)


For more information on this story, please contact Lee Owen ( in Mercersburg’s Office of Strategic Marketing and Communications.