GS Class Day Valedictorian and Salutatorian Announced for 2024

Dean Lisa Rosen-Metsch has announced the School of General Studies valedictorian and salutatorian of the Class of 2024, as well as the School’s Baccalaureate speaker. This year’s valedictorian is Xuezhen Wang. This year’s salutatorian is Matthew George Botros.

May 06, 2024

Valedictorian | Xuezhen Wang

The valedictorian of the class of 2024 is Xuezhen Wang. Xuezhen is a graduate of the Joint Bachelor’s Degree Program between City University of Hong Kong and Columbia University, studying computer science at both institutions. Before that, he graduated from Shanxi Experimental Secondary School in Taiyuan, China.

During the initial half of his degree in Hong Kong, Xuezhen distinguished himself by receiving the esteemed Hong Kong Jockey Club Scholarship and being recognized as a JC Scholar. He actively contributed to campus life through various roles, including serving as the president of the Computer Science Department Student Chapter, a mentor for the freshmen in the department, a teaching assistant, and a PALSI (Peer-Assisted Learning Scheme using Supplemental Instruction) leader. Xuezhen's commitment also extended beyond academic settings as he engaged in community volunteering off campus, and completed internships with Tencent Video Chuang 2020 and Doctorflix. His foray into research began under the mentorship of Prof. Minming Li in algorithmic game theory, culminating in a publication at AAAI-23 (The Thirty-Seventh AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence) on facility location problem.

Continuing his academic journey at Columbia, Xuezhen maintained a record of excellence. He furthered his campus engagement by working as a teaching assistant and in the Operation Division of the Columbia China Forum, an annual student-led conference focusing on China's development and Sino-US relations. His achievements were recognized through the Columbia GS Dean’s Scholarship, the Peter K. Bloch Scholarship, and a GS Service Award, which highlighted his leadership and dedication to the community. At Columbia, he expanded his research under the guidance of Prof. Shuran Song and Prof. Steven Feiner, contributing to a project in robot teleoperation via VR interfaces, which was published at IEEE VR-24 (The Thirty-First IEEE Conference on Virtual Reality and 3D User Interfaces). When he’s not debugging his code, Xuezhen enjoys photography, swimming, and indulging in the melodies of Taylor Swift.

Xuezhen graduates summa cum laude with a degree in computer science, and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, ​​Upsilon Pi Epsilon, and the GS Honor Society. He will commence his PhD specializing in computer graphics at HKUST, aspiring to make contributions to the development of the visual effects industry in Hong Kong and China.

Salutatorian | Matthew George Botros

The salutatorian of the class of 2024 is Matthew George Botros. Matthew, a competitive boxer fighting out of Brooklyn, New York, trains six days a week while studying psychology with a concentration in business management. 

Originally from California, Matthew’s college journey began six years ago at the University of California Berkeley, but a lack of purpose brought his studies to an early end. In the following years, Matthew worked as a volunteer teacher in South Africa before finding his way to boxing and New York City. A burgeoning interest in the intersection between addiction and neuroscience brought him back to academia at Columbia GS. At Columbia, Matthew worked closely with his professors in the Department of Psychology and was published in the academic journal Society for the Study of Addiction. Outside of school, Matthew worked with BOXER, Inc. as a boxing coach in the New York City public school system. 

At GS, Matthew has been named to the Dean’s List and is a member of the GS Honor Society and Phi Beta Kappa. He graduates summa cum laude with a degree in psychology and a concentration in business management. After graduation, Matthew will make his debut in professional boxing and continue his work with BOXER, Inc.

About Columbia University School of General Studies

The Columbia University School of General Studies (GS), founded in 1947, is the premier liberal arts college in the United States for nontraditional students seeking a traditional undergraduate Ivy League education. GS students take the same courses, study with the same faculty, and earn the same degree as all undergraduates at Columbia University.