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News Release

Office of News and Information
Johns Hopkins University
3003 N. Charles Street, Suite 100
Baltimore, Maryland 21218-3843
Phone: (410) 516-7160 | Fax (410) 516-5251

April 28, 2003
CONTACT: Amy Cowles
(410) 516-7800

Rafson Earns President's Award,
Arts Honor at Johns Hopkins

For her dedication to campus theater, Johns Hopkins University senior Jill Rafson of New City, N.Y., has been awarded the university's President's Commendation for Achievement in the Arts and the Homewood Arts Programs Certificate.

Each year, the President's Commendation is given to a graduating senior whose achievements exemplify the arts and service on campus. Rafson submitted video segments of the plays she has directed for Witness Theater, a student-run theater group on campus. She also submitted the script for a one-act play she wrote last year for Witness Theater as well as programs and reviews of her performances. Rafson, who is majoring in writing, is also one of five students who helped develop the new Homewood Arts Programs Certificate, through which the university recognizes extracurricular participation in dance, digital media, fine/visual arts, music or theater.

"She has been involved in theater in just about every imaginable capacity during her four years at Hopkins," said Julie Morgan, assistant to university President William R. Brody and chair of the selection committee. "She really seemed to embody what the President's Commendation is about in terms of service. Excellence is a factor, but the key thing is using one's art to serve the Homewood campus community."

Of the honor, Rafson said, "Winning didn't even occur to me, mainly because I already knew how many students involved with theater were applying, and they were all people for whom I have a lot of respect."

Rafson also received the Homewood Arts Certificate, in recognition of her significant contributions in theater at the university's Homewood campus in Baltimore. Twenty members of the class of 2003 make up the inaugural group of recipients. Students must complete four to six semesters of co-curricular arts programs on the Homewood campus to be considered for a certificate. The goal is to encourage students to participate in the arts and to acknowledge that students put a lot of effort into their arts participation and deserve to be recognized, said Eric Beatty, director of the Homewood Arts Programs.

Because it is a non-credit certificate, there are no academic requirements. The criteria for selection included an application essay, a history of participation in campus arts groups and evidence of personal artistic growth over the course of a student's college career. Students from all areas of the arts, including administrative, technical and performance, are eligible for the award.

Rafson, 22, is the daughter of Martin and Marsha Rafson of New City. She is a graduate of Clarkstown High School in West Nyack, N.Y. After graduation, Rafson plans to work in film or theater in the area of script development.

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