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O’Brien to speak for graduates

Observer Staff Report | Monday, April 30, 2012

Senior Michael J. O’Brien has been named valedictorian of the 2012 Notre Dame graduating class and will present the valedictory address during the May 20 Commencement ceremony, the University announced in a press release Friday.

O’Brien, a political science major and philosophy minor from St. Charles, Ill., will graduate with a 4.0 grade point average and will also be awarded an International Business Certificate from the Mendoza College of Business.

O’Brien is editor-in-chief of “Beyond Politics: Undergraduate Journal of Politics,” and serves as president of the Notre Dame College Democrats and vice president of service for Notre Dame Circle K.

He is also a fellow in Notre Dame’s National Security Program and has participated in small-group discussions with national security scholars and experts.

Under the direction of political science professor Sebastian Rosato, O’Brien developed an original theory on the influence of the structure of unipolar international systems on the foreign policy behavior of the unipolar state. He has also researched religious freedom, regime composition and Islamic political movements in Muslim-majority countries.

This summer, O’Brien and Rosato will co-author an article on the durability of U.S. primacy, which will be published by the Nobel Institute in Norway and an American journal of international relations.

A finalist for the Rhodes Scholarship and the Gates Cambridge Scholarship, O’Brien will enter the University of Chicago Law School this far on a full-tuition merit scholarship.

Senior Ashley K. Logsdon, a double major in biological science and theology from Pickerington, Ohio, will give the Commencement invocation. She will graduate with a 3.99 grade point average.