2016 Class Acts

A Legacy of Leadership

Senior class president will call upon classmates to consider who they want to be


Christine Lung (second from the right) presented Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton with Cardinals baseball jerseys for both him and his dog at the Senior Dinner on Monday, May 16.

Washington University in St. Louis senior class president Christine Lung started her long career in student government in sixth grade. A footbridge near her school was damaged and Lung helped organize a petition, calling for repairs. It worked.

“That was the first time I realized I could be an advocate for students,” Lung said. “I also discovered that I loved bringing students together to have fun.”

As president, Lung has organized a number of events from the class trip to Chicago to Monday’s Senior Gala at Windows on Washington. She heard it was a blast.

“I didn’t actually get to go,” Lung said. “I made sure everything was set up perfectly but I couldn’t stay. I had too much to do to prepare for Commencement.”

Lung will address thousands of fellow graduates, faculty and family members today at Washington University’s 155th annual Commencement Ceremony, Friday May 20. Her speech will celebrate the strength of the Washington University family and call upon graduates to consider who they want to be next.

“For four years, we’ve identified ourselves by our school, our major, the groups we’ve been involved in,” said Lung, who is majoring in economics in Arts & Sciences and minoring in chemistry as well as studio art at the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts. “That will all change now. The question I pose is, ‘How do you want to be introduced in the future?’”

Lung, herself, isn’t sure. After graduation, she will move to New York to work as a financial advisor. But Lung also is a gifted scientist who has completed the pre-med curriculum. Medical school could be in the future as well. But wherever Lung lands, she wants to be recognized for her diligence.

“I want people to say, ‘You want to work with this person. You can trust this person. She has character and is kind and capable,’” Lung said. “That matters to me more than a title.”

To prepare for her speech, Lung got advice from past class presidents Jeremy Sherman (Olin, Arts & Sciences, 2014) and Varun Mehrotra (Olin, 2013), watched dozens of commencement videos on YouTube and consulted with adviser Leslie Heusted, Student Involvement and Leadership interim director.

But it was her baby brother, junior James Lung, who provided the most help. James Lung is majoring in math and physics in Arts & Sciences; her youngest brother, sophomore Tim Lung, also attends Washington University. He is studying computer science in the School of Engineering & Applied Science.

“James is a great writer and a brutal critic, but I needed that,” Lung said. “To speak before my WashU family and my actual family will be a real honor.”

More from Lung:

What is your favorite spot on campus?

I actually spend a lot of time at the overhang at Brookings. I like to sit on the stage with my laptop and work.

How do you define WashU’s character?

When I was visiting as a prospective student, I needed to print something but I didn’t know where to go. I saw this student jogging and stopped her. She actually stopped running, walked me back to her dorm and helped me print it out. To me, that really defines WashU. I saw that same kindness in the way we treated each other as new freshmen and later in the ways we supported each other in everything from Dance Marathon and Relay For Life to late-night study sessions at Whispers.

What were your favorite traditions?

After my friends and I go jogging we’ll jump into the water fountain at Brookings. I’m pretty sure we’re not supposed to do that, right?
by Diane Toroian Keaggy

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