DeLesslin “Roo” George-Warren was “the most difficult child in the world,” says his mother, Wanda.
“He has always been very determined with anything he did,” she said. “He’d just exhaust me.”
Two decades later, as she watched her son, now nearly finished with college, being named the Vanderbilt University’s Outstanding Senior of the Class of 2014, it was all worth it.
“We’re just so proud of him,” she said.
Roo George-Warren was raised in Rock Hill. His family is Catawba. He attended Westminster Catawba Christian School while volunteering on the reservation.
While in high school, he toured Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn. and fell in love with the school.
“I knew I wanted to study music, but I also wanted to study hard sciences,” he said. “I also wanted a place where there was a big volunteering community.”
George-Warren is majoring in musical arts (voice) with a concentration in composition.
George-Warren has taken advantage of many opportunities at Vanderbilt, including a summer study abroad trip to Berlin, Germany, leadership positions in student government, a summer research fellowship, service projects and has worked with the Office of Admissions.
Each year 50 of the about 1,600 seniors are nominated by student organizations to be named Outstanding Senior. A student panel reduces the number to 40 and then interviews with the faculty help cut the field to 20. The top senior is determined by a vote of the Vanderbilt student body. At the homecoming day the top 10 and the winner are announced.
“I was so nervous,” George-Warren said of that moment last week. “And then I just got this wave of happiness to be standing there with those nine other people who are seriously the best people you could ever know.”
Then they called his name.
With his family and friends watching, Vanderbilt’s chancellor presented George-Warren with a chalice, which he fondly calls the “Goblet of Fire,” a diploma frame and a class ring.
“I was just on a cloud,” he said. “And I’ve been that way ever since.”
George-Warren said his time at Vanderbilt has taught him the importance of sharing his time and opportunities with others.
“The most important thing I’ve learned is the necessity of being bold in our commitment to other people,” he said.
After graduation this May, George-Warren hopes to continue his education through a fellowship or program. Getting a job isn’t in the immediate future.
“I just want to keep learning and helping peoples’ lives and never, ever, ever be in a cubicle,” he said
Rachel Southmayd • 803-329-4072