Senior Graduates Zooma Cum Laude for Unmatched Zoom Etiquette


President Laurie Patton graciously awards Middlebury senior Parker Carhill Zooma Cum Laude during the Class of 2020 Virtual Senior Celebration. 

Earlier today, Parker Carhill ‘20 became the first Middlebury student to graduate Zooma Cum Laude, Middlebury’s highest, and newest, honor created following the inaugural remote semester. Students unanimously nominated Carhill in a Google Form, recounting stories of his royal-standard Zoom etiquette. 

Friends from his History of Environmental Disasters class noted his use of thematically relevant and thought-provoking backgrounds, enriching their virtual learning experience. 

“When we were studying the 2010 BP oil spill, he made his background one of those sad pictures of ducks in oil spills. Really got us thinking about how oil spills are bad and how Parker is such a great guy,” shared Professor Dawn Sope.

Other students agreed. “You could always count on Parker being the first one in the zoom room, so none of us had to worry about being alone with the professor while we waited for class to start,” said Marley Waltman ‘22. 

Carhill was also known for his consistent engagement during zoom discussions. “He always used the built-in reaction emojis to boost class morale. If someone did well, he would drop a clap,” said Derek Brown ‘20. “But he was honest, too. If someone dropped the ball, he would give them just a thumbs-up. He kept it real.”

Another one of his peers, Mike Khegstan ‘21.5, spoke to his attention to details. “One time I accidentally showed up to class completely naked so Parker sent me a private message letting me know my mistake,” recounted Khegstan. “And while he was at it, he asked how my dad was doing,” he added. “Real stand-up guy.” 

As part of the award ceremony, President Patton made Carhill the official host of the graduation Zoom call — a symbolic passing of the torch. “Parker Carhill is an unprecedentedly nice guy, so we needed to create an unprecedented award for these unprecedented circumstances to honor his unprecedented work,” said President Patton in her introduction.

With his new digital authority as host, Carhill decided to create breakout rooms, putting seniors with the people they included on their crush lists in March, giving them one last shot at finding love. “Man, he’s just such a great guy!” said Claire Ronalds ‘20.

Eric Yuan, CEO and founder of Zoom, was touched by the community that Carhill created during his final semester at Middlebury. In Carhill’s honor, Yuan decided to rename not only the company but also his firstborn son after him. Carhill Inc., formerly known as Zoom, continues to provide fulfilling connections amid the global pandemic.


Edit: This article inaccurately insinuates that Carhill will replace President Patton, which is not true, but we have no interest in changing it.

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