Cecilia Retelle ’00, the co-founder and chief operating officer of web-based business Ranku, was inducted as an honorary member of Culver Academies Cum Laude Society during the Commencement Convocation on May 31.
Thirty-one seniors were inducted as Cum Laude members and two were honored as the valedictorian and salutatorian. Santiago Aguirre (Mexico City) was named the salutatorian after finishing with a 3.95 GPA. Jingwen Liao (Shanghai, China) was named valedictorian after finishing her Culver career with a 3.98 CGA.
Retelle came to Culver as a summer specialty camper and was the only girl in the hockey program. She transferred to the boarding school her junior year when Culver formed the first girls hockey team in 1998. She later played at the University of Minnesota and obtained her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education, with a focus on science. She also holds a law degree from the University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law.
She worked with children from kindergarten to the eighth-grade in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area schools, and she has toured the world studying education and global educational policy. She took her experiences to Washington, D.C., where she was the senior director for education policy for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Last year, Retelle and co-founder Kim Taylor started Ranku as a way for college students to research their online educational opportunities. The website partners with the nation’s public, private (non-profit), and state universities offering online courses and degrees. Optimized for individual users to find all the information they require, Ranku allows potential students to find the school and degree that helps them accomplish their goals.
The Culver chapter of Cum Laude was chartered in 1925. Each year, a member of the Culver Legion, the alumni organization, is honored as an honorary alumnus. Other members of the Class of 2014 inducted into the Culver chapter include:
Culver Military Academy: Nicolas Peterson, Hayes Barnes, Tanner Grant, Samuel Lind, Robert Thomas, Daniel Sung, Nicholas Curtin, Matthew Moody, Alec Raich, Alan Simonini, and Enrique Sada.
Culver Girls Academy: Victoria Jennings, Aerisa Ahn, Keely Collins, Emily Hernandez, Jennah Janney, Fei Yang, Rory Byrne, Sarah Boland, Dalton Tuggle, Natalie Schurr, Yuqiu Wu, Boyan Zhang, Caroline Pepper, Claire Peterson, Jemima Wynn, Bella Lee, Hong Duyen Nguyen, and Zixuan Gao.