Student Louise Ovner ’17, eager to see the world, to address graduates before heading to Africa

Student Louise Ovner ’17, eager to see the world, to address graduates before heading to Africa

Her mother and father had itchy feet. So Louise Ovner and her twin sister, Evelyn, were only six when their parents took them to Egypt to ride a camel and see the Sphinx at Giza. Other family vacations ensued: to Turkey, France, Austria, Germany, Norway, Denmark, and Iceland. There was a school trip to Poland.

“It’s a great way to learn about the world,” said Louise Ovner, now 23 and due to graduate on May 6, 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in international political economy and diplomacy from the University of Bridgeport (UB).

Poised, enthusiastic, and just as eager as her parents were to see the world, Ovner was chosen to serve as Class Speaker at UB’s 107th Commencement.

Ceremonies will be live streamed from Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, starting at 10 a.m. at

The address to some 1500 fellow graduates represents a final college victory for Ovner. As an international student from Vallentuna, Sweden, Ovner said she chose UB because of its proximity to New York City and its diversity; international students make up 40 percent of the student population. She was also eager to study at UB’s College of Public and International Affairs (CPIA), where she completed the Peace Corps Prep Program, learned Arabic, and acquired skills that will help her to fulfill a dream of working in international relations as an advocate for women’s rights.

Towering at six feet and brimming with confidence (“I like to take risks,” she admitted), Ovner is a perfect candidate to empower other women. She’s already chalked up plenty of leadership experience at the University. As a student-athlete, Ovner outpaced competitors while running cross country meets for three seasons. She was also tapped to co-captain the women’s basketball team (sister Eveyln, who also graduates from UB in May, was the other captain). Her close-to-perfect grade point average qualified her for the President’s List for three years, and in 2015-2016 Ovner earned a coveted spot on the ECC Commissioner’s Honor Roll for Student-Athletes.

When she wasn’t playing forward for the Purple Knights, Ovner volunteered as a computer tutor for children at the Mercy Learning Center in Bridgeport. She also traveled as much as she could throughout the United States, often with the women’s basketball team.

“Philadelphia. The Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument—it’s been great to see those places with friends. Those are good memories,” said Ovner.

Her next stop is the University of Cape Town in South Africa, where she will work toward a master’s degree in international relations. This time, sister Evelyn won’t be with her.

“We’re finally cutting the cord,” Ovner joked, before adding with a satisfied smile: “I want to see so many places in the world, and it’s going to be very different there.”

Media contact: Leslie Geary, (203) 576-4625,