Undergraduate Dean’s Medalist | Greyson Canterbury, Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures

Greyson Canterbury, Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures Student of Distinction

With a major in Spanish and a minor in music, Greyson Canterbury is a Smittcamp Scholar, received numerous academic honors and awards, and has engaged the community through his leadership and service.

“Greyson embodies the true spirit of the College of Arts and Humanities, as he embraces his passion for language, literature, and critical thinking with the transformative power of music,” said María Dolores Morillo, assistant professor.

As a music minor, he had the opportunity to perform at the Library of Congress to honor Juan Felipe Herrera as he exited his role as U.S. Poet Laureate.

Canterbury was the inaugural recipient of the Risa Rodemeyer Global Culture Scholarship and was named Global Culture scholar of the year. That award opened the door for him to study at the Universidad de Jaén in Spain for a year. The experience in Spain, along with his study of the language, helped him embrace his own identity. 

“I learned that diversity is something to be celebrated and that a large part of my identity is the path that I choose. I am Chinese and White, and I have chosen to embrace Spanish,” said Canterbury.

Since his freshman year, Canterbury has been involved as a camp counselor and director for Camp Kesem at Fresno State which provides year-round support to children with parents affected by cancer. He has also been a tutor in the U.S. and Spain, served as a translator for his church, a volunteer at the Mount of Olives Children’s Orphanage and Students International, and often volunteers at community events.

Canterbury is driven by a desire to help others learn. His personal narrative begins with a touching connection through language.

“As the morning bell rang, and the stragglers were making their way into my summer school classroom, I noticed a gentleman standing hand-in-hand at the door with a little girl––a new student. He introduced himself and his granddaughter, Camila. He explained that Camila was from Puerto Rico and that she did not speak much English aside from ‘thank you.’ Upon hearing this, I knelt down and introduced myself in Spanish. Her eyes widened with curiosity––how did this Chinese-American learn Spanish?”

After graduation, Canterbury will serve as a Peace Corps volunteer in Sri Lanka for two years.  He then plans to get his master’s degree and teaching credential. 

“I hope to inspire future students like Camila to discover bold, empowering identities through rich interactions with language and culture, no matter what tongue they speak.”

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The College of Arts and Humanities provides a diverse student population with the communication skills, humanistic values and cultural awareness that form the foundation of scholarship. The college offers intellectual and artistic programs that engage students and faculty and the community in collaboration, dialog and discovery. These programs help preserve, illuminate and nourish the arts and humanities for the campus and for the wider community.

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