Saskia Birgit Lehninger Is the Nyack College 2022 Valedictorian

April 12, 2022

Congratulations are in order for Saskia Birgit Lehninger, the 2022 Nyack College valedictorian!

Top GPA is not her only accomplishment. She is also a member of the New York State Pi Chapter of Alpha Chi National Honor Society and Sigma Beta Delta International Honor Society. The sports management major qualified for the 2021-2022 Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) all-academic team for soccer.

Born and raised in Weisendorf, Germany, the scholar-athlete chose to study in the United States because of the opportunity to pursue her love of academics and athletics. Saskia was recruited by a former Warrior Women’s soccer coach and 2013 Nyack alumnus, Jodel Wright who saw her soccer highlight video. “After my first conversation with him via Skype, I knew that I wanted to attend Nyack. I loved how he presented the school, the diversity, its mission and also the soccer program.”

One of the most nationally recognized traits of Nyack College is its core value of diversity—that extends beyond ethnic or racial diversity. Some 57 countries are represented in the student population.

“Being part of the Women’s soccer team for the last four years has been a great experience. However, for me even more important besides giving everything to become a better player is to give everything for my team. Being captain and taking over leadership roles is a demonstration of my passion and my commitment not only on, but also off the field.”

She shares how her personal core value of commitment intersects with her faith.

“When I was in second grade, my school and my church started a partnership with a school and church in India. In the beginning, we were only writing letters to the pupils, but we started to collect money for them and were even able to sponsor a new school. Through my commitment to help organizations, I continued being engaged after elementary school so that the leaders asked me if I wanted to join them for the 2014 inauguration of the school in Zubza. I was the only child with five other adults, including my mom, who had the honor of flying there and seeing the unbelievable gratefulness for a new school. These people had nothing, but they gave us presents and sang for us. I have never in my life experienced this kind of faith, happiness and gratefulness again. I am more than thankful to have been able to experience this and to be aware of how much we actually have and what a privilege it is. Even today, I am still organizing donation runs and helping with translations, etc. to support the people in Zubza.”

What will be her favorite memory of her Nyack College experience?

“I loved to study in New York City and to grow in all areas of my life—academically, spiritually, and athletically. Being a student-athlete has been the most challenging, exciting and most rewarding experience of my life. As a member of the Women’s soccer team, I loved being around so many players from all around the world. My teammates have become my roommates and even my best friends. I will cherish and value all the friendships I have been able to make. I will never forget our bus rides, our daily practices, team activities like visiting Niagara Falls after a game and team dinners at BJ’s restaurant.”

Like any grateful mentee, Saskia gives credit to influential people in her life at Nyack.

“I’d like to mention Dr. Gordon Boronow and Dr. Susanne Hartl. Both are amazing, knowledgeable professors who convey their passion and enthusiasm in their lectures. They see us as more than just their students and want us to succeed. They gave us great insight into the business world by sharing their work experiences. Moreover, they were always open to any questions and showed how much they care. Their level of commitment is really inspiring and impacted me a lot in my studies. As my advisor, Dr. Boronow has been a great help and especially in the independent study I took with him.”

Four years later, Saskia Lehninger’s nearly 4,000-mile journey to New York provided her with the best of two worlds—scholarship and soccer. But it’s the interesting twist on global engagement that makes her Nyack experience a distinctive. In her words, “It is amazing to meet so many people from all over the world at one institution.”

We wish you continued success, Saskia!


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