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>  News Releases >   1998 >   June

Double major is Dartmouth valedictorian

Posted 06/12/98

Lazar N. Dimitrov, a native of Bulgaria, will give the valedictory address at Dartmouth's commencement exercises on Sunday, June 14.

The address is the traditional farewell speech to the college from the graduating senior class. The valedictorian is chosen on the basis of grade-point average.

Majoring in both economics and mathematics, Dimitrov earned a grade-point average of 3.99. He was a Rufus Choate Scholar (Dartmouth's honor society) for three years and a member of the national organizations Phi Beta Kappa and the Golden Key Honor Society. As a double major, he completed a greater-than-usual number of courses, receiving "A" grades in 36 of them. He won eight citations for superior course work and completed an honors thesis in economics that won the department's highest honor, the Lewis H. Haney Prize. For exceptional performance in his four years at Dartmouth he was also awarded, along with co-recipient Marni Fox, the Nelson A. Rockefeller Prize in Economics.

Dimitrov, the son of Nikola and Katya Dimitrov, both of Plovdiv, Bulgaria, was a study group leader for Dartmouth's Academic Skills Center, tutored students in math and served as a French drill instructor. A French minor, he professes a love for all things French -- cinema, literature and food. In his junior year, he spent a term in Toulouse, France, studying French literature, architecture and history as part of a Dartmouth Foreign Study Program.

Dimitrov's interest in markets and finance was piqued by the change from command to market economy in his home country of Bulgaria. During his sophomore year, Dimitrov worked for six months as a financial analyst in the Investment Banking Division of Merrill Lynch and Company in New York City. In his junior year he was a Presidential Scholar Research Assistant for Andrew A. Samwick, assistant professor of economics, with whom he wrote his senior honors thesis on initial public offerings.

"Lazar Dimitrov is the most gifted scholar I have taught at Dartmouth," said Samwick.

Dimitrov's thesis involves the widely observed phenomenon that initial public offerings, or IPOs, are generally under priced. Most of the time, a stock's price will be higher at the end of the first day of trading than it was early in the day. At least part of the answer may be found in the presence of "noise traders," investors who are diven by their sentiments, rather than rational information, about a company's future prospects. "Lazar's thesis is that under pricing is most severe when indicators of noise trader sentiment are highest. Noise trader models have been used to explain other anomalies in finance, but Lazar's is the first application of the model to IPOs," said Samwick.

Dimitrov will join Merrill Lynch and Company as a financial analyst this fall.

Two Salutatorians

Two students will share the title of salutatorian, which is awarded to the graduating senior achieving the second-highest grade point average. The two salutatorians are Tina Rutar, of Flemington, N.J., who majored in biology and minored in German, and David Ellingrud, of Apple Valley, Minn., who was a math major. Each earned a grade point average of 3.96

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