Mayor Elizabeth Katuz has made many a proclamation in her day, but even so the decree she issued on Tuesday stood out. At the last council meeting, the mayor officially declared this upcoming Saturday "Michael W. Coughlin Day."
And who is Michael W. Coughlin? The short answer is that he is 's son, who is set to graduate from Carleton College this week.
The long answer is that he is, by all accounts, an academic powerhouse who already had a slew of honors on his curriculum vitae before his senior year. In her address to the council, Kautz recounted all of his accomplishments: The alumn of Sky Oaks Elementary and Trinity High, a private Christian school in Eagan, has been awarded the Patricia V. Damon Scholar Award, the National Merit Scholar Award, the Distinguished Scholar Award and the Kolenkow Reitz Physics Research Fellowship.
Michael Coughlin double-majored in Physics and Mathematics. In his spare time he authored articles on physics in technical journals, volunteered at his home church and his old elementary school and is also a ballroom dancer. After he graduates summa cum laude on June 9, he will travel to the United Kingdom to get a masters in Astronomy at Cambridge University, courtesy of the Winston Churchill Scholarship. Following that, he will study for his PhD in Physics at Harvard University beginning in the fall of 2013, thanks to a six-year fellowship covering all his expenses.
"It is a first in Burnsville. We're here to honor Michael Coughlin who has achieved academic excellence," Kautz said. "Thank you for allowing us to make a fuss over you. Your achievements are an inspiration to the young people here today and those watching."
For his part, Michael Coughlin thanked the city.
"I am incredibly grateful and unbelievably humbled about all of this hullaballoo," he said. "It's really unbelievable."