Ethel “Ellie” Hylton has always been a high achiever. Perhaps it runs in the family. As the niece of news anchor Soledad O’Brien, Hylton’s personal achievement in graduating from Harvard College with the highest GPA in her class might not come as a surprise.
“My aunt has been a friend and an inspiration since I was a little girl,” Hylton told theGrio. “I’ve enjoyed watching her career, and I admire all the success she’s had by taking risks and following her passion. It’s always fun getting together with her and the rest of my extended family!”
Hylton, who graduated this year with a degree in sociology, was honored with the Sophia Freund Prize, which is given to the Harvard student with the highest grade point average graduating summa c*m laude. She was also inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa Society last fall.
Hylton credits the support of her parents (who also graduated from Harvard magna c*m laude in 1982) with much of her ability to attain success.
Credits parents with her success
“I feel like I owe everything to my parents,” Hylton said. “They have been the most supportive people in my life. They always have supported me academically and [in] my extra-curricular activities. My parents never really pushed me in any particular direction. I never felt pressured to achieve because of my parents.
“They barely ever mentioned Harvard when I was growing up. My family is supportive, but not pushy,” she reiterated. “They want me to do my best, but they will never tell me that I have to achieve a certain standard.”