138th Commencement activities

May 07, 2008

McDaniel College will award nearly 330 bachelor’s and more than 200 master’s degrees at the College’s 138th Commencement at 2 p.m. May 24 in Gill Center.

Student awards include the Argonaut Award, which is presented annually to the graduating senior with the highest cumulative grade-point average, and the Edith Farr Ridington Phi Beta Kappa Writing Award for the best Honors paper.

At 8:30 a.m. on Commencement day, 11 graduating seniors, who are members of the College’s Army ROTC program, will be commissioned as second lieutenants into the U.S. Army. The graduates, part of the Green Terror Battalion, come from McDaniel, Mount St. Mary’s and Hood College. The presentation will feature guest speaker Brigadier General Blake Edwin Williams, deputy commander of the First Army Division East.

McDaniel’s annual Baccalaureate Service will be held at 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 23, in Baker Memorial Chapel.

Honorary degree recipients and speakers at the 138th Commencement include Helen Thomas, reporter and columnist for Hearst Newspapers, and James Melhorn, President and CEO of EMA Inc. and McDaniel College Board Chair Emeritus.

During her 50-year career in journalism, Thomas became well known for her incisive questions as correspondent and White House bureau chief for United Press International. She is now a columnist for Hearst Newspapers. Often called the “First Lady of the Press,” Thomas covered every president since John F. Kennedy. She has traveled around the world with Presidents Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, George H. Bush, and Clinton and continues to cover the presidency of George W. Bush.

In 1974, she became the first female White House bureau chief of a wire service. She was the first woman officer of the National Press Club, the White House Correspondents Association, and the first woman member of the Gridiron Club.

Thomas is the author of four books, “Thanks for the Memories Mr. President: Wit and Wisdom from the Front Row at the White House,” “Watchdogs of Democracy?: The Waning Washington Press Corps and How It Has Failed the Public,” “Dateline: White House,” and “Front Row at the White House: My Life and Times.”

Among many awards and accolades, the Washington Press Association Foundation recently gave Thomas a Lifetime Achievement Award. She was presented with an Intrepid Award from the National Organization of Women and is the recipient of the Helen Thomas Lifetime Achievement Award from the White House Correspondents Association and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Women’s Media Foundation. In 1976, the World Almanac named Thomas as one of the “25 Most Influential Women in America.”

She earned her bachelor’s degree from Wayne State University in Detroit, Mich.

In his top leadership position with EMA, Inc., Melhorn oversees the operations of 12 subsidiary corporations. He has been recognized in the field of gerontology for his longtime advocacy for the needs of the elderly.

The company and its subsidiaries provide residential living, assisted living and comprehensive nursing service to senior citizens. Sixteen hundred people live in EMA facilities. The aging association is affiliated with the American Association of Homes for the Aging, a national organization of which Melhorn has served as a member of the House of Delegates since 1987.

A member of the College Board since 1993, Melhorn served as its chair from 1996 to 2007. He led the College through an historic name change, two major fundraising campaigns, and inaugurated a new president. He also was instrumental in acquiring the Jessie Ball duPont grant to support the Center for the Study of Aging and  established a partnership between McDaniel and EMA, Inc. to support  the Center. Melhorn also serves on the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges Chair Council.

Melhorn has also been a member of the board of directors at Target Community and Educational Service, Inc. He has served on the board of the American Heart Association’s Marlyand affiliate, is a member of the BB&T Bank advisory board, and has served as a vice president of the Maryland Chamber of Commerce and as president of the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce. He has also chaired the Continuing Care Advisory Board at Maryland’s Office on Aging, and chaired the board of directors at the Clover White Foundation.

Melhorn earned in 1964 a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Philosophy from Lebanon Valley College, a master’s of divinity from United Theological Seminary in 1967, and completed additional graduate work at North Texas State University.

For more information, call Michele Leiberman, associate director of media relations, at 410-857-2294.