May 25, 2019
With the support of friends and family, 246 master’s candidates received their degrees during McDaniel College’s graduate Commencement ceremony, the first time in the College’s history that a separate ceremony was held for master’s level students.
From five countries, 10 states and the District of Columbia, the graduates completed degrees in multiple fields with the most degrees conferred in Curriculum and Instruction, Counseling, Educational Leadership, Kinesiology, and Special Education. The master’s graduates are educators, administrators, counselors, coaches, health care workers, mothers, fathers, and care givers who balanced their studies within the scope of their professions and families.
President Roger Casey acknowledged the expertise attained by the graduates, noting that they “are now masters of [their] professional disciplines, charged with working collaboratively to confront the world’s problems and embrace change as a friend.”
Casey then welcomed former College president Joan Develin Coley to the podium to address the audience as the 2019 Commencement speaker. In addition to her role as College president and provost, Coley has also served the College during her 37-year career here as coordinator of the master’s program in Reading Specialist and graduate division dean, making her connection to the graduate programs particularly personal.
Coley, who earned her A.B. at Albright College and her masters and doctorate at University of Maryland, joined the faculty of then Western Maryland College in 1973 as Director of the Graduate Reading Program. She was elected College president in 2000 after serving as interim president for nearly a year and led the College through a major re-positioning launched in 2002 when its name was changed from Western Maryland College to McDaniel. Addressing the graduates, she openly shared lessons learned in the tumultuous period following the name change.
Her remarks reflected her knowledge of the programs and students, highlighting the innovation that has emerged from the College’s graduate programs, including a new Master of Education degree in 1949 and the first fully online program at the graduate level, which has now led to over a dozen programs also offered online.
Coley, who led the successful Carpe Diem Campaign that raised more than $77 million and set new records of support from trustees, alumni, faculty and staff, outlined through personal anecdote what makes a good leader, beginning by identifying the importance of a good laugh.
“I know that I couldn’t have made it through my presidency, or my time as provost or graduate dean, without every once in a while, getting a little distance and laughing,” she said. “Take time to laugh!”
Coley highlighted the importance of listening.
"You probably already know that when people are angry or upset, they don’t want logic. First, they want you to listen, you to understand them and you to acknowledge their anger and pain," she said. “Sometimes the best strategy is simply to sit and empathize and listen. Really listen.”
Finally, she concluded by reminding the candidates to say thank you, urging them to “never to lose sight of the people who make your success possible.”
Two top graduate awards were also announced during the ceremony.
Awarded to the graduate student who demonstrated academic excellence and an interest in serving the deaf or disabled, Kathleen Marie Dulin of Glen Burnie, Md., was honored with the The B. Jill Brooks Hodge Professional Development Award. Dulin, who received her master’s degree in Deaf Education, fosters an environment for learning through classroom experiences that encourage learning via trial and error. Her strengths include creativity, flexibility, patience and passion. She uses these skills every day in her role as a teacher at the Maryland School for the Deaf where she also completed her internship.
Tiffany Marie Vanik of York, Pa., is the 2019 recipient of The Joan Develin Coley Award, made especially meaningful by Coley’s Commencement address. Awarded to the graduate student with the best record in the study of literacy theory and practice, Vanik completed her master’s degree in the Reading Specialist: Literacy Leadership program. A reflective practitioner who applies her learning to refine her instruction with her kindergarten students, Vanik developed an outstanding professional development initiative plan based on extensive research related to an area of need in her school. Since 2014, she has been teaching kindergarten at Washington Elementary School in the Hanover Public School District.
As the 149th Commencement concluded, candidates were welcomed into the College’s Alumni Association by Alumni President Debbie Seidel, B.A. ‘84.
Here's a glimpse of the Master's Commencement: