McDaniel College celebrates 143rd Commencement

 13 0525 cmnc 2013
May 25, 2013

Family and friends of the Class of 2013 cheered the 370 bachelor’s and 488 master’s candidates who received their degrees May 25 during the college’s 143rd Commencement ceremony.

Before the ceremony, graduates marched through Memorial Plaza at the center of campus as President Roger Casey rang Old Main bell. Since 1991, seniors have passed by the bell, now mounted on a brick pedestal, for the ceremony that signals the closing chapter in their McDaniel College years. As first-year students, they each rang the same bell to symbolize the beginning of their college career. In his remarks, Casey invited graduates to return to the bell and ring it again after the ceremony.

In a time-honored Commencement tradition of guessing the exact time the ceremony ends with the first note of McDaniel’s Alma Mater, Social Work professor Cathy Orzolek-Kronner came closest with her guess of 4:53:17  p.m., more than 3 minutes over the closing time of 4:49:58.

View these photos in a larger format here.

“Wear your ‘I am McDaniel’ buttons around the world and friend us with regular updates so that we can swagger anew with all that you will accomplish,” Casey told the graduates. “You have amazed us with your intellect, and we have learned much from you along this journey.”

From 25 states and 20 countries, the graduates completed studies in 39 programs including the first four Arabic and Middle East Studies majors. Graduates have studied in 26 countries including Argentina, Australia, Costa Rica, Greece, Germany, Hungary (home to McDaniel-Europe), Ireland, Japan, Nicaragua, and Zimbabwe, just to name a few.

They are headed for jobs or graduate studies in Ghana and France to teach English, in Nicaragua as a Peace Corps volunteer, in Morocco to study Arabic, in Guatemala to build houses, and in the U.S., from Rhode Island to Raleigh-Durham, from Seattle to Maryland’s Eastern Shore, and some are staying right here on the Hill for graduate studies.

Biology major Ashlynn Parker of Monkton, Md., and English major Christie Debelius of Hampstead, Md., earned the college’s two top academic honors, the Argonaut Award for earning the highest grade-point average of 4.068 in her entire completed course of study and the Edith Farr Ridington Phi Beta Kappa Writing Award for the best Honors paper, respectively. (Read more about them in “Top graduate and undergraduate awards presented at Commencement”)

The close of the academic year marked the retirements of Associate Professor of Theatre Arts Ron Miller, who was granted emeritus status by the college’s Board of Trustees, and BoAnn Bohman, Education lecturer and student advisor in the Educational Administration program, and Herbert Phelps, Educational Administration coordinator. (Read more about them in “Student-centered faculty retire from three programs”)

Graduate student awards, The B. Jill Brooks Hodge Professional Development Award and The Joan Develin Coley Award for Excellence in Education, went to Sarah M. Tringali of Woodstock, Md., who is completing her master’s degree in counselor education, and Bryana Lauren Bair of Westminster, Md., who is completing her master’s degree in the reading specialist graduate program, respectively. (Read more about them in “Top graduate and undergraduate awards presented at Commencement” )

Joining the graduates in cap and gown were honorary-degree recipients McDaniel Trustee and alumna Christine Royer ’48, vice president (ret.) of Barnard College and Washington Insiders Judy Woodruff, PBS NewsHour senior correspondent, and her husband Al Hunt, Bloomberg News executive editor.

Royer, also Barnard’s former vice president of Public Relations and English professor, is a passionate advocate for liberal arts education and for access and equity in higher education. She is a 1948 alumna of Western Maryland College (now McDaniel) and current member of the college’s board of trustees. She taught English for more than two decades at Penn Hall Junior College, Dickinson College, Connecticut College and Barnard College, where she also served as director of admissions, associate dean of faculty and vice president for public affairs until her retirement in 1993.

At Barnard, she led its outreach to students from underrepresented groups and broadened the geographical sweep of its recruitment efforts. She also led Barnard committees significant in setting policy on its tenure, honors system and college boards. She has served on McDaniel’s board of trustees since 1994.

Royer told the graduates about the traditions from her era on the Hill – May Day, Sadie Hawkins day, caroling faculty, and as it remains today, tailgating.

“Those traditions are lovely but somewhat trivial compared to the real tradition here on the Hill,” said Royer, who considers the honorary degree the capstone of her lifelong connection with McDaniel College. “Change. The capacity to change. Change in curriculum and change in the physical nature of the college. But above all, the change in the name of the college.

“”I hope you realize how well-prepared you are to meet the challenges of the future. Embrace change. Think about change – change that will benefit all of mankind.”

Another of the three honorary degree recipients, Woodruff has covered politics and other news as a television journalist at CNN, NBC, and PBS, for more than three decades. She served as co-anchor of “PBS NewsHour,” chief Washington correspondent for PBS’ “The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour” and anchored the award-winning weekly documentary series, “Frontline with Judy Woodruff.” She was an anchor and senior correspondent for CNN for 12 years, anchoring the weekday political program, “Inside Politics.” At NBC News, she served as White House correspondent from 1977-1982 and for one year after was NBC’s “Today Show” chief Washington correspondent.

A founding co-chair of the International Women’s Media Foundation, she serves on the boards of the Freedom Forum, the Newseum, and the Urban Institute. She is also a member of The Knight Foundation, Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, and the board of the National Museum of American History. Woodruff is a graduate of Duke University, of which she is a trustee emerita.

Quoting Federal Reserve Board chair Ben Bernanke, Woodruff said change is the only constant.

“So success and satisfaction will not come from mastering a fixed body of knowledge but from constant adaptation and creativity in a rapidly changing world,” Woodruff said. “Whether you are headed into caregiving, teaching, business or the law, each of you will want to fasten your seatbelts for an exciting, even wild, ride. 

“And you couldn’t be better prepared to make it.”

Woodruff’s husband, Al Hunt, is the former executive editor of Bloomberg News and is a Bloomberg View columnist and host of “Political Capital with Al Hunt” in Washington, D.C. He was formerly a congressional and national political reporter, bureau chief and executive Washington editor for The Wall Street Journal for 35 years. He has served as a panelist on NBC’s “Meet the Press” and PBS’ “Washington in Review,” as well as political analyst on CBS Morning News, and a panelist on CNN’s “The Capital Gang” and “Novak, Hunt & Shields.”

In 1999, he received the William Allen White Foundation’s national citation, one of the highest honors in journalism, and in 1995, he and his wife, Judy Woodruff, received the Allen H. Neuharth Award for Excellence in Journalism from the University of South Dakota. He received the Raymond Clapper Award for Washington reporting in 1976. He received a bachelor’s degree in political science from Wake Forest University, where he is on the board of trustees. He is also on the board of the Children’s Charities in Washington, and advisory board of the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard University. He is an adjunct professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School of Communications.

Hunt recounted the failures some famous Americans, including President Obama, have had before they achieved success.

“So when you don't get that job this summer, or are turned down by your top choice for graduate school, or a few years later lose a promotion, a big contract falls through, you're dropped by your significant other, or something far more serious, think of those models; be resilient, learn, get back up and succeed,” he said. “Yes this is a tough environment. But there is something to this so-called American exceptionalism. When the moment seems darkest, the path most hazardous, we invariably rise to new heights.”