May 25, 2019
Amid the cheers and applause of family and friends, the McDaniel College Class of 2019 — 358 bachelor’s candidates in all — crossed the stage to receive their degrees May 25 during the College’s 149th Commencement ceremony.
The College celebrated a first with separate ceremonies for bachelor’s and master’s graduates. (Read about the master’s Commencement ceremony here “Master’s candidates awarded degrees during 149th Commencement”)
During their 3 p.m. ceremony, bachelor’s graduates were celebrated by President Roger Casey, who quoted the closing words of the song “For Good” sung by the McDaniel College Choir directed by Margaret Boudreaux.
“Graduates, that last line really resonates with me. ‘Because I knew you, I have been changed for good,’” Casey said. “Thank you for your contributions and for your positive presence during your years here on the Hill.”
He invited the graduates to ring the bell in time-honored tradition before leaving campus to signal the closing chapter in their time on the Hill. As first-year students, they each rang the same bell to symbolize the beginning of their college career.
From 21 countries and 23 states and the District of Columbia, the graduates completed studies in 33 programs. They are global citizens, having studied in 23 countries, including Argentina, Austria, The Bahamas, Belgium, Chile, China, Costa Rica Dominican Republic, Ecuador, England, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Jordan, Mexico, Morocco, Peru, Scotland, South Africa and Spain.
Eleven graduates received the Global Fellow designation on their diplomas for completing a three-year program that is designed to enhance their understanding of global issues, develop heightened intercultural competency and cultivate the skills and attitudes important to leading successful lives in a global context.
Taylor Bauman, a Biology major from Charlottesville, Va., received the Argonaut Award for highest GPA of 4.0 in her entire completed course of study and the Mary Ward Lewis Prize as the most outstanding female graduating senior. Atticus Rice, a Political Science and Communication major from Portland, Ore., was awarded the Bates Prize for the most outstanding male graduating seniors respectively.
Owen Long, a Psychology major pursuing the 5-year B.A./M.S. Gerontology program from Hanover, Pa., and Daniel Smith, a triple major in Accounting Economics, Business Administration and German from Lancaster, Pa., were honored with a Ridington Award, the College’s top writing award for best written honors paper. (Read more about these honorees in “Top undergraduate honors awarded at Commencement”)
Faculty awards were also presented at the Commencement ceremony, including the Ira G. Zepp Distinguished Teaching Award to Art professor Steven Pearson, the Shelton Adjunct Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence to Music adjunct lecturer Jonathan Seligman, and the Ira G. Zepp Teaching Enhancement Grant to Chemistry professor Dana Ferraris. (Read more about faculty awards in “McDaniel faculty honored with top teaching awards”)
Eight professors and a senior coach lecturer with emeriti status were recognized upon their retirement for their combined 308 years of service to the College. Faculty recognized for their service to the College are Margie Boudreaux, professor of Music, 30 years of service; J. Richard Carpenter, professor of Kinesiology, with 50 years of service; Thomas Deveny, professor of Spanish and Comparative Literature, with 41 years of service; Kim Easterday, lecturer in Kinesiology and director of Athletics Operations, with 43 years of service; Becky Martin, senior coach lecturer in Kinesiology and head women’s basketball coach, with 38 years of service; Janet Medina, associate professor of Education, 19 years of service; Ralene Mitschler, associate professor of Biology, with 23 years of service; Herb Smith, professor of Political Science and International Studies, with 46 years of service; and Margaret Trader, associate professor of Education, with 18 years of service.
Joining the graduates in cap and gown was honorary degree recipient Martin K. P. Hill, who has served on the College’s Board of Trustees since 1993 and as chair since 2007 and was named an honorary alumnus of McDaniel College in 2015.
As an active member of the McDaniel Board, Hill has been instrumental in changing the landscape of the College. With his guidance, every academic building on campus has been renovated, including Hill Hall rededicated in 1995 in his honor and most recently, the Gill Physical Education Learning Center in 2018. Two new academic halls, Eaton Hall and Merritt Hall, were constructed, as well as the North Village residential apartments, Merritt Fitness Center and Kenneth R. Gill Stadium.
He chaired the College’s comprehensive fundraising campaign in 1994 giving a pacesetting gift of $1.5 million to launch the campaign’s public phase and worked tirelessly to recruit and mentor other leaders to join McDaniel’s efforts. Simultaneously, he served as chair of the Buildings and Grounds committee and led the Board’s approval of a 10-year campus master plan that provided a blueprint of building projects to support the College’s mission and growth.
A second seven-figure gift during the Carpe Diem Campaign endowed a faculty chair in Economics and Business Administration in honor of longtime McDaniel faculty member and administrator Ethan Seidel.
Hill explained to the graduates that he has never been in their seats. Literally.
“Receiving this honor is so amazing to me,” Hill said of the honorary degree he received at the ceremony. “When I think of the people who have been honored here at the College with an honorary degree, I am in awe of their accomplishments. How do I find myself in such company?”
Hard work is the short answer to that question. The longer version was evident in Hill’s remarks as he shared the story of how he went from thinking he could not possibly swing college at then WMC even with a Senatorial scholarship to being chair of its Board of Trustees.
“As you walk out of here today keep in mind, where you start isn’t where you will end up. Jump in, even if it isn’t necessarily part of your current life plan,” Hill said. “At this point in your life, you don’t need to know what you want to do with the rest of your life. Be open to new experiences that will help you figure it out. You will eventually.
“It’s scary, and it’s uncomfortable, but you won’t get far without taking risks. Have a great life.”
In a time-honored Commencement tradition of guessing the exact time the ceremony ends with the first note of McDaniel’s Alma Mater, Philosophy professor Ellizabeth Tyler came closest with her guess of 5:03:33 p.m., 96 seconds longer than the actual closing time of 5:01:57.