News Release: McDaniel College’s 147th Commencement May 20, 2017

McDaniel College Office of Communications and Marketing masthead.
April 13, 2017

April 13, 2017

Contact: Cheryl Knauer



More than 600 Undergraduate and Graduate Degrees to be Awarded

College historian James E. Lightner is the Commencement Speaker   

Special student awards presented, including the Argonaut Award and The Edith Farr Ridington Writing Award to undergraduate graduating seniors, and The B. Jill Brooks Hodge Professional Development Award and The Joan Develin Coley Award for Excellence in Education to graduate students 

On Friday, May 19, McDaniel’s Green Terror Battalion Army ROTC program hosts its Commissioning Ceremony at 10 a.m. and the Senior Investiture and Honors Convocation takes place at 7:30 p.m.

Graduating seniors participate in a Candlelight Processional prior to the Senior Investiture and Honors Convocation on Friday evening at approximately 6:45 p.m.

WESTMINSTER, Md. – McDaniel College holds its 147th Commencement on Saturday, May 20, at 10 a.m. The ceremony takes place in Gill Center at McDaniel located at 2 College Hill, Westminster, Md. More than 600 undergraduate and graduate degrees are to be awarded. 

College historian James E. Lightner, who has served the college for five decades as a 1959 alumnus, professor emeritus of mathematics and current trustee, is the Commencement speaker to kick off the college’s 150th anniversary, which will be celebrated in the 2017–2018 academic year. Lightner literally wrote the history of McDaniel (formerly Western Maryland) College with his more than 700-page book, “Fearless and Bold.” 

Special student awards are annually presented at McDaniel’s Commencement. Award winners are not revealed until the Commencement ceremony.  
Undergraduate awards are the Argonaut Award, which is presented to the graduating senior with the highest cumulative grade-point average, and The Edith Farr Ridington Writing Award for the best paper by a graduating senior. 

The two graduate student awards include The B. Jill Brooks Hodge Professional Development Award, given to graduate students who have demonstrated academic excellence with a strong compassion for individuals with special needs and an interest in serving the deaf or disabled, and The Joan Develin Coley Award for Excellence in Education, awarded to a graduate student with the best record in the study of literacy theory and practice. 

In conjunction with Commencement, several events also take place on Friday, May 19

•    McDaniel’s Green Terror Battalion Army ROTC program hosts its Commissioning Ceremony at 10 a.m. May 19 in Baker Memorial Chapel with nine graduating seniors from McDaniel being commissioned as second lieutenants in the U.S. Army. Retired Lt. Gen. Otto J. Guenther, a 1963 alumnus and the highest-ranking military officer ever to graduate from the college, is the guest speaker. Guenther is a current McDaniel trustee. 

Army ROTC has been a tradition at the college since 1919, and the Green Terror Battalion, which includes cadets from McDaniel, Hood College and Mount St. Mary’s University, is one of the oldest ROTC programs in the nation. McDaniel has consistently been recognized among Military Friendly Schools®.

•    The annual Senior Investiture and Honors Convocation takes place at 7:30 p.m. May 19 in Gill Center. Graduating seniors receive academic, activity and leadership awards, including the Bates Prize for the most outstanding male graduating senior and Mary Ward Lewis Prize for the most outstanding female graduating senior. 

Graduating seniors will process through Ward Memorial Arch to Baker Memorial Chapel at approximately 6:45 p.m. prior to the Senior Investiture and Honors Convocation. 

Visit for more information about McDaniel’s Commencement. Those unable to attend can access a live video stream of the ceremony (  

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Editor’s Notes:  To attend McDaniel’s Commencement, contact Cheryl Knauer, director of media relations, at 410-857-2294 or by Friday, May 19. 

Visit under "2017 Commencement" to download Commencement speaker James E. Lightner’s headshot, as well as select photos from past McDaniel commencement ceremonies.

McDaniel College, founded in 1867 and nationally recognized as one of 40 “Colleges That Change Lives,” is a four-year, independent college of the liberal arts and sciences offering more than 70 undergraduate programs of study, including dual and student-designed majors, plus 25 highly regarded graduate programs. Its personalized, interdisciplinary, global curriculum and student-faculty collaboration develop the unique potential in every student. A diverse, student-centered community of 1,600 undergraduates and 1,400 graduate students, McDaniel offers access to the resources of Baltimore and Washington, D.C., and is the only American college with a European campus in Budapest, Hungary.