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Commencement speakers announced for McDaniel's 2020 and 2021 ceremonies on Saturday, May 22

McDaniel College announces Commencement speakers and honorary degree recipients for both the 2020 and 2021 ceremonies to be held on Saturday, May 22. The 2020 Commencement Speaker is McDaniel College President Roger N. Casey, the college’s ninth president who is retiring at the end of the 2020-2021 academic year. The 2021 Commencement Speakers are Mary Lynn Durham and Bill Roj, both 1970 alumni, who supported the renovation of the college’s new Roj Student Center. The college also shares additional details about Commencement and Commencement-related events.

The Arch in Spring.

McDaniel College announces Commencement speakers and honorary degree recipients for both the 2020 and 2021 ceremonies to be held on Saturday, May 22. The 150th Commencement for the Class of 2020 is set for 10 a.m. and the 151st Commencement for the Class of 2021 at 2 p.m.

Both ceremonies are scheduled to take place outdoors at Kenneth R. Gill Stadium at McDaniel located at 2 College Hill, Westminster, Md. (rain location is Gill Center) with COVID-19 health and safety protocols in effect. Nearly 600 undergraduate and graduate degrees are expected to be awarded at each ceremony.

McDaniel College President Roger N. Casey serves as the speaker for the 2020 ceremony. The ninth president of McDaniel and currently one of the longest-serving college presidents in the State of Maryland, President Casey is retiring at the end of the 2020-2021 academic year. He will also be awarded an honorary degree during the ceremony, which was approved by the Board of Trustees in Feb. 2021.

McDaniel College President Roger N. Casey

President Roger N. Casey

Speakers and honorary degree recipients for the 2021 ceremony are 1970 alumni Mary Lynn Durham and Bill Roj. Their $5 million leadership gift made the renovation of the college’s new Roj Student Center possible.

Mary Lynn Durham is an attorney and currently serves as vice chair of the McDaniel College Board of Trustees, while Bill Roj served as chairman, president, and CEO of ERICO, a leading global manufacturer and marketer of superior engineered electrical and fastening products for electrical, mechanical, and civil applications.

Mary Lynn Durham and Bill Roj

Mary Lynn Durham '70 and Bill Roj '70

Undergraduate and Graduate Student Awards

Special undergraduate and graduate student awards are presented at McDaniel’s Commencement. Award winners from 2020 will be recognized during the 2020 ceremony. Winners of the 2021 awards will not be revealed until the 2021 ceremony. These awards include:

  • Undergraduate awards: Argonaut Award given 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.
  • Graduate student award: The B. Jill Brooks Hodge Professional Development Award given to a graduate student who has demonstrated academic excellence with a strong compassion for individuals with special needs and an interest in serving the deaf or disabled. 2020 graduate Sarah Grace Watcher of Westminster, Md., who received The Joan Develin Coley Award for Excellence in Education for the best record in the study of literacy theory and practice will also be recognized during the 2020 ceremony.

Additional Commencement-related events

In conjunction with Commencement for the Class of 2021, several events are scheduled for Friday, May 21:

Army ROTC Commissioning Ceremony

McDaniel’s Green Terror Battalion Army ROTC program hosts its Commissioning Ceremony at 9:30 a.m. May 21 in Baker Memorial Chapel with four graduating seniors from McDaniel being commissioned as second lieutenants in the U.S. Army. Maj. Gen. Clement S. Coward, director of the Department of Defense Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office, is the guest speaker.

ROTC commissioning

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, is one of the oldest ROTC programs in the nation. McDaniel’s Military Legacy Scholarship guarantees up to $100,000 over four years to all military veterans, active-duty military personnel and their children. McDaniel also participates in the Post-9/11 GI Bill and Yellow Ribbon Program.

Virtual Senior Awards Ceremonies

Two virtual senior awards ceremonies are set to be broadcast May 21 through YouTube Premieres from the McDaniel College YouTube channel.

Academic Awards: 5:30 p.m.
Seniors earning departmental awards, as well as other academic awards, will be honored during this ceremony.
Activity and Leadership Awards: 6:00 p.m.
Recognizes seniors earning activity and leadership awards and honors, including the Bates Prize for the most outstanding male graduating senior and the Mary Ward Lewis Prize for the most outstanding female graduating senior.

Maintaining Traditions

Investiture and Candle Walk
Graduating 2021 seniors will be invited to participate in a special investiture ceremony and candle walk through Ward Memorial Arch at 7 p.m. Following the candle walk, each senior will have the opportunity to ring the Old Main bell located in Memorial Plaza.
Class of 2020 graduates will have the opportunity to ring the Old Main bell starting at 8 a.m. prior to their May 22 Commencement ceremony.

Get more information about McDaniel’s Commencement.