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Master’s students earn degrees at 154th Commencement

At McDaniel’s 2024 Graduate Commencement Ceremony, 296 students celebrated the achievement of earning their master’s degrees, conferred from 16 programs. The keynote speaker was Mona Kerby, the L. Stanley Bowlsbey Endowed Chair at McDaniel.

Group of students in commencement regalia sit in chairs

At McDaniel’s 2024 Graduate Commencement Ceremony, 296 students celebrated the achievement of earning their master’s degrees, conferred from 16 programs.

The graduating students hail from 23 states and Washington, D.C., and 20 countries. A multigenerational class that ranges in age from 22 to 61 years old, most of the graduates earned their degrees in Counseling, Data Analytics, Deaf Education, Educational Leadership, and Innovations in Teaching and Learning (formerly Curriculum and Instruction). Of the graduating class, 15 hold bachelor’s degrees from McDaniel.

President Julia Jasken congratulated the graduates on completing their McDaniel education and shared her confidence in their future endeavors.

Students in commencement regalia clap

President Jasken then welcomed the 2024 Graduate Commencement speaker, Mona Kerby, to the podium. Kerby is the L. Stanley Bowlsbey Endowed Chair at McDaniel, coordinates the School Librarianship program, and serves as coordinator of the Writing for Children and Young Adults and Learning Technologies Specialist certificate programs.

Kerby graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and Spanish from Texas Wesleyan University in Fort Worth, Texas, a master’s degree in Counseling Education from Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas, and a master’s degree and Ph.D. in Library Science from Texas Woman’s University in Denton, Texas.

She began her career as a kindergarten teacher with the Arlington Independent School District in Arlington, Texas, and was a librarian before coming to teach at McDaniel in 1994. She is an award-winning author of 15 books ranging from fiction and non-fiction to picture books and was awarded the college’s Distinguished Scholars Award for the fall 2023 semester to work on writing and publishing a science-fiction comedy novel geared toward third- to fifth-grade readers.

She has also served as a member of numerous professional associations, including the American Association of School Librarians, Association of Library Service to Children, International Association of School Librarians, the Maryland Association of School Librarians, and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

Kerby opened her remarks to the graduates by reminding them of McDaniel's mission “to help you think and act critically, creatively, and humanely. To help you make the world a better place.” By earning their master's degrees, Kerby said, the graduates were prepared to better the world around them.

She concluded by saying, "Right now, in this room, you who we are celebrating, we who have gone before you, and those who are waiting to follow your lead, all of us — together — are one. We are McDaniel. We make the world a better place. We bring light into darkness."

Faculty member places graduate commencement hood on student

Following Kerby’s remarks, Dean of Graduate and Professional Studies Vickie Mazer introduced the tradition of hooding ceremonies. During the ceremony, each graduate received their academic hood individually on stage while accepting their diploma. “The hooding is a visible recognition of the students’ achievement of an advanced degree,” Mazer said.

During the ceremony, one graduate and two faculty members received awards.

Kai Christenberry, who earned a master’s degree in Deaf Education, is the 2024 recipient of The B. Jill Brooks Hodge Professional Development Award. The 2024 recipient of the Zepp Teaching Enhancement Grant is Assistant Professor of Counseling Lyneia Richardson. The recipient of the 2024 Shelton Adjunct Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence is Claudia Bowen, senior online graduate adjunct lecturer in Special Education. Read more about the recipients.

2024 Commencement Highlights