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McDaniel College graduates the Class of 2023

Among family and friends, 368 bachelor’s candidates crossed the stage to receive their degrees on May 20 during McDaniel College’s 153rd Commencement ceremony. Legendary Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist and bestselling author Bob Woodward addressed the graduating class and an Honorary Doctor of Journalism was awarded to Stan Stovall, retired veteran journalist and news anchor with WBAL-TV (NBC Baltimore).

Commencent 2023

Cheered on by family and friends, 368 bachelor’s candidates crossed the stage in the Robert Joshua Gill Center to receive their degrees on May 20. President Julia Jasken, presiding over her second Commencement Ceremony as the tenth president of McDaniel College, welcomed the Class of 2023 and their guests.

"You are McDaniel's Class of 2023, and you are prepared and ready to change the world," Jasken said. "Each one of you has left your mark on this college, and I know that you will continue to impact the world, the people you meet, and the places you call home, wherever your journey takes you."

2023 Commencement

From 10 countries and 21 states and the District of Columbia, the graduates completed studies in 36 programs, the most popular of which were Business Administration, Environmental Studies, Kinesiology, Psychology, and Social Work. Three students are graduating with three majors each. Thirty-six members of the Class of 2023 are legacy graduates, meaning that a parent or a grandparent also graduated from the Hill, and graduates ranged in age from 20 years old to 34 years old.

This class is full of global citizens, with 64 students having studied in eight countries; eight of those students studied abroad multiple times. Four students also received the designation of Global Fellows on their diplomas, indicating their completion of the program designed to enhance students’ understanding of global issues, develop heightened intercultural competency, and cultivate the skills and attitudes important to leading successful lives in a global context. The second class of National Security Fellows also crossed the stage, with 11 students having completed the program that provides them with robust knowledge, skills, and experience in national security.

2023 Global Fellows

2023 Global Fellows

Bob Woodward speaks at the 2023 Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony

Legendary Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Bob Woodward is an associate editor of The Washington Post, where he has worked since 1971. He has shared in two Pulitzer Prizes, first for the coverage of the Watergate scandal with Carl Bernstein in 1973, and second in 2002 as the lead reporter for coverage of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001.

In his address to the graduates, Woodward recounted the days following President Gerald Ford's pardon of President Richard Nixon, and the soul searching he had to do to understand the move that Ford had made. "What had I missed? What had I failed to understand?" Woodward asked. "I missed that what he was doing was looking out for the greater good of the country."

Woodward encouraged the Class of 2023 to always think of the next stage of good for the majority of people and to listen to and learn from the other side. "In journalism, as in academia, you want firsthand information," Woodward said, emphasizing that even if that information is counter to your own beliefs, it is worth listening to.

Invoking McDaniel's motto, "E Tenebris in Lucem Voco," or "I call you out of darkness into light," Woodward praised McDaniel for being an institution that stands for the culture of the very best America possible, and charging the newest alumni with upholding the liberty that is not found elsewhere in the world.

Following Woodward’s address to the graduates, retired veteran Baltimore journalist and news anchor Stan Stovall was awarded an honorary Doctor of Journalism. Stovall mentioned looking up to Woodward as a young journalist, noted that "anything and everything is possible," and that he had a very interesting and rewarding career. "I have three children of my own, and they have all graduated from college now," Stovall said. "But what I have taught them is that good things come to those who wait. And to those who put forth the effort, it will pay off in the long run."

Stan Stoval was awarded an honorary Doctor of Journalism

During the ceremony, the Edith Farr Ridington Writing Award was presented to Stephanie A. Eckard, a History major from Westminster, Maryland.

The Argonaut Award for the highest cumulative grade point average in the class was given to six graduates: Kate Rebecca Cramer, an Art major, College Scholar, and Global Fellow from Glen Rock, Pennsylvania; Evan J. Darr, a Psychology major and College Scholar from Frostburg, Maryland; Kyra M. Greenfield, a History major from Beltsville, Maryland; Lyra Juliet Houghton, a Political Science major, National Security Fellow, and Global Fellow from Centreville, Maryland; Grace Elizabeth Maglietta, a Writing & Publishing major and College Scholar from Finksburg, Maryland; and Eleanor Vivienne Tomkins, a Psychology and Sociology major from Central Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand.

On the evening prior to Commencement, the Bates Prize and the Mary Ward Lewis Prize for most outstanding members of the graduating class were announced at the Senior Investiture and Honors Convocation. Stephani Xiomara Portillo Ordoñez received The Mary Ward Lewis Prize. She graduates magna cum laude with departmental honors for her Self-Designed French Studies major and a major in Political Science with a specialization in International Studies, as well as a minor in European Studies. Dylan Elroy Hughes, who graduates magna cum laude with Psychology major and a Chemistry minor, was awarded The Bates Prize.

In addition to celebrating the Class of 2023, three faculty members were recognized for their election to emeritus status for a combined total of 81 years of service to the college. They included Gregory D. Alles, professor of Religious Studies; Daria Buese, associate dean of Graduate and Professional Studies; and Elizabeth van den Berg, professor of Theatre Arts.

Two faculty awards were also presented at the ceremony. Assistant Professor of Accounting Kerry Duvall was awarded the 2023 Ira G. Zepp Distinguished Teaching Award and Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies Elyzabeth “Elly” Engle received the 2023 Ira G. Zepp Teaching Enhancement Grant.