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McDaniel College graduates the Class of 2024

Among family and friends, 407 bachelor’s candidates crossed the stage to receive their degrees on Saturday, May 18, during McDaniel College’s 154th Commencement ceremony. Higher education leader Freeman A. Hrabowski III addressed the graduating class encouraging them to never stop learning and to be confident in who they are, and an Honorary Doctor of Public Service was awarded to local business leader and philanthropist Greg W. Kahlert.

UG Commencement 2024

Cheered on by family and friends, 407 bachelor’s candidates crossed the stage in the Robert Joshua Gill Center to receive their degrees on May 18. President Julia Jasken welcomed the Class of 2024 and their guests.

“Most of you graduating today departed from high school and began college amid a global pandemic. For many of you, this is your first proper graduation ceremony with your family and loved ones in attendance,” President Jasken said. “You have earned all the celebration, pomp, and circumstance that today brings.”

This class is full of global citizens, with more than 20 students having studied abroad, the most popular destination being the college’s campus in Budapest, Hungary; one of those students studied abroad multiple times. Six 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 third class of National Security Fellows also crossed the stage, with seven students having completed the program that provides them with robust knowledge, skills, and experience in national security.

UG Commencement 2024

Freeman A. Hrabwoski III, president emeritus of University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), is no stranger to speaking with young people about to enter the world with their college degrees, but to ensure he truly spoke to McDaniel’s graduates with an appropriate message, he met with a group of them to ask what they wanted out of their Commencement address. The main thing that group wanted to learn about was times he had doubted himself and how he got by.

Freeman A. Hrabowski III speaks at a lecturn

“Everybody has doubts, and I start with being 12 years old sitting in jail,” he said, relaying the story of how he was a child-leader in the Civil Rights Movement. “I was sitting there thinking, ‘Will we be OK? Will I be OK?’ Seven years later, at my own graduation, I’m thinking, ‘Will I be OK?’”

He assured the graduates that they will, in fact, be OK: “The way you think about yourselves, the language that you use, the way you interact with each other ... and the values that you hold will be so important. You will be known by those things,” he said. “Today, you become the most privileged human beings in the world, graduating from a wonderful liberal arts college. You know what it means to learn. Never stop learning.

“When you walk into a room as a McDaniel graduate, I want you to think about the fact that you've had the best of education. That you know how to learn. That you believe in yourselves. People will judge you, but you define who you are. Let people know that you're special not just because you want to be all that, but rather because you're going to help change the world.”

Following Hrabowski’s address to the graduates, philanthropist Greg W. Kahlert was presented with an Honorary Doctor of Public Service. After nearly 30 years in sales and marketing at Carroll County’s own Evapco Inc., Kahlert retired and followed in his father’s philanthropic footsteps as the president of The Kahlert Foundation. Today, the foundation provides millions of dollars in funding to charities in Maryland, Utah, and parts of the Mid-Atlantic, supporting numerous nonprofits that fall within core focus areas of education, health care, youth, veterans, and human services. This includes McDaniel College and Carroll Community College, where Kahlert serves on the board of trustees.

“We are proud to be supporters of McDaniel College, which has provided you graduates with a fantastic education. I would encourage you all to give back or volunteer in your communities because helping others is a rewarding experience that you will never forget.”

UG Commencement 2024

During the ceremony, the Edith Farr Ridington Writing Award was presented to Zachary E. Brown, a Biology and History major from Taneytown, Maryland. The Argonaut Award for the highest cumulative grade point average in the class was given to five graduates: Haley E. Arnold, a Psychology major from Newburg, Maryland; Kendall Rose Catlin, a Psychology major from Sykesville, Maryland; Signé T. Kula, a Psychology and Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies major from Barrington, New Hampshire; Brenna R. Mayberry, an English major from Pottstown, Pennsylvania; and Ariana Kaylin Stormont, an Accounting, Economics, and Business Administration major from Baltimore.

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. Tyra N. Pritchett of Hanover, Maryland, received the Mary Ward Lewis Prize. She graduates magna cum laude with a major in Psychology and a minor in Theatre Arts. Kramoh T. Mansalay of Darby, Pennsylvania, was the recipient of the Bates Prize. He graduates with majors in Biomedical Science and Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies – Linguistic Specialization, with minors in Chemistry and Biology.

In addition to celebrating the Class of 2024, two faculty members were recognized for their election to emeritus status. Lauren Dundes, professor of Sociology, retired after 28 years teaching at the college. The board also posthumously elected Richard Brett, professor of Communication and Cinema, who passed away in January after teaching at McDaniel since 2010.

One faculty award was also presented at the ceremony. Associate Professor of Art Chloe Irla was awarded the 2024 Ira G. Zepp Distinguished Teaching Award.

2024 Commencement Highlights