Remembering Commencement 2009

May 11, 2009


College of Arts & Sciences Honors Students on Mother’s Day

Graduates, parents, families, friends, faculty and staff packed the Warden Arena on Mother's Day, Sunday, May 10, for the commencement ceremony of the College of Arts & Sciences, during which more than 300 graduates received diplomas. 

Rollins President Lewis Duncan opened the ceremony and reminded graduates of their time at Rollins.  “You went on to take part in the first Campus Movie Fest, the first Dance Marathon and helped implement the Academic Honor Code. You reached out to children of Fern Creek Elementary, the homeless and the victims of Hurricane Katrina. You are indelibly part of Rollins history.”

Rabbi David Kay of the Congregation Ohev Shalon gave the invocation.  Highlights of the ceremony included the presentation of Honorary Doctorates of Humane Letters to Trudie Kibbe Reed, president of Bethune-Cookman University, and Ed Hayes, retired Orlando Sentinel columnist.  In addition, Professor of  Mathematics Doug Child, Professor of Physics Don Griffin, Professor of Music Edmund LeRoy and Professor of Education Alden Moe were elevated to “Emeritus” status.

Class of 2009 Valedictorian, Jenna Lynn Mielzynski, a waterski champion who majored in biochemistry and minored in molecular biology and graduated with a perfect 4.0 GPA, read some lyrics from the current Miley Cyrus song “The Climb”:

There’s always gonna be another mountain
I’m always gonna want to make it move
Always gonna be an uphill battle
Sometimes I’m gonna have to lose

Aint about how fast I get there
Aint about what’s waiting on the other side
It’s the climb.

 “It may not be grammatically correct,” said Mielzynski as the audience laughed, “but the climb or the journey is often as important, or more important, as the destination.  Life is not a race.”

President of Bethune-Cookman University Trudie Kibbe Reed also addressed the crowd.  Reed assumed the presidency of Bethune-Cookmen Univeristy on August 16, 2004, after a successful career in higher education as both a college president and a high ranking administrator within The United Methodist Church.  In 1904, Mary McLeod Bethune founded a Normal Industrial School for girls and transformed the institution into a premier co-educational liberal arts college in the 20th century.  Over a century later, Reed, the first woman to serve as president of Bethune-Cookman since Bethune, turned the college into a university. 

Reed explained that this year represents the 60th anniversary of Rollins’ awarding an honorary doctorate to Mary McLeod Bethune, founder of Bethune-Cookman College (now University), which made Rollins the first institution of higher learning in the South to present such an honor to an African American. 

“It was a time of racial divide and segregation, a time that we don’t like to remember.  So  inviting Mary McLeod Bethune, an African American woman, to receive an honorary degree was really a big deal.  In fact, it created an earthquake,” said Reed.  “President Emeritus Hamilton Holt risked his job and reputation by inviting her to stand on the stage beside him.  He put his life at risk to honor a woman for her achievements in education and civil rights.  At that time it was not obvious to others because they chose not to see beyond the color of her skin.”

According to Reed, Holt knew that changing minds and hearts took time, but he kept at it because it was the right thing to do.  Reed challenged graduates to always stand up for what is right even if it isn’t easy or popular.  “Sometimes doing nothing is just as bad as doing wrong.  Take a stand for what is right, even when it is not easy.  Don’t be silent when you see injustice or inequity.  You will face situations that will test your values and your integrity,” she said. “What you do in those situations will help you grow as a person and make a real difference in your life and to those around you who are watching.”

In honor of Mother’s Day, Reed recognized that wisdom is a lifelong journey and asked the graduates to use their imagination in the creation of a “Mother Wisdom Principle Kit.”   She recommended that the imaginary “tool” kit include a work ethic that highlights integrity, a commitment to using your power well, a custom of bringing others along as you climb the ladder, a habit of taking time to reflect, a practice of sharing knowledge with the next generation and empowering others, and a dedication to taking time to have a little fun.

Reed closed with words of wisdom from one of her favorite actresses, the late Audrey Hepburn:  “People even more than things have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed, so never throw out anyone.  Remember if you ever need a helping hand you will find one at the end of each of your arms.  As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself and one for helping others.”

For the 2008-09 academic year, Rollins faculty received the following awards:

The Bornstein Award for Faculty Scholarship was awarded to Professor of Physics Thomas Moore. Established by the Board of Trustees of Rollins College in 2003, the Bornstein Award recognizes a faculty member whose outstanding scholarly achievement or creative accomplishment has helped bring national prominence to the College. Named in honor of Rollins' 13th president, the award honors President Bornstein's leadership and contribution to the academic vitality of the College. Moore will hold the title “Bornstein Faculty Scholar” for the 2008-09 academic year and will receive a cash stipend.

Three awards were established by the Board of Trustees of Rollins College in 2004 in honor of Rollins' beloved alumnus and longtime trustee George Cornell, whose generous recent bequest made the awards possible. Each recipient will receive a stipend. The awards recognize faculty members for outstanding teaching, research and/or service.

• Crummer Professor Jane Reimers received the Cornell Distinguished Faculty.
• Professor of Archives & Special Collections Wenxian Zhang received the Cornell Distinguished Service Award.
• Crummer Professor J. Clay Singleton received the Cornell Distinguished Teaching Award.

Arthur Vining Davis Awards were presented to Associate Professor of Theatre Arts & Dance Jennifer Cavenaugh, Assistant Professor of Art History Kimberly Dennis and Professor of International Business Ilan Alon.

Arts & Sciences Student Awards

Algernon Sydney Sullivan Citizen Medallion — Established in 1927, the highest non-academic award the College bestows is presented to an Arts & Sciences student who demonstrates quality of service and care — Kelly Lynn Rolfes-Haase

Charles McCormick Reeve Awards for Scholarship — Presented to Arts & Sciences graduates who have maintained the highest scholastic record during their last three years at Rollins College:
Eric David Bindler, Artium Baccalaureus Honoris - Major: International Business
Elizabeth Ann Hollabaugh, Artium Baccalaureus - Major: Art
Jenna Lynn Mielzynski, Artium Baccalaureus – Major/Minor: Biochemistry/Molecular Biology
Katie Ann Osterloh, Artium Baccalaureus - Major: International Relations
Marcela Maheu Wanderley, Artium Baccalaureus Honoris - Major: Chemistry

Rollins offered live streaming video of all three of its 2009 Commencement ceremonies. More than 882 viewers from 26 countries countries viewed the live broadcasts.

View video of the Arts & Sciences Commencement ceremony.

Hamilton Holt School Commencement Ceremony

The Rollins College Hamilton Holt School Commencement ceremony was held Saturday, May 9. Associate’s, bachelor’s, or master’s degrees were awarded to 276 graduates, ages 21 to 66.

jaclyn walker
Hamilton Holt School Acting Dean Jim Eck (left) and Holt Board of Advisors Chair Randy Fields (right) with Jaclyn Walker, Outstanding Graduating Senior.

Alan Ginsburg, chairman and CEO of AHG Group, founder of The CED Companies and Concord Management Company, Rollins College trustee, Hamilton Holt School Board of Advisors member, and renowned Central Florida philanthropist, gave the keynote address. Organizational communication major Jaclyn Walker, who was chosen as this year’s Outstanding Graduating Senior, also addressed the graduates.

Hamilton Holt School Faculty Awards

Associate Professor of Communication Sue Easton received the Walter E. Barden Distinguished Teaching Award, an award presented by the Hamilton Holt School Student Government Association to a faculty member who has demonstrated innovation and creativity in teaching and responsiveness and commitment to adult learning.

Hamilton Holt School Student Awards

• Outstanding Graduating Senior — Jaclyn Walker
• 2009 Dean’s Leadership Award — Will Thames
• Outstanding Graduate for the Master of Arts in Counseling Program — Keith Simms

View video of the Hamilton Holt Commencement ceremony.

Crummer Graduate School of Business Commencement Ceremony

EAMBA graduates 2009 
 Dean Craig McAllaster with the Early Advantage MBA 2009 graduating class.

The Crummer Graduate School of Business honored 144 students with MBA degrees on Saturday, May 2. Senator Mel Martinez delivered the keynote address, which focused on facing the current economic challenges. Senator Martinez was also presented with an honorary MBA from the School at the ceremony.

Crummer Student Awards

• Wall Street Journal Award – Ashlee S. Weisser
• The Dr. Claudio Milman Scholarship Award – Kenneth Crews
• The CMBA Class 26 Scholarship Award – Keith Crowe, Isar MeitisDavid Srinivasan, Lee Upton
• John C. Myers Award – Hannah B. Walsh
• PMBA Class 35 Leadership Award – Jennifer Schmitz
• The CMBA Class 26 Leadership Award – Keith Crowe
• Financial Executives Institute Medallion – Keith Crowe
• SunTrust Distinguished Leader of Merit Award – Whitney N. McDonald

View video of the Crummer Graduate School of Business Commencement ceremony.


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