Remembering Commencement 2008

May 12, 2008

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 11, for the commencement ceremony of the College of Arts & Sciences, during which nearly 350 graduates received diplomas. For the first-time ever, the College hosted a live streaming video of the ceremony. More than 240 people in 20 countries viewed the live broadcast.

Rollins President Lewis Duncan opened the ceremony and shared that most of these graduates started their Rollins careers in the first year of his presidency. “Together we weathered three hurricanes and got to know our new home in a very special way," Duncan said. "You went on to take part in the first Campus Movie Fest, the first Dance Marathon and were deeply involved in developing and implementing the Academic Honor Code. You reached out to children of Fern Creek Elementary, the homeless and the victims of Hurricane Katrina. You are indelibly a part of Rollins history.”

Dean of the Knowles Memorial Chapel Patrick Powers gave the invocation. Highlights of the ceremony included the presentation of Honorary Doctorates of Humane Letters to poet Billy Collins and Michael Winston, president of The Alfred Harcourt Foundation. In addition, Professor of Modern Languages and former Dean of the Hamilton Holt School Patricia Lancaster, Professor of Anthropology Pedro Pequeno and Professor of History Gary Williams were elevated to “Emeritus” status.

Class of 2008 valedictorian, Joseph Patrick Kuhlman, who graduated with a perfect 4.0 GPA, encouraged his fellow graduates to give back to the world and shared the words of Mother Teresa: “It is not the magnitude of our actions but the amount of love that is put into them that matters.”

Former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins delivered the commencement address. Collins has published eight collections of poetry. In 2001, he was appointed U.S. Poet Laureate, serving 2001-2003. In 2004, he was named New York State Poet Laureate, serving 2004-2006. Collins immediately endeared himself to the audience at the beginning of his keynote address by offering the guarantee that his speech would only last 11 minutes. “Like people who attend poetry readings, you need to be assured that this will be a finite experience,” he said.

Collins remarked on the idyllic location in which Rollins students had received their college education. “Over the past four winters while most of the nation has been freezing its ear muffs off and losing its mittens, you have been sailing Frisbees in these blue skies and graced by the natural and architectural beauty of this campus and you have not had to sacrifice the quality of your education," he quipped. "Flip flops year-round and a quality education, it’s just not fair.”

“What I have been asked to do here is an honor and a privilege, but also a challenge," said Collins. "How to give advice to a crowd of strangers? We tend to resist accepting advice from those who love and care for us the most, so why accept it from a stranger? And a poet, no less...stranger than your average stranger!”

Collins encouraged students to sustain their desire to learn and to perpetuate their thinking by reading regularly and widely. “Not as a distraction or a way to kill time on an airplane or at the beach,” said Collins, “but as part of an ongoing, imaginative and intellectual adventure called the life of the mind.”

Collins encouraged graduates to “carpe the diem, because we don’t know how many diems are going to be given to us,” and to live with gratitude. He offered his poem, “The Lanyard,” as a Mother’s Day salute:

"Here is a breathing body and a beating heart,
strong legs, bones and teeth,
and two clear eyes to read the world, she whispered,
and here, I said, is the lanyard I made at camp.
And here, I wish to say to her now,
is a smaller gift—not the worn truth
that you can never repay your mother,
but the rueful admission that when she took
the two-tone lanyard from my hand,
I was as sure as a boy could be
that this useless, worthless thing I wove
out of boredom would be enough to make us even."

Click here to read the entire poem.

For the 2007-08 academic year, faculty received the following awards:

The Bornstein Award for Faculty Scholarship was awarded to Professor of Graduate Studies in Counseling Kathryn Norsworthy. 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' thirteenth president, the award honors President Bornstein's leadership and contribution to the academic vitality of the College. Norsworthy will hold the title “Bornstein Faculty Scholar” for the 2007-08 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 Ted Veit received the Cornell Distinguished Faculty Award in the Crummer School.
• Professor of Environmental Studies Bruce Stephenson received the Cornell Distinguished Service Award. 
• Professor of Anthropology Pedro Pequeno received the Cornell Distinguished Teaching Award.

Arthur Vining Davis Awards were presented to Assistant Professor of History Julian Chambliss, Assistant Professor of Theatre & Dance David Charles and Assistant Professor of International Business Marc Sardy.

Hugh and Jeannette McKean Grants were awarded to Associate Professor of Art Rachel Simmons and Associate Professor of Theatre & Dance Jennifer Cavenaugh.

Arts and Sciences Awards
Algernon Sydney Sullivan Citizen Medallion – Joseph Raymond, alumnus
Algernon Sydney Sullivan Student Medallion – Nolan Klein
Bornstein Prize for Arts and Education – Meghan Medina
Blackman Medal – Therese Swope
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):
• Brett Aaron Heiney, Artium Baccalaureus - Major: Political Science, Minor: Asian Studies
• Joseph Patrick Kuhlman, Artium Baccalaureus - Major: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
• Lauren Marque Jackson, Artium Baccalaureus - Majors: Art History and Classical Studies
• Alya Claire Poplawsky, Artium Baccalaureus - Major: Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Minors: Art History and Spanish
• Lauren Marie Starcher, Artium Baccalaureus - Major: Psychology
• Shannon Kaye Lutz Ryan, Artium Baccalaureus - Major: Music

Hamilton Holt School Commencement Ceremony

The Rollins College Hamilton Holt School Commencement ceremony was held Saturday, May 10. Associate's, bachelor's or master's degrees were awarded to 377 graduates, ages 21 to 70.

Former Lt. Governor of Florida Toni Jennings gave the keynote address. Organizational behavior major Donte Mabra, who was chosen as this year's Outstanding Graduating Senior, also addressed the graduates. The Orlando Sentinel featured a story about Mabra in the May 10 issue.

Hamilton Holt School Faculty Awards
Adjunct Instructor of Anthropology Connie Jean (C.J.) Brown 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 - Donte Mabra 
• 2008 Dean’s Leadership Award - Shelly Goodwin
• Outstanding Graduate Student in Counseling Award - Jackie Mackay and Elizabeth Strong

Crummer School Commencement Ceremony

The Crummer Graduate School of Business honored 134 students with MBA degrees on Saturday, April 26. Thomas J. Petters, founder, CEO and Chairman of Petters Group Worldwide, provided the keynote address. Petters address focused on the lessons he has learned through his entrepreneurial journey.

Crummer Graduate School of Business Student Awards
• Wall Street Journal Award – Dominique McQueen
• The Dr. Claudio Milman Scholarship Award – Juan Lopez
• The EMBA Class 25 Scholarship Award – George Sautter
• John C. Myers Award – Nicholas Hellrung and Jeanmarie Loria
• PMBA Class 33 Leadership Award – Alexander Ras
• The EMBA Leadership Award – Richard Wester
• Financial Executives Institute Medallion – George Sautter
• SunTrust Distinguished Leader of Merit Award – Jeanmarie Loria

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