More than 375 students earned diplomas during the 151st annual Westminster College commencement ceremonies Saturday.
The ceremony began with baccalaureate service at 10:30 a.m. in Orr Auditorium. The Rev. David G. Dawson, executive presbyter for the Shenango Presbytery, spoke about "Continuing the Journey, The Cost of Living" at the baccalaureate. The service included music by College Organist Dr. Elizabeth Harrison and the Westminster College Senior Choir, a welcome from Westminster College President R. Thomas Williamson, and prayers and scripture readings by Keturah Laney, chaplain's assistant.
While waiting for the graduates to appear, parents and friends were treated to music by the Westminster College Faculty Brass Quintet. Bagpiper Donald Wallace, a 1974 Westminster graduate, led the grand march and Dr. Nancy Zipay DeSalvo, assistant professor of music, played "Pomp and Circumstance."
Welcoming remarks were made by George Berlin, chair of the Westminster Board of Trustees, and Westminster College President R. Thomas Williamson. Senior Katherine Duncan, an English and music major from Indiana, Pa., sang the "Star Spangled Banner."
After receiving honorary doctorate degrees, Dr. Jerry Boone, senior consultant for Sims & Steel Consulting; Jack Hoey, retired president and CEO of The People's Natural Gas Company; and Mabel Kocher, retired associate professor, librarian emerita, and curator of special collections at Westminster College, delivered "words of wisdom" to the class of 2005.
"You are among the fortunate , one of those who has attained a college education," Boone said. "You have been trained and prepared for what lies ahead. A liberal arts education is a mighty thermal which provides a force from which you can operate for the rest of your lives. The education you received from Westminster College separates you from others and provides training for you to develop the confidence, flexibility, and accuracy to succeed in an ever more complex world."
"It would be normal for most of you to look at today and think with pride and a degree of relief that you have completed your education," Hoey said. "In my opinion, you have only begun. The fact is you have the most challenging periods of your life ahead of you. Peter, in the book of Hebrews issues this challenge, Let us run the race that is before us and never give up.' May God bless you as you run the race."
"Most of my life I have worked surrounded by books, so I have chosen to speak with you briefly about reading and the pleasure that can be gotten from books," Kocher said. "Books , these things you hold in your hand. They keep quiet. They do not suddenly dissolve into wavy lines and snowstorm effects. They do not pause to deliver a message from their sponsor. Never retire from reading. The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who doesn't read them. I close with a popular advertisement , Get caught reading."
Westminster's commencement would not be complete without recognizing its faculty.
Distinguished Faculty Award
Dr. Elizabeth Ford, professor of English since 1989, was awarded the Distinguished Faculty Award. Ford is co-author (along with Dr. Deborah Mitchell, associate professor of English and public relations,) of Do You Really Need Those Glasses? The book, which is published by McFarland Publishing, examines the evolution of the makeover genre in American film. Ford earned her undergraduate and master's degrees from Youngstown State University, and her Ph.D. from Kent State University.
The Distinguished Faculty Award is given to the faculty member who has, over a sustained period of time, demonstrated characteristics of the most outstanding faculty , intellectual vitality, effective communication skills, the ability to motivate of inspire, compassion and concern for student success, collegiality, and leadership.
Three Professors Honored with Emeriti Status
Dr. Philip Fawley, professor of biology since 1972, Ford, and Kipley Haas, professor of physical education since 1970, were awarded emeriti status.
Senior class speaker Sandra Edmiston, an English major from New Wilmington, spoke about Moving on to Keep Things Whole.' "As we graduate here, let us not be afraid of today's problems, and tomorrow's work to address them. The foundation of every state is the education, but also the action, the caring, and the inspiration of its youth," she said.
Forty Westminster College students are included in the 2006 edition of Who's Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges.
The students are chosen on the basis of their academic achievement, service to the community, leadership in extracurricular activities, and potential for continued success.
The Westminster students join an elite group of students from more than 2,300 institutions of higher learning in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and several foreign nations.
Outstanding students have been honored in the annual directory since it was first published in 1934.
Tony Danza, one of America's most popular performers, will kick off the Westminster College Celebrity Series Saturday, Sept. 27, at 8 p.m. in Orr Auditorium.
Dr. Timothy W. Schenz, a 1968 Westminster College graduate, recently won the Outstanding Researcher Award from Abbott Laboratories, and donated his $5,000 prize to the H. Dewey DeWitt Scholarship Fund in memory of Westminster Professor Emeritus Percy Warrick.
Fifteen Westminster College students are studying in France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Japan, Spain, Pittsburgh, Washington, D.C. and on the ocean during the fall semester.
Dr. Russell Martin, Westminster associate professor of history, will discuss "Dowry Diplomacy in Moscovy" at Faculty Forum Wednesday, Oct. 4, at 11:40 a.m. in the Sebastian Mueller Theater in the McKelvey Campus Center.
Westminster College juniors Sheila Barnhart, a music performance major, and Amber Kunder, a music education and elementary education major, will present a recital Monday, April 30, at 7:30 p.m. in Wallace Memorial Chapel.
Several students have been added to the Fall 2007 Dean's List at Westminster College.
David Dado, a Westminster College senior biology major, received an undergraduate research grant from Westminster's Drinko Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning.
Westminster College will participate in Global Youth Service Day April 24-26 with a variety of community service projects.
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