By Degrees

UMW Graduates Class of 2012 in 101st Commencement

UMW awarded more than 960 bachelor’s degrees and more than 220 master’s degrees during the 101st UMW Commencement, May 11 and 12. Photos by Norm Shafer.

A beautiful May morning on Ball Circle can bring commencement memories to many Mary Washington alumni and put a spring in the step of the day’s class of graduates.

Saturday, May 12, was such a day for the Class of 2012, with proud families looking on, beloved faculty on the dais, and President Richard V. Hurley shaking the hand of each scholar as he awarded the diplomas.

This year, the man who coined the term “Millennial Generation” spoke at Saturday morning’s undergraduate commencement ceremony. Historian and best-selling author Neil Howe talked about the vast differences between the robed graduates and their parents. Considered an expert on the generations, he told the Millennial

Historian and author Neil Howe

Generation graduates that they’ll never be like their Baby Boomer and Gen X parents – and that they are and will be equipped with everything they’ll need to cope with the challenges that surely will arise in their lifetimes.

The author of Millennials Rising told the graduates, “That is [your] destiny, to rescue this country from the mess to which we, the older generations, have contributed – perhaps a bit more than we ever intended – and in so doing to become a great generation indeed.” [Read more of Howe’s talk in Closing Column.]

Dean of Student Life Cedric Rucker ’81 helps graduates prepare for Saturday’s undergraduate ceremony.

Shawn Boyer, founder and chief executive officer of, spoke at the University of Mary Washington graduate commencement ceremony on Friday, May 11, at the William M. Anderson Center. The 2008 National Small Business Person of the Year said that creating a personal statement based on core values has helped him lead a more fulfilling life. He recommended that graduates define their own core values, set goals, and choose positive peers.