The black-gowned columns marched under joyful campanile bells and through the strains of Pomp and Circumstance, with bagpipes skirling at the rear.
The mingled sounds of undergraduate commencement morning, May 11, were all the more delightful because of one the Class of 2013 didn’t hear – thunder.
A storm the night before had rinsed the Carmen Culpeper Chappell Centennial Campanile, Campus Walk, and the commencement stage in Ball Circle. The Eagle Pipe Band had rain gear at the ready, and some degree candidates and family members carried umbrellas to fend off a predicted morning soaking.
But when Acting Provost Ian Newbould took the stage to welcome those gathered, he commented on the blue sky. The crowd let loose a cheer.
Nothing would dampen this day.
President Richard V. Hurley set the tone of the morning, praising graduates for their intelligence, energy, creativity, integrity, and commitment. He suggested that they express appreciation for the family members who saw them through their educational journey, and the Class of 2013 stood to applaud.
Commencement speaker Steve Pemberton, an advocate for children, author, and chief diversity officer for Walgreens, outlined a challenging duty for the graduates.
“Every generation has a task, a charge with which they have been entrusted. Yours is this: to remind America what has made her great. And you are not too young or inexperienced to do it. You, the Mary Washington Class of 2013, are uniquely qualified to take on this task” because of the innovation, courage, and integrity instilled at UMW.
Not all of Pemberton’s talk was so momentous. Among his lighter advice:
• Make your bed every day. “Because there are going to be some days when that is the best you do.”
• Take your grandparents or other elders to lunch, and listen to them. Then pick up the tab.
• Accept that you might have to do humble, unglamorous work while establishing a career, and give it your best anyway. All successful people, he said, have done things they didn’t want to do on the way to getting where they are.
Remember that you came into the world as an inheritor of something, but you will most be measured by that which you dare to build. -STEVE PEMBERTON
Graduates should respect the achievements of their forebears but not limit themselves to working within established boundaries. “Remember that you came into the world as an inheritor of something,” Pemberton said, “but you will most be measured by that which you dare to build.”
Undergraduates weren’t the only ones to receive UMW degrees that weekend. On Friday, May 10, master’s candidates from the College of Education and College of Business gathered at the Anderson Center to receive their degrees and hear comments from Dr. William “Bill” Cleveland Bosher Jr., public policy expert and former Virginia superintendent of education.
He urged graduates to hold onto their passion and enthusiasm as they continue in their chosen paths.
“I would say to those of you today with new skills and new knowledge: The day that you cease to be excited about young people, I don’t want you teaching mine,” Bosher said. “The day that you cease to be excited about your business or your company or what you sell or what you provide as a service, I don’t want to buy it. Because part of this is not just being prepared with new skills and knowledge, but part of it is the excitement that you have.”
At both commencements, joy and handshakes came with a tear or two. But if the new graduates were sad to leave a place where they’d challenged their intellects, forged friendships, and shaped their futures, they were also elated by their accomplishments.
Whatever comes next, the University of Mary Washington Class of 2013 is ready.
BY THE NUMBERS
|The University of Mary Washington awarded these degrees in May:484 bachelor of science
418 bachelor of arts
111 master of education
85 master of business administration
63 bachelor of professional studies
61 bachelor of liberal studies
34 master of science in elementary education
15 master of science in management information systems
2 master of business administration/master of science in management
|Four faculty and an administrator received emeritus status:Roy F. Gratz, distinguished professor emeritus of chemistry
Margaret Ann Mi, professor emerita of marketing
Denis Nissim-Sabat, professor emeritus of psychology
Larry W. Penwell, professor emeritus of management and philosophy
Meta Robinson Braymer, vice president emerita of economic development
and regional engagement