Ursinus College graduated some 400 students earning Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees, at its 138th Commencement May 14 on the campus front lawn. The graduates included 19 non-traditional students earning Bachelor of Business Administration degrees. A Baccalaureate service was held May 13 in Bomberger Auditorium.
The Baccalaureate speaker, the Rev. Dr. Shawn Zambrows, director and pastor of the Baptist Foundation at Purdue University, received an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree during Saturday’s Commencement ceremonies. Also, choral composer, musician and conductor Alice Parker, whose anthems were performed during the Baccalaureate service, received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters at the commencement.
The Hon. Kimberly Guadagno, Ursinus Class of 1980, who is currently the Lt. Gov. of The State of New Jersey, warmly addressed the graduates. She received an honorary Doctor of Laws. (Read full text of commencement address)
“You’ve got to be able to write your life’s plan in pencil,” she advised, telling the Class of 2011 that her own parents would not have imagined she would be the first female Sheriff of Monmouth County in New Jersey, or the first Lt. Gov. of the state of New Jersey.”You’ve got to have a plan A and a plan B,” she said.
Parents might wonder,” said Lt. Gov. Guadagno, “Did we do the right thing by sending you to a four-year, liberal arts college in Collegeville, Pa.? I’m here to talk to the parents and tell you, ‘Rest easy, moms and dads.’ . . . I can assure you that but for my Ursinus College education, I would not be standing before you as the Lt. Gov. in a state that I love, doing the things that I love. So rest easy, parents, because Ursinus College has served me and continues to serve me well.” She said her diploma is on the wall of her office in the Trenton, N.J. statehouse, and she looks at it every day.
Lt. Gov. Guadagno noted that when she entered Ursinus in 1976 there were no coeducational residence halls, cell phones or computers. “I lived in Paisley Hall when the Dean of Students still lived in Paisley Hall with us,” she said. She recalled that when she ran for Sheriff, she was told not to wear pink, because “sheriffs don’t wear pink. That was the first time in my life someone told me I couldn’t be whatever I wanted to be.” She donned a pink mortarboard to make the point that, “It doesn’t matter what your gender is, what your color is, what your socio-economic background is, because you have been raised for the last four years to wear the color pink if you want to wear the color pink.”
The former honors politics major who was in the pre-law program, was elected New Jersey’s first Lieutenant Governor in November 2009. She has been a lawyer for more than 28 years and began her career in public service as a federal prosecutor with the Organized Crime & Racketeering Strike Force in Brooklyn, N.Y. She was elected the 75th Sheriff of Monmouth County in 2007, the first woman elected as sheriff in that county’s history, managing a 650-member law enforcement agency. Lt. Gov. Guadagno received her law degree from American University’s Washington College of Law.
Ursinus President John E. F. Corson conferred the degrees. He thanked the alumni who are Class flag bearers, and announced three faculty awards:
The H. Lloyd Jones Award, established in honor of H. Lloyd Jones Jr., professor of English from 1947 to 1988, awarded to a faculty member for distinguished advising and mentoring: to Associate Professor Politics Dr. Rebecca Evans;
The Lindback Award given for distinguished teaching: to Associate Professor of Biology Beth Bailey;
The Laughlin Professional Achievement Award endowed by Henry P. Laughlin M.D. 1938 for a faculty member who has made significant contributions to scholarship: to Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religion Nathan Rein.
Corson congratulated three retiring faculty, Artist-in-Residence and Visiting Assistant Professor of Art Donald Camp, Professor of Mathematics Dr. Roger Coleman and Professor of Media and Communication Studies Jeanine Czubaroff, and also noted that the evening division graduating class is the last for Ursinus.
Corson took office last Jul,y 1, upon the late President Strassburger’s retirement. He will end his term this June 30 as President-elect Bobby Fong takes office. “Thank you for accepting me so graciously,” he said, before receiving a rousing standing ovation. — W.G.