Despite a threat of rain looming over the region Sunday, Mary Baldwin University celebrated its 171st Commencement with a spirited — and dry — on-campus celebration.
Virginia Circuit Court Judge and Mary Baldwin alumna Pamela Shell Baskervill ’75 delivered the keynote address, titled, “Hearts on Fire,” harkening back to the graduates’ freshman orientation theme, advising graduates to find their driving force, and face their fears.
“There is something deep inside each of us that allows us to stand for those things without which humankind cannot survive,” Baskervill said. “Love that conquers hate, peace that triumphs over conflict, and justice that is more powerful than greed. When your heart is on fire, you leave something positive of yourself every time you meet another person.”
Mary Baldwin President Pamela Fox also referenced the Class of 2013 theme in her remarks.
“Your flame burns this morning as united graduates of Mary Baldwin University,” she said.
Another memorable moment occurred during the conferring of the degrees when a member of the Communication, Marketing, and Public Affairs staff facilitated a surprise video link between U.S. Army Sgt. Josh Jones, stationed in Afghanistan, who wanted to see his sister, Dana Jones, of Waynesboro, walk across Page Terrace to receive her diploma.
The college observed another time-honored tradition during the ceremony — awarding special honors to select graduates. The 2012–13 Martha Stackhouse Grafton Award was given to Katherine Susan Epifanio, the Outstanding MBU Online Graduate Award went to Mary Heishman, the Outstanding Graduate Teacher Education Program Award was bestowed upon Betsy Ameen, and the Ariel Award for Outstanding Program Service and Leadership was given to Brian Maxwell. This year’s Algernon Sydney Sullivan Student Award winner is Britney Diane Lambert while the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Non-Student Award was given, posthumously, to the late Brenda Bryant, longtime administrator, who passed away in August.
In memory of Associate Professor of Spanish Ivy Arbulu, who died Monday after a long and courageous battle with leukemia, faculty and administrators on the dais wore a white carnation on their robes.
Among the college’s undergraduates who earned their degrees Sunday were 105 women in the residential college and 157 members of the co-ed MBU Online Program.