Mary Baldwin University Sizzles and Celebrates During Its 177th Commencement

May 19, 2019

Surrounded by signature neoclassical architecture and under a blazing sun, the MBU family bid farewell to 420 members of the Class of 2019 Sunday on Page Terrace during the university’s 177th Commencement exercises.

“To each of you … this commencement captures the challenges you have overcome,” said MBU President Pamela R. Fox, in her welcome to graduates and families and friends gathered on the hillside in front of Lyda B. Hunt Dining Hall. “Class of 2019, congratulations. This is your day.”

Marketing strategy consultant and MBU alumna Dorie Clark ’97 delivered the keynote address, sharing points of wisdom illustrated with personal anecdotes, including: the importance of networking, location matters, knowing who to listen to, and remembering that no learning is done in vain.

“It is my hope that as you move forward after today into your adventures that you might be able to call upon them,” Clark said.

Clark, author of Entrepreneurial You and frequent contributor to the Harvard Business Review, consults and speaks for clients including Google, Microsoft, and the World Bank. She attended MBU’s Program for the Exceptionally Gifted for two years before graduating from Smith College.

“Today — graduation day — is the day you celebrate all your accomplishments,” Clark told the crowd. “Tomorrow is the day you begin to craft the person that you want to become in the future.”

Commencement 2019 marks the first-ever awarding of the master of healthcare administration and the master of science higher education. MBU awarded 227 undergraduate degrees to residential and online students, and 193 graduate degrees in education, business, health sciences, and Shakespeare and Performance.

In ceremonies on Saturday, individual students also earned top honors that garnered them a mention at Sunday’s ceremony.

One of the highest honors that MBU bestows, the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award student award was given to Qadira K. Muhammad and the non-student award to Dorie Clark ’97, recognizing the recipients’ excellence of character and humanitarian service.

Inductees into Phi Beta Kappa — the nation’s most prestigious academic honor society — were Caroline Fresch, Sarah Lawson, Qadira Muhammad, Faith Parker, and William Rinaldo.

There was a two-way tie for the Martha Stackhouse Grafton Award, which is given to the graduate with the highest cumulative grade point average (GPA). Award winners were Katriel Cho and Talula Mays, who both completed their degree with a 4.0 GPA.

The MBU Online Outstanding Graduate was Kevin Griffith.

MBU’s Shakespeare and Performance program gave the Ariel Award for Outstanding Program Service and Leadership to Claire Wittman. The program’s Andrew Gurr Award for Outstanding Thesis went to Heron Kennedy.

The College of Education recognized Jennifer Landes with the Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award and Quaneilia “Shay” Carter with the Outstanding Graduate Student Award.

There was also a tie for the Susan Nolan Palmer Outstanding MBA Student Award. Both Amy Beach and Rachel Laux were honored.

Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences bestowed the Nancy Morse Evans Leadership Award on physical therapy graduate Emmy Kincaid Blacka; occupational therapy student Ruthanne Rowane; and bachelor of science in nursing graduate Katherine E. Brown. The Linda Seestedt-Stanford Leadership Awards went to physical therapy graduate Caitlin Michele Smith, occupational therapy graduate Brighid Moira Rebolledo, and physician assistant graduate Jennifer Chambers Baulieu. The inaugural Master of Healthcare Administration Graduate of the Year was Karen Blakemore, and the Physician Assistant Student of the Year was Keeley Mary-Paige Cook.

“Today — graduation day — is the day you celebrate all your accomplishments. Tomorrow is the day you begin to craft the person that you want to become in the future.”
Dorie Clark ’97