Mary Baldwin University Commencement Preview

Mary Baldwin is prepared to host its 182nd Commencement Ceremonies on Saturday and Sunday, May 18 and 19.

Mary Baldwin University is gearing up for its upcoming Commencement ceremonies, a time of celebration and reflection for the graduating class. This year, the university is proud to announce two distinguished student speakers who will share their experiences and insights during the ceremonies on Saturday, May 18, and Sunday, May 19. 

These Commencement ceremonies also represent Dr. Jeff Stein’s first as president of the university. Stein will preside over both ceremonies and provide closing remarks as well as a charge to all graduates.

Commencement Facts

Approximately 280 undergraduates will participate in this year’s ceremony, marking the end of their academic journey at MBU and the beginning of their next chapter. Additionally, more than 150 graduate students are set to receive their degrees. Here are some fun facts about the Class of 2024:

Youngest Graduate: 17 (there are two 17 year-old undergraduate students) 

Oldest Graduate: 63 (a graduate student). MBU has a proud history of providing continuing education for adult learners. To that end, there are 35 students aged 40 and over receiving their undergraduate degrees this year.

Most Common Class of 2024 First Name: Tie between Jessica (seven students) and Madison (seven students)

Most Popular Undergraduate Major: Psychology, with 42 total students

Student Speakers

Sunday Ceremony: Gerardo Escalera Cardoso

Gerardo Escalera Cardoso, from Harrisonburg, is set to graduate with a bachelor of arts in political science and economics. Throughout his time at MBU, Escalera Cardoso has been deeply involved in Quest, an interfaith dialogue initiative that promotes community building and understanding among students. His commitment to this cause is a testament to his belief in the power of conversation and empathy to bridge diverse perspectives.

Escalera Cardoso’s academic journey reached a high point with his senior thesis, titled “When Logic Trumped Anger.” This work not only garnered him a presentation slot at the prestigious 2023 Pi Sigma Alpha Undergraduate Research Conference but also earned publication in their esteemed journal. 

As he looks forward to starting law school at the University of Richmond in the fall of 2024, Escalera Cardoso attributes his success to the critical reasoning, writing, and interpersonal skills he developed at MBU. His parting advice to incoming students is to engage actively in extracurricular activities, as they are crucial for enhancing both academic and personal growth.

Saturday Ceremony: Ronan Melomo

Ronan Melomo is another exemplary student set to address the graduating class, as he earns his master of fine arts (MFA) from the Shakespeare and Performance program. Melomo’s  journey through this rigorous program has equipped him with not only advanced theatrical skills, but also a nuanced understanding of Shakespearean literature and performance. His insights are expected to inspire fellow graduates and guests alike, drawing from his rich experiences at MBU.

Celebrating Through Song

Music plays a central role in the Commencement ceremonies at MBU. This year, the undergraduate event will feature performances by senior music majors and members of the MBU Choir. The program includes:

Preparing for Commencement 

College graduation can be a hectic event for graduates and their families alike. This year, MBU Commencement celebrants have some additional resources to rely on produced by the Office of Integrated Communications, including:

Mary Baldwin University is excited to welcome graduates and their families to its beautiful, historic campus for this weekend of success and celebration! If you still have questions, please visit the Commencement FAQ page.