In Review: MBU’s 182nd Commencement Ceremonies

Mary Baldwin’s 182nd Commencement Ceremonies celebrated the accomplishments of more than 400 graduates across both undergraduate and graduate programs.

Undergrad Commencement 2023

Mary Baldwin’s 182nd Commencement ceremonies were an inspiring series of events, replete with awards, special recognition, and pride for each and every graduate from all of MBU’s undergraduate and graduate programs.

The Saturday ceremony, moved to Cameron Hall at Virginia Military Institute (VMI) for inclement weather, celebrated the accomplishments of MBU’s graduate students, including those from the Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences, the Shakespeare and Performance Program, and the Palmer College of Professional Studies graduate programs in Applied Behavior Analysis, higher education, education, arts in teaching, and business administration.

On Sunday, graduates of MBU’s undergraduate programs convened for the traditional Commencement ceremony on Page Terrace. The weather stayed pleasant and clear while supporters covered Hunt Hill with blankets and chairs in preparation for the celebration.

Graduate Ceremony

Mary Baldwin’s graduate Commencement ceremony, held at VMI on  May 18, featured a plethora of awards and some impressive addresses from faculty and students. 

Ronan Melomo, a graduate of Shakespeare and Performance’s master of fine arts (MFA) program, delivered the student address. An excerpt: “Look around at all of your friends, all of the teachers, and all of the strangers here with you. They made it too, and like you they’re holding on. And when you’re ready, before you jump! Look ahead. Look at the wide plain of possibility stretching out ahead of you. Don’t try to find your landing! Plans are, after all, our little jokes for the gods. Instead, enjoy the horizon. Hold onto this threshold and savor the possibility ahead of you. Savor the effort behind you. Savor the success and community all around you. And when you’ve had your fill, or when you can’t bear the suspense anymore, let go.”

Graduate Ceremony Awards

Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences

Nancy Morse Evans Leadership Award: Awarded to 

Linda Seestedt-Stanford Award: Awarded to  

Outstanding Master of Healthcare Administration Graduate Award 

Outstanding Master of Science in Physician Assistant Graduate Award 

Shakespeare and Performance

The Ariel Award For Outstanding Program Service And Leadership

Andrew J. Gurr Thesis Award 

Ralph Alan Cohen Ampersand Award 

Palmer College of Professional Studies

The School Of Education Outstanding Graduate Student Award

The SR+ Graduate Award In Applied Behavior Analysis

The Susan Nolan Palmer Outstanding MBA Apex Project Award

Undergraduate Ceremony

The undergraduate Commencement ceremony, held at its traditional locale on MBU’s historic campus, brimmed with excitement from faculty, staff, and guests for the accomplishment of every graduate. In addition to speeches from President Jeff Stein, Provost Paul Menzer, Chaplain Katie Low, and other members of the Mary Baldwin executive staff, graduate Gerardo Escalera Cardoso delivered the student address.

An excerpt from Escalera Cardoso’s remarks, delivered in Spanish as part of a moving address to the large number of graduates and attendees who call English their second language: 

“E igualmente quiero incluir a todos los familiares y seres queridos que tal vez no entiendan inglés. Creo que es imporante agradecerles y darles las gracias, en especial a mis padres por todos los sacrificios que han hecho por mi y mi familia en general por siempre apoyarme en todos mis esfuerzos.”

[And I also want to include all the family and loved ones who sometimes do not understand English. I believe that they are very appreciative and give their thanks, especially to my father for all the sacrifices that he has made for me and my family in general for always supporting me in all my efforts.]

Undergraduate Ceremony Awards

Senior Honors List 

Phi Beta Kappa 

Martha S. Grafton Award: Recognizes a graduating senior who has been a full-time Mary Baldwin University student for at least three years and has the highest grade point average in the graduating class. 

Outstanding School of Education Undergraduate Award  

Jerry Venn Undergraduate Award in Applied Behavior Analysis & Autism Studies

MBU Online Legacy Award

 Online Outstanding Graduate Award 

The Algernon Sydney Sullivan Awards: Awarded to individuals who demonstrate nobility of character and unselfish service to the broad community. This year, MBU recognized a graduating senior and a community member with the Sullivan Award:

Closing Remarks

In the closing remarks at his first undergraduate Commencement ceremony, President Jeff Stein sought to inspire graduates:

“You are more ready than you know.  Throughout your time at MBU,  you’ve become experts at adaptation, change, and traversing the hills and valleys of life. And no matter whether you ALREADY have a plan for next year or are less sure of what’s next, you don’t have to know it all, you have experience climbing hills.”

President Jeff Stein

Undergraduate Ceremony Gallery

Graduate Ceremony Gallery