Convocation Kicks Off New Year

Foreign policy expert and President of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Robert Gallucci accepts his honorary Doctorate of Letters.
By Maegan Clearwood
News Editor

Although the rendition of Old Washington, Washington College’s official song, was a bit off-key, award recipients at this year’s Fall Convocation were proof of the value of a liberal arts education.
This year’s ceremony was held on Sept. 1 at 4 p.m. in Decker Theater. The ceremony not only welcomed new and returning students to campus for the fall semester, it honored members of the WC community who have excelled in academics, public service, and leadership.

Music department chair Garry Clarke ’88 led the academic procession, and Dennis Dillman led the invocation.

President Mitchel Reiss then welcomed the Board of Visitors and Governors, faculty, staff, students, guests, and the class of 2015 to campus.

“We have survived an earthquake and hurricane in the course of one week, so we have much to be thankful for this day,” Reiss said.

Senior Student Government Association President Andrew Antonio then greeted attendees on behalf of the students.

Treasurer of the Board of Visitors and Governors Geoffrey Rogers, ’80, followed with a few words for the freshman class.

“I know, in just a few days, you’ll feel at home here,” he said. “Explore the town, attend events, seek out fellow students, explore uncharted territory.”

Reiss then announced the recipiants of the Alumni Participation Awards.

The Class of 2010 received the Golden Goose Award for the highest percentage of participation among graduates of the last decade. The Class of 2003 earned the Victory Bell Award for the largest dollar amount raised among graduates of the last decade.

The Class of 1964 received the William Smith Trophy for a 66 percent rate of participation, the highest among graduates prior to their 50th reunion.

The Class of 1982 won the George Washington Trophy for the largest total gift to WC.

Alumni Board Chair Timothy Reath ‘96 presented the Alumni Horizon Ribbon to Rebecca Corbin Loree ‘00 “in recognition of her early success in a male-dominated business world and successful launch of her own consulting firm.”

Corbin Loree was the youngest female Vice President at Thomas Financial in Manhattan before founding research and advisory firm Corbin Perception Group.

Interim Provost and Dean John Taylor then announced the recipients of various academic honors.

Jeffrey Dale Sullivan earned the First-Year Scholarship Medal in recognition of having the highest academic average among freshmen.

The Alumni Medal went to Michael Ryan Vanaskie, the sophomore with the highest academic average.

Jesse Schaefer, James Schelberg, and Courtney Burton tied for the Visitors and Governors Medal, awarded to the junior or juniors with the highest academic average.

Seniors Jesse Schaefer, Stephan Jordan, Meghan Tait, and Beverly Frimpong were awarded scholarships from the Middendorf Foundation for academic excellence and leadership skills.

Alpha Chi Omega and Kappa Sigma won the Interfraternity-Panhellenic Council Awards for having the greatest average GPA among campus fraternities and sororities last year.

Reiss then awarded two honorary degrees in recognition of service and leadership to Robert Galluci and Nancy Grasmick.

Grasmick received an honorary Doctor of Public Service Degree for her extensive work with the Maryland Public School System.

“I would say Chestertown is the most beautiful town in the United States,” she said. “It is a place of tranquility, learning, and has a reputation for excellence.”

Galluci was given an honorary Doctor of Letters for his past influence in international politics and current presidency of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, an organization that supports human rights and services across the globe. He spoke to current WC students in his speech:

“In a sense you are already shaping what this world will become,” she said. “[We each] have the power to change ourselves, society, and the future.”

Reiss ended the ceremony with a few closing remarks and led everyone in a rendition of the alma mater before award recipients and attendees mingled in the lobby.

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