By Emma Way
Elm Staff Writer
Every year on George Washington’s birthday, the Washington College community comes together for the annual spring Convocation. Here academics, leadership, and service are all commended as a way to celebrate the College’s namesake’s birthday.
Louis Freeh, former director of the FBI, was among many honorees at the event. In his speech, he spoke to the community about the lessons he learned about honesty and serving the country through his experiences as a father, a lawyer, and a FBI director.
The event formally commenced with the singing of the National Anthem by Wacappella, WC’s a cappella group, followed by a warm welcome from WC President Mitchell Reiss and Student Government Association President senior Zac Pandl.
Employees were the first to receive recognition and congratulations for the commitment and legacy they have made at WC.
“Washington left [a legacy of] leadership as an example to all. We have a number of people who are creating their own legacies at WC where we have a tradition of recognizing employees for continued years of service,” President Reiss said.
Exceptional service was the criterion for the next batch of awards given out by President Reiss. Grounds and Landscape Manager Joseph L. Case, College Librarian Ruth C. Shoge, and Head of Circulation Cynthia G. Sutton were all given Distinguished Service Award Citations for their outstanding efforts to improve the WC community.
Next, alumnus Charles P. Covington ‘56 was presented with the Alumni Service Award by fellow alum Valarie A. Sheppard ’86. Covington has taken his economics degree and leadership skills from WC and given back to the College community and many other organizations.
Reiss next awarded the President’s Medal to Town Manager Bill S. Ingersoll, a long-time resident of Chestertown who has continued to serve the community selflessly. Following this award, the ceremony shifted more toward the students.
Students selected for induction in the Phi Beta Kappa Society, a national honor society, were recognized.
One of the 32 honorees, senior Ryan Bankert, said, “I learned about the society my freshman year and had my sights set on… [it] ever since. Becoming a member … is a great recognition for the work I’ve put into my classes.”
Freeh spoke after receiving the Honorary Degree Citation and the title Doctor of Laws. Because Freeh’s career has been mostly focused around law, he has been faced with seeking truth and establishing his personal moral courage.
Freeh was honored as Doctor of Laws because of his commitment to the truth.
After leaving his position of Director of the FBI in June 2001, Freeh focused on law. This past year he was hired to conduct a thorough investigation on the child sex-abuse scandal surrounding former Penn State Football Assistant Coach Jerry Sandusky.
Leadership, commitment, and service are just a few aspects of Freeh’s character which contributed to his success.
“I enjoyed the speaker. I thought he talked about really important qualities that would be really helpful for students,” said English Professor Crystal Kurzen.
Freshman Jessica Daunoras said, “Freeh had a lot of great points on developing a person’s character, which I found useful.”
Celebrating Washington’s birthday by recognizing community members and students who are exemplifying Washington’s character is a tradition at WC.
Another a tradition is the singing of the Alma Mater. The words of the College’s Alma Mater rang through the Decker Theatre as Wacappella lead the audience in song to close the event, “So Washington, Old Washington, Our Washington, we do adore.”