By Sophie Foster
The annual George Washington’s Birthday Convocation invited distinguished visitors and members of the campus community to Decker Theatre in the Daniel Z. Gibson Center for the Arts on Friday, Feb. 24 to celebrate individuals who recently made significant contributions to Washington College.
President of the College Dr. Mike Sosulski opened the event with praise for the “richly deserving honorees” being recognized with this “long-standing, wonderful WC tradition.”
“There is such a wonderful spirit around this community, and one way that I most often see that reflected back is through service to others,” President Sosulski said. “We’re fortunate to study, to work, and to learn in an environment that places a high value on that community, and kindness.”
President of the Student Government Association senior Alex May also delivered remarks, sharing gratitude for dedicated professors, a thriving student body, and opportunities presented by the College to learn both inside and outside of the classroom.
“As I reflect on my time as president of the student government association, I am left with feelings of gratitude,” May said. “It is bittersweet to end this position, but I am excited to see what the next team accomplishes…The classes of 2024, 2025, and 2026 have some amazing and passionate leaders, and I am proud to say that WC is being left in awesome hands.”
The third and final welcoming statement was given by Chair of the Board of Visitors and Governors Stephen T. Golding ’72 P’05, who reflected on the value of this event being able to be held in person.
“This event is always cause for celebration, and restoring the in-person version of convocation certainly puts an exclamation point on this afternoon,” Golding said. “Today’s award winners represent a sampling of how the College stayed strong despite the never-ending challenges presented over the last few years. In the face of these challenges, this community found ways to rise to the occasion and even change for the better. That was no accident.”
Following the opening commentary, the presentation of awards started. First, Provost and Dean Dr. Michael Harvey stated acknowledgement of faculty and staff reaching prominent anniversaries with the College for the WC Employee Years of Service Recognition. Notable anniversaries included Dr. Michael Connaughton and Dr. Austin Lobo, who have been with the College for 25 years, and Dr. Sarah Feyerherm, who has spent 30 years at WC.
The first individual award presented was the Cromwell Award for Innovation in Teaching, which is given to a professor who made substantial advancements to learning pedagogy and curriculum development.
This time, the award was given to Chair of Mathematics and Computer Science and Associate Professor of Mathematics Dr. Dylan Poulsen in recognition of his specifications-based grading system. This system states learning objectives clearly and bases students’ grades on demonstrated understanding of them. If said understanding is not demonstrated, students are given feedback and additional opportunities to learn until they understand the concept.
“This shifts the focus from chasing points to seeking deep understanding of the course material,” Provost Harvey said. “Poulsen enjoys designing courses that create a collaborative learning environment where students feel safe and can grow and learn.”
Following this award, presentations of service awards commenced. This consisted of both the Joseph L. Holt Distinguished Service Award and the Alumni Service Award. The former was bestowed upon Dr. Aaron Lampman, Lisa Moody, Elizabeth Seidel, Amy Sine, and Sharon Sledge. The latter was granted to Eleanor Shriver Magee ’93.
Next, the President’s Medal was awarded to President of the Mid-Shore Community Foundation W.W. “Buck” Duncan and Director of Kent County Local Management Board Rosemary Ramsey Granillo.
The final recognition of the afternoon was given to President of Spalding University Tori Murden McClure. President Sosulski conferred an honorary degree of laws to McClure, noting that she “embodies the values of a WC liberal arts education and those that the NCAA strives to instill in all student-athletes.”
This degree was given to McClure following the fiftieth anniversary of Title IX, and the College noted her prominent contributions to the advancement of women in athletics as the first woman and first American to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean.
Convocation concluded with an address from McClure, closing remarks from President Sosulski, the singing of the alma mater, a benediction from Reverend Deacon Lobo, and the academic recession led by Marshal Richard DeProspo.
Photo by Olivia Long
Photo Caption: President of the College Dr. Mike Sosulski delivered several remarks during Convocation.