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Lebanon Valley College Graduates 370 Students at 144th Commencement
05.11.13 |

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Lebanon Valley College awarded diplomas May 11 to 370 graduates, who received their degrees in the LVC Gymnasium. The 290 graduating seniors were joined by 26 doctor of physical therapy candidates, 31 master's degree candidates, and 23 students who graduated in December 2012 and have now formally received their degrees.

Watch a the video of Lebanon Valley College's 144th Commencement at www.lvc.edu/commencement13video.

View photos from the event at www.lvc.edu/commencement-facebook.

The Commencement speaker was Dr. Philip Benesch of Malvern, associate professor of political science and pre-law advisor at LVC. Benesch encouraged graduates to take hold of the courage that is instilled by a liberal arts education—courage in inquiry, courage in self-transformation, and political courage. He spoke at Commencement because last year he was honored at the ceremony with the College’s top teaching honor for a full-time faculty member, The Thomas Rhys Vickroy Award.

“We should embolden [students] to question their teachers and to endeavor to contribute to a discipline that remains open to growth and open to innovation,” Benesch said. “This requires an intellectually courageous approach by the student for which a liberal-arts education…provides an ideal preparation… A liberal arts education must enhance the independent capacity of each student to situate him or herself in the world, transforming it while performing within it… Democracy necessitates the education of each citizen, so that he or she may play a part in checking the power of leaders and evaluating the multiple viewpoints available. It is here that a liberal art education is so useful.”

Dr. Anderson Marsh, associate professor of chemistry, was named this year’s Vickroy Award winner. Marsh, who has been awarded more than $250,000 in grants from the National Science Foundation, was commended for his mentorship of LVC students. Since joining the faculty in 2005, he has worked with 23 students on a wide variety of research projects; has published 11 peer-reviewed papers with 20 student co-authors; and authored or co-authored 62 presentations at national and regional conferences—52 of which were presented by his students. Twelve of Marsh’s research students have moved on to Ph.D. programs at top graduate schools across the country.

Dr. Michael Green, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty, noted that Marsh’s teaching innovations in student-centered learning strategy has resulted in exceptional student achievement on a standardized Chemistry Major Field Test. Over the past five years, the average LVC student score on the physical chemistry portion of the test has been at the 85th percentile nationally—“an outstanding score for this area of chemistry.” Marsh serves as chair of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Section of the American Chemical Society and was recently appointed as a member of the American Chemical Society—Division of Chemical Education’s Examinations Institute. The American Chemical Society selected Marsh for the 2013 E. Emmet Reid Award as the top college chemistry professor in the mid-Atlantic region, which will be presented at their annual conference May 16 in Philadelphia.

The top student award, the H. Anthony Neidig Award, went to Margaret Susana McLean, a biology major from Stevensville, Md. McLean’s advisor, Dr. Deanna Dodson, wrote that “in my 18 years as a professor, I can say without reservation that she is one of the three most intellectually gifted students I have encountered. She is extremely quick to understand new concepts and synthesize them into her existing knowledge base. She always makes me think, and that is in my opinion, an excellent indicator of future potential as a researcher and scientist.”

McLean graduates with a 3.93 overall GPA and has received numerous scholarships and awards for her academic excellence. She studied abroad in Australia, and was a research intern at Penn State College of Medicine, in addition to numerous research projects completed with Lebanon Valley faculty members. She was named to the biology national honor society and competes as a member and former captain of the LVC track and field team. McLean plans to pursue a Ph.D. in neuroscience after graduation.

Dr. Seth Kensinger of Manheim, an adjunct instructor who joined LVC in 1996, won the Nevelyn J. Knisley Award, which goes to part-time and adjunct members of the College faculty. Kensinger teaches in the Manheim School District and teaches classes in chemistry, secondary education, and the Master of Science Education Program at Lebanon Valley. According to Dr. Green, “His colleagues in the chemistry, secondary education, and MSE programs have witnessed his teaching expertise first hand. Dr. Owen Moe has commented that his students were among the best prepared that the department had seen…and he has established positive, upbeat relationships with his students on campus. His student evaluations are consistently strong, and students in the MSE Program often specifically request, or take a course if he is the professor.”

Dr. Jeffery Lovell of Myerstown, assistant professor of music, was honored with the Educator of the Year Award, which is voted on by the students. Student Government president Mike Mellon presented the award, saying that Lovell is “known for his passion, both for music and for teaching, and for his ability to bring out the most in his students, whether it be in the classroom or behind the music stand.” A student nominator wrote that “Blair Music Center has become Lovell’s second home. He has literally spent hundreds of extra hours not only instructing, but refining his students’ skills, pouring out his heart, and tirelessly pushing students to achieve more than they thought possible.”


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