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Lebanon Valley College Graduates 523 Students at 145th Commencement
05.10.14 |
Marquis Bey '14
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Lebanon Valley College’s 145th Commencement Exercises May 10 graduated 523 students, who received their degrees in the LVC Gymnasium. The 416 graduating seniors were joined by 29 doctor of physical therapy candidates, 78 master’s degree candidates, and 31 students who graduated in December 2013 and have now formally received their degrees.

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Dr. Anderson Marsh, North Lebanon Township, associate professor of chemistry and director of the chemistry track for engineering at LVC, was the Commencement speaker. Marsh leaned on his chemistry expertise and paralled transition state theory (reactants moving along a pathway and transitioning on reaching an energy barrier) with the journey and transformation that students undergo during their four years of college. 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 have the capability to alter the pathway a reaction might take by adding a catalyst,” Marsh explained.” Like a catalyst, LVC has probably altered the pathway you have taken… You were first brought in to LVC—for many of you, you left your family and moved into a dorm. Even if you were a commuter you still shifted your routine and found a new place to call home during the day. In a sense you were bound here by classes and other commitments. Over time, bonds with your life prior to LVC were broken or altered—people you saw regularly during high school you no longer saw as regularly. Because of experiences both in and out of the classroom, beliefs you had may no longer be true for you. In some instances you may have strengthened your beliefs, but these are now your beliefs. At LVC you have been transformed into a different person, much like a catalyst transforms reactants into products.”

Dr. Matthew Sayers, Annville, assistant professor of religion, was named this year’s Vickroy Award winner. In addition to his teaching, Sayers has worked on a variety of co-curricular initiatives including the Sustained Interfaith Dialogues and the Doorways to Diversity Project. He has also organized and led two Spring Break study abroad experiences in London, and organized the North American Undergraduate Conference in Religion and Philosophy at the College this past March. His student evaluations consistently rank among the College’s highest for teaching excellence from both majors and non-majors.

Dr. Michael Green, vice president of academic affairs and dean of the faculty, described Sayers as “an educational innovator—a gifted, dedicated, and impactful teacher with a firm grasp of course design and effective teaching pedagogies, and a commitment to the continuous reevaluation and improvement of his teaching to enhance student learning.” A former student commented, “I have never encountered a professor who inspired me to delve into the material at hand in this way. He challenges students to look beyond the simple words on the page in front of them and to make intellectual connections between previously covered materials and real word scenarios.”

The top student award, the H. Anthony Neidig Award, went to Marquis Bey, a philosophy, American studies, and English triple major from Sharon Hill, Pa. Bey’s advisor, Dr. Catherine Romagnolo, wrote that “extraordinary energy, intelligence, and ability to pursue innovative lines of critical inquiry are remarkable and contagious. Marquis Bey is single-mindedly devoted to the pursuit of excellence.”

Bey graduates with a 3.8 overall GPA, has published two novels and varied works of short fiction, and has presented his scholarly work at conferences such as the North American Undergraduate Research Conference in Religion and Philosophy, the Annual GSA Leadership Summit Conference, and the Annual Association for the Study of African American Life and History Conference. He was presented the Agnes Boyle O’Donnell Literature Award and the Alice Evers Burtner Memorial Award for his leadership and integrity. He will enroll in a Ph.D. program at Cornell University this fall where he plans to study African American literature, theory, and culture.

Rabbi Paula Reimers of Lebanon, an adjunct instructor of religion who joined LVC in 2006, won the Nevelyn J. Knisley Award, which goes to part-time and adjunct members of the College faculty. Reimers began teaching at the College shortly after her appointment to the leadership of Congregation Beth Israel in 2006. She has been a panelist with the Sustained Interfaith Dialogues, a facilitator of two sessions during the Symposium on Inclusive Excellence on Martin Luther King Jr. Day this past January, and hosted the College’s Woodrow Wilson Visiting Scholar in her class during the fall semester.

Dr. Green commended Reimers as an instructor who “routinely goes above and beyond her teaching responsibilities to enhance the educational experiences of our students. She uses her extensive knowledge of Jewish traditions and scripture to develop highly innovative writing assignments and discussion questions in her classes.”

Student Government President Tito Valdes ’14 of Lebanon concluded by sharing a segment from this semester’s final edition of La Vie Collegienne, the College’s student newspaper. In that issue, senior Melissa Pavone wrote, “Keep writing your story. Our stories never end. While we end one chapter, another is forming. And while our chapter is ending at LVC, we have all contributed to the footprints left on the sidewalks, in the grass, in Mund, in Chapel, in Lynch, in the Arnold Sports Center, in the library, in Humanities, in Blair, and in the dorms all over campus. Leave these footprints and set out to make new ones. Your footprints may not always keep you on the course that you want, but let them falter and lead you into new paths—those unknown paths could be the ones that change your life.”

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