May 10th, 2011 | By SMWC
Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College’s 170th commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 7, 2011, symbolized the culmination of students’ academic achievement and personal growth. President Dottie King, Ph. D., in her first commencement as College president, presented 231 students with associate, bachelor’s or master’s degrees. It was a time for celebration and reflection.
This year’s commencement speaker was Sister Patricia Crowley, O.S.B., heralded as a high-energy to advocate for systemic change in the areas of homelessness and housing. She also received an honorary doctorate of humane letters from the College.
“I am excited,” said Briauna Davis, business administration major from Fairbanks, Ind. “I am the first person in my family to graduate from college. All my family is here to support me.” She added, “It’s bittersweet to leave here [SMWC]. It’s been a great experience.”
Todd LaComba, of Terre Haute, Ind., received his Master’s in Leadership Development. His goal is to apply the knowledge he learned immediately. “The degree will help me right away in a position I just accepted in fundraising at DePauw University,” he said.
Sister Patricia Crowley, O.S.B., Prioress of the Benedictine Sisters of Chicago and advocate for the homeless, received an honorary doctorate of humane letters and delivered a moving commitment address. Crowley advised the graduates to never stop growing and learning. She urged find ways to balance work, play, prayer and service to others.
“You have a wild and precious life,” said Crowley. “Live it with your eyes open each day! Live it and you will make a difference, you will make our world a better place for all.”
She challenged graduates to be grateful each day. “Gratitude is a practice that opens your heart to possibilities, to the goodness in yourself, and to the wonder of God in your life.”
Commencement Award Winners
Maud Helm Rockwell Medals for Academic Excellence
Thia Flinn – West Terre Haute, Indiana
Ty Monroe – Alfred, Maine
Alumni Leadership and Service Medals
Brittany Simmerman – Oolitic, Indiana
Rebecca Gross – Miami Beach, Florida
Nancy Swanson – Park Ridge, Illinois
Kappa Gamma Pi St. Catherine Medals
Maureen Brown – Niles, Michigan
Joe Cummings – Montgomery, Indiana
Faculty Excellence Award forTeaching
Sharon Boyle, Associate Professor of Music Therapy
Faculty Excellence Award forScholarship
Bellampalli Ramachandran, Ph.D., Associate Professor in Chemistry
Faculty Excellence Award forService
D.J. Wasmer, Ph.D., Professor of Business