Lexington, Virginia • May 23, 2011
Washington and Lee University will celebrate its 224th undergraduate commencement on Thursday, May 26, on its historic Front Lawn in front of Lee Chapel. It will award bachelor's degrees to just more than 400 students.
The commencement ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. By tradition, the principal address will be given by the University's president, Kenneth P. Ruscio. In addition, Scott Centorino, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., president of the Executive Committee of the student body, will speak on behalf of the class. The event will be streamed live on the University's website at http://go.wlu.edu/commencementlive/.
Graduation-related events, award ceremonies and receptions will begin on Wednesday, May 25, with a baccalaureate service, also held on the Front Lawn. Christopher A. Beeley, the Walter H. Gray Associate Professor of Anglican Studies and Patristics, Berkeley Divinity School, Yale University, will give the keynote address. A native of Houston, Texas, Beeley graduated with honors in philosophy from Washington and Lee in 1990 and earned a diploma in Anglican studies from Berkeley, a master of divinity from Yale's Divinity School and a Ph.D. from the University of Notre Dame.
In the event of rain, the baccalaureate service will be held in Warner Center on campus, while the commencement exercises will be in Cameron Hall at Virginia Military Institute.
During the commencement ceremony, the University will recognize 10 retiring members of the faculty who have a combined 314 years of service: Irwin T. (Taylor) Sanders, history, 42 years; Edwin Craun, English, 40 years; William L. (Lad) Sessions, philosophy, 40 years; H. Thomas Williams, physics, 37 years; Nancy Margand, psychology, 36 years; John J. (Jack) Wielgus, biology, 34 years; Ronald Reese, physics and engineering, 32 years; Kenneth Van Ness, physics and engineering, 25 years; Thomas Whaley, computer science, 24 years; and June Aprille, biology, 4 years
Included among this year's seniors will be 17 who are receiving both a bachelor of science and a bachelor of arts. In addition, 30.5 percent of the class will have completed more than one major. The graduates represent 39 states plus the District of Columbia and 17 countries.
Among this year's outstanding graduates are students receiving special honors and highly competitive scholarships.
Three graduates won Fulbright Fellowships to study and work abroad for a year. Yasmine Espert, of Dix Hills, N.Y., won a research grant for study in Barbados; Hannah Muther, of Rockford, Ill., received an English teaching assistantship in Germany; and Christian Roden, of Delaware, Ohio, won a research grant for study in France.
Greg Kurkis, from Roswell, Ga., a biochemistry major and a center on the football team, has won an NCAA postgraduate scholarship.
Virginia Hodges, of Martinsville, Va., has received a Jesse Ball duPont Fund Fellowship providing two years of work and study in philanthropy and charitable work in the American South.