Commencement 2011: "A great time to be a graduate"

Valedictorian Cameron Auker ’11.

Two hundred thirty-two graduates celebrated the completion of their Hampden-Sydney College education on May 8, 2011. The rain stopped just in time for the ceremony to be held on the lawn of Venable Hall, much to the delight of the graduates and their families.

R. Nicholas Burns, a distinguished diplomat and expert on international politics, gave the commencement address. He is a 27-year veteran of the U.S. State Department and served as the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs and U.S. Ambassador to NATO and to Greece. He is now a professor of the practice of diplomacy and international politics at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Ambassador Burns encouraged the graduates to remain positive, despite the many national and international setbacks that have occurred during the past four years.

Burns Howard
Commencement speaker Ambassador Nicholas Burns (left) with President Christopher Howard.

He said, “Do not believe those who preach fear. Don’t let anyone convince you that these 21st-century dangers are somehow more difficult to conquer than previous centuries. Washington faced the revolution and led us to victory; he faced dangers that were likely more daunting than the ones we face today, as did Lincoln during the Civil War. Now, I’m not trying to minimize these really pernicious threats, but they paint only part of the picture of the world you are going to inherit as college graduates. This is a great time to be a college graduate.”

Also in attendance was Dr. Brian K. Blount, president of Union Presbyterian Seminary, the former Union Theological Seminary, which evolved from the Religion Department of Hampden-Sydney College in 1811. Dr. Blount has a master’s degree from Princeton Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. from Emory University. Before joining Union Seminary, he was the Richard J. Dearborn Professor of New Testament Interpretation at Princeton Theological Seminary. Dr. Blount was the featured speaker at the baccalaureate service on Saturday.

Bortz Baker HowardIn addition to recognizing the contributions of our special guests, Dr. Paul S. Baker, vice president for administration, was surprised with a presentation by Dr. Walter M. Bortz III, under whom he served for many years, of an honorary doctor of humane letters degree. Dr. Baker is retiring from the College to enter the Methodist ministry; he has held many positions at ­Hampden-Sydney since his arrival here in 1983, from registrar to vice president for administration and acting Dean of Students.

The valedictory address was given by Cameron L. Auker; he graduated with a perfect 4.0 grade-point average with double majors in mathematics and applied mathematics.

The Gammon Cup, given in memory of Dr. Edgar G. Gammon, Class of 1905 and President of the College 1939-1955, to the member of the graduating class who has best served the College, was awarded to Colin W. O’Neill.

The Anna Carrington Harrison Award, given to the junior or senior who has shown the most constructive leadership during the school year, was presented to Mohsin M. Fazlani.

The Samuel S. Jones Phi Beta Kappa Award in recognition of intellectual excellence was given to Janko Kajtez, an international student from Serbia, majoring in physics.

There are two recipients of The Algernon Sydney Sullivan Medallion, one graduate and one friend of the College. The member of the Class of 2011 distinguished for excellence of character and generous service to his fellows was Marshall T. McClung. Marshal is the son of Thomas G. McClung ’82 and the grandson of David S. McClung ’51.

For his conspicuous helpfulness to the institution in its effort to encourage and preserve a high standard of morals, the alumni Sullivan Award was given to William F. Shumadine, Jr., ’66. He is the father of Will Shumadine III ’94.

commencementMembers of the faculty and staff were also recognized for their achievements at Hampden-Sydney. The Cabell Award, which is given to a faculty member for “outstanding classroom contribution to the education of Christian young men,” was presented to Dr. Evan R. Davis, Elliot Associate Professor of English.

The Thomas Edward Crawley Award, given in memory of Thomas Edward Crawley ’41, who served the College as teacher, scholar, musician, and dean from 1946 until 1984, to the professor most distinguished for devoted service to the ideals of the College, was presented to Dr. Kenneth D. Lehman, Squires Professor of History.

The member of the faculty or staff most distinguished for active devotion and service to the College and its ideals is presented The Robert Thruston Hubard IV Award. This year’s recipient was Eunice W. Carwile ’92, Director of Corporate & Foundation Relations.

Two graduates were commissioned as 2nd lieutenants in the U.S. Army: Joshua D. Aho and Charles E. Jones.