GRANVILLE, Ohio—Denison University awarded undergraduate degrees to the 513 members of the Class of 2012, Sunday, May 13, at the 171st commencement exercises of the college.
A record crowd of more than 5,000 family members and friends attended the event, which was held on campus in the Mitchell Recreation and Athletics Center.
Denison Trustee Cynthia Orton Booth, an alumna from the class of 1979, and University President Dale T. Knobel opened the ceremonies by welcoming the graduates and guests.
John Churchill, national secretary of Phi Beta Kappa Society, added remarks in recognition of the 100-year anniversary of the Denison chapter of the national academic honorary.
Nicholas “Nicco” Pandolfi of Pittsburgh gave the senior class address. He was followed by class co-governors Chris Black, of Chatham, N.J., and Mary Kate McCarthy of Rye, N.Y., who announced a senior class gift of nearly $6,500 to the Denison Annual Fund.
Three retiring members of the faculty were recognized by faculty chair Linda Krumholz. Professor Judy Cochran, of the Department of Modern Languages, has served the college for 28 years; Professor Charles “Charlie” O’Keefe, of the Department of Modern Languages, has given the college 37 years of service; and Professor Donald G. “Don” Schilling, of the Department of History, is retiring after 41 years of service to Denison.
President Knobel conferred an honorary doctorate of humane letters upon Ellen Gould Chadwick, a member of the Denison class of 1975. She was nominated by Julia Beyer Houpt, a fellow member of the Denison class of 1975 and vice president for Institutional Advancement for Denison. A doctor, professor and researcher in childhood infectious diseases, particularly HIV and AIDS Chadwick serves as professor of pediatrics at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine and associate chair for education in the Department of Pediatrics. Dr. Chadwick is also the associate director of the Section of Pediatric, Adolescent and Maternal HIV Infection at the Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago.
Following the presentation of her honorary degree, Chadwick delivered the Commencement address, “Better Than You Found It.” She shared lessons that she had learned throughout her life and career. “Spend your life doing what you love; continue to learn, and be an advocate for those without a voice,” were among Chadwick’s points. She concluded with a petition for the class to address the problems they find. “Find some way to give back to the world you live in. Make it count,” she urged.
Provost Bradley Bateman presented members of the class of 2012 with their degrees, beginning with the senior class co-governors and the Presidents Medalists. In total, there were seven Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees awarded, 88 Bachelor of Science degrees and 418 Bachelor of Arts degrees. Among the graduates, 101 earned Latin honors: 45 cum laude, 39 magna cum laude and 17 summa cum laude. The class co-valedictorians were Karen Watts of Delaware, Ohio, and Courtney Yong of Richmond, Calif, each earning a perfect 4.0 grade-point average.
The ceremony concluded with the singing of the college’s alma mater, “To Denison,” and the Charge to the Class by President Knobel. “Take your life experiences and your learning from Denison years not as an interlude, but as a beginning to a life of learning with, from, and about a worldwide community of people whose lives you can enrich and who will enrich yours.” He added, “Neither living nor learning is a solitary act.”