|President Vagt Tells Grads Not to Burst Their "Davidson Bubble"
May 21, 2007
Contact: Bill Giduz
Presiding over his final commencement as Davidson College’s sixteenth President, Robert F. Vagt urged graduates on Sunday to carry with them the “Davidson bubble” in which they’ve lived for the past four years.
In accordance with college tradition, the president is the featured commencement speaker. President Vagt noted that in his ten year tenure, he had heard many students speak about living in a “Davidson bubble” whose culture is markedly different from that of the world at large. President Vagt acknowledged that Davidson College life features close friendships and mentorships, high expectations, intellectual curiosity, a sense of honor, and compassion for others that may not be found everywhere off campus. Read his full address here.
|Graduate Hanley Smith got a quick souvenir photo of herself with President Vagt as seniors marched to their places.|
He urged the graduates to carry those values with them into their postgraduate lives, and influence the world with them. “Take away the conviction that you will achieve great things,” he said. “We have faith in the contributions you will make.”
To emphasize his charge, President Vagt arranged for each graduate to receive a bottle of bubble solution as they left the stage after receiving their diplomas. After mortarboards had taken their traditional flights at the end of the ceremony, bubbles floated skyward over hugs, tears, congratulations, and cell-phone pictures being emailed to loved ones far away.
Commencement occurred in the shade of the picturesque front campus oaks on a beautiful cool and sunny morning. Participants, family members, and well-wishers filled most of the 5,098 chairs set up by physical plant staff members.
| (l-r) Faculty members Randy Ingram and Kristi Multhaup won Hunter-Hamilton Love of Teaching Awards.|
In addition to conferring bachelor of arts and bachelor of science degrees to 442 students, the college presented several awards. Hunter-Hamilton Love of Teaching Awards went to Randall M. “Randy” Ingram, Associate Professor of English and Craig Wall Distinguished Professor of Humanities, and to Kristi S. Multhaup, Associate Professor of Psychology. Each award includes $7,500 for the recipient, and $7,500 more for the recipient to designate to a college cause.
Ingram joined the faculty in 1995 and specializes in seventeenth-century English literature. He conducts a much-anticipated annual all-day reading of John Milton’s “Paradise Lost,” and was cited for “incessant encouragement, positive demeanor, excellent scholarship, tough requirements, and considerable humor and creativity.”
Multhaup joined the faculty in 1996 and specializes in cognitive aging and memory. She was recently named a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, an honor that recognizes outstanding national contributions in the field. Multhaup studies how memory is similar and how it is different across the adult years. She has published many peer-reviewed articles looking at areas such as how young and older adults remember the source of information, and on cognitive changes associated with dementia. Students in her semi-annual “Autobiographical Memory and Reminiscence” class partner with an older adult in the Davidson community to create, through interviews, a Web page about the adult partner’s life.
Algernon Sydney Sullivan Awards recognizing outstanding contributions to campus life were presented to graduating senior Patricia M. Massey of Laurinburg, N.C., and Davidson residents Jerry and Gwyn Hollenbeck. Massey is a national leader of the Presbyterian Church youth organization, led the campus chapter of the CROP hunter-relief organization, and helped create the campuswide “Engage for Change” community service initiative.
The Hollenbecks were cited for generously “adopting” dozens of international students and men’s basketball players into their home during the past decade. One wrote of them, “Getting to know the Hollenbecks has been crucial in my settling in at Davidson. When I need to get off campus, or crave home-cooked food, I know I can always count on them. They offer a nurturing and fun environment where students hang out for hours.”
Twenty-nine students graduated magna cum laude, with grade point averages of 3.75 or above. The first honor for the best academic record went to Douglas J. Grunwald of Wallingford, Conn. A three-year varsity baseball player, Grunwald majored in biology with a minor in chemistry. He will attend the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine next year.
| Top academic honors in the class went to (l-r) Bryant Kirkland and Doug Grunwald.|
Second honor went to N. Bryant Kirkland of Sarasota, Fla. Kirkland graduated with honors in classics, and has received a Fulbright Fellowship for the study of classical poetry in Trier, Germany next year. In addition to his excellence in the classroom, he starred in several Davidson mainstage theatre productions. Kirkland also received the W. Thomas Smith Scholarship for a one-year master’s degree program at University College London.
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Posted By: Bill Giduz