|College Family, Including Their Original President, Bids Farewell to Class of 2011
May 15, 2011
Contact: Bill Giduz
|Magna cum laude music major Daniel Legrand got a hug from Professor of Music Jennifer Stasack as graduates process to their seats under the oaks on front campus.
Davidson College presented diplomas to 436 members of the Class of 2011 in Commencement exercises on Sunday, May 15.
Davidson’s tradition forgoes an address by an outside speaker. However, Interim President John Kuykendall ’59 welcomed the audience, and Past President Thomas W. Ross ’72 gave brief remarks. Ross, who left Davidson last year to accept the Presidency of the UNC system, returned to wish farewell to “his” Davidson class. This year’s graduates began their Davidson experience in the fall of 2007, which was Ross’s first year as Davidson president.
Ross reminded the graduates of his Convocation address when they arrived on campus. He had spoken then about the need to balance the new freedoms of college life with responsibility.
He said graduation demonstrates that they’ve learned to act responsibly, and charged them to act responsibly now in their lives beyond college. Their responsibility now, he said, is to put their Davidson education to good purpose for their colleagues, their communities, and the world. “You’re in a privileged position in the world as graduates of Davidson College, and need to use your education for more than selfish gain,” he said. “Go forth, do well, do good.”
The graduates represented 36 states and 10 foreign countries. 166 of the 436 received Latin honors as outstanding scholars with 110 graduating cum laude, 54 as magna cum laude, and two as summa cum laude. Their most popular majors were political science (67 graduates), biology (49), psychology (48), English (47) and history (41).
Read complete remarks: Interim President John W. Kuykendall ’59
Read complete remarks: Past President Thomas W. Ross ’72
|Honorary degree recipients Paul Leonard '62 and Graham Gund are seated on stage between Vice President for Student Life Tom Shandley and Catholic campus minister Karen Soos.
The college presented an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree to architect Graham Gund, and an honorary Doctor of Laws degree to affordable housing activist Paul R. Leonard ’62.
Gund founded his internationally active architectural firm in Boston in 1971. Among his works is Davidson’s own Belk Visual Arts Center, which heralded a new era in the arts at Davidson when it opened in 1994. Gund carefully designed the building in concert with the overall neoclassical look of the campus. It has earned the nickname “Zen factory” from student and faculty artists because of its simple, elegant design and spaces that welcome light.
Gund’s citation praised the building as “A home for a community of artists that also welcomes the public into intimate but generous galleries, with spaces for repose, fellowship and inspiration.”
Paul Leonard began his career in the ministry after graduating Phi Beta Kappa from Davidson in 1962. Early on he recognized the importance of home ownership as an avenue to prosperity and self-respect for the poor, and he became founder and first president of the Charlotte Fair Housing Association.
He eventually left full-time ministry to work in private sector affordable housing, and rapidly became a leader in the real estate industry. That led him to a longtime involvement with Habitat for Humanity’s global housing ministry. Leonard served the organization as treasurer, board chair and eventually as interim president. His book, “Ministry of the Hammer,” recalls his experiences with the organization.
Leonard and his spouse, Judy, live in Davidson and continue to regularly travel the globe to raise roofs and change lives.
Leonard is also an active Davidson College alumnus. He has served on the Board of Trustees, and chaired the search committee that brought President Tom Ross to the college.
Leonard’s citation praised him for “blending faith, brilliance, and quiet passion in pursuit of social justice, and using heart, hands and hammer to lift other humans around the world into homes of safety and dignity.”
Senior class president Quentin Graham ’11 announced the class gift to the college’s Annual Fund. He reported 95.3 percent of classmates contributed a total of $10,328. That achievement, led by gift drive chairs Nick Kruter ’11 and Molly Duncan ‘11, allowed the class to claim an additional $12,000 challenge from President Emeritus Ross.
|Daniel Martin and Allison Rauh both graduated summa cum laude, sharing First Honor for the Class of 2011.
First Honor for the highest grade point average in the class was a tie between Daniel A. Martin of Dothan, Ala., and Alison J. Rauh of Trier, Germany. Both graduated summa cum laude with perfect 4.0 grade point averages.
A highly ranked youth tennis player growing up in Germany, Rauh chose to attend Davidson because it offered her the combination of an excellent academic program and Division 1 athletics. She received the Armfield Athletic Scholarship and played all four years on Davidson’s women’s team. She was co-captain for two years, and played at the number one or two position during the past season.
Rauh had no previous interest in economics, but got hooked on it two weeks into her first year in the introductory econ course. She excelled, and worked on a number of projects with her faculty mentors in the department —Fred Smith, Mark Foley and Dennis Appleyard. Their collaborations included a Davidson Research Initiative study of low income college students and need-blind admission policies. She spent last summer as an intern at the Federal Reserve in New York City, and published an article in The American Economist developed from a paper she wrote for a call in international trade.
She was also active in the Davidson International Association and Dean Rusk International Studies Program, and studied abroad for one semester with a Davidson program in Tours, France. She was inducted into the Omicron Delta Epsilon honor society for economics, the Omicron Delta Kappa honor society for campus leadership and the Phi Beta Kappa honor society for academic achievement.
Rauh has been accepted into a Ph.D. program in economics at the University of Chicago, and will move there in July to begin a research project even before her classes begin.
Daniel Martin began his Davidson career intent on a physics major, but graduates in mathematics. He finished his coursework last December, but has been on campus during the spring semester conducting research with Associate Professor Tim Chartier in the mathematics of sports team rankings. He also conducted research last summer at N.C. State University. Martin won the mathematics department’s William McGavock Award, and was selected to Phi Beta Kappa academic honor society.
He was a four-year volunteer at the Ada Jenkins Community Center, tutoring students in an after-school program. He was also active in Phi Gamma Delta fraternity. He will begin working shortly in a financial management development program for the Edens & Avant commercial real estate development company in Columbia, S.C.
HUNTER-HAMILTON LOVE OF TEACHING AWARDS
|Associate Professor of Classics Keyne Cheshire
Hunter-Hamilton Love of Teaching Awards, the college’s top teaching honor, went to Associate Professor of Classics Keyne Cheshire and Professor of Anthropology Nancy Fairley. Each award includes $7,500 for the recipient, and $7,500 more for the recipient to designate to a college cause.
Cheshire joined the Davidson faculty in 2002, and teaches a wide variety of courses in Greek and Latin language and literature. He published a textbook on Alexander the Great, and is currently writing a book on Callimachus' Hymns. He and a student collaborator received a Davidson Research Initiative grant to translate the text of Sophocles’ tragedy, the Trachiniae, compose a score for it and present it as a musical Western.
Cheshire was described as “Master of the ‘a-ha’ moment when unexpected academic connections are revealed. His citation noted, “The hard work of conjugation and declension, of philology and text criticism, describe not only the effort he summons forth, but the path on which he leads students to see how seemingly minor details coalesce into a richer encounter with the lives and cultures of antiquity.”
One of his student nominators wrote, “His palpable reverence for the languages and the characters, the achievements and the flaws of certain civilizations is infectious. And I caught it from him.”
|Professor of Anthropology Nancy Fairley.
Nancy Fairley received the Hunter-Hamilton Award for adherence to five tenets in and out of the classroom since joining the faculty in 1993: Stimulate students through stellar teaching and research. Practice life-long learning along with students. Feed students’ hearts in addition to their minds. Care for and inspire all students. Teach beyond the classroom walls.
She was hailed for her attention to all Davidson students—mainstream and minority, struggling and flourishing. One student nominator wrote, “Simply put, I never had a professor who spoke not only to my mind, but also my soul.”
Fairley received a Fulbright Fellowship to study African Americans who repatriated to Ghana, West Africa, and developed from that experience Davidson’s summer program in that country. She has also been instrumental in the STRIDE program for minority students, and helped develop and directed Davidson’s ethnic studies program. She teaches classes in ethnic relations, African civilizations, globalization, and “Art, Society and Culture.”
Fairley is also a well-known storyteller. What began as a fun family activity developed professionally, and she now performs and conducts storytelling workshops. Fairley received the college’s Thomas Jefferson Award in 2008.
ALGERNON SYDNEY SULLIVAN AWARDS
|(l-r) Sarah McIlroy '11 and Rachel Richardson '11 were student winners of the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award.
Algernon Sydney Sullivan Awards for individuals with outstanding spiritual qualities applied to daily living were presented to two graduates and one community member.
Sarah E. McIlroy, a psychology major from Columbus, Ohio, was widely recognized on campus for her strength and grace in light of her father’s death two years ago following a long struggle with leukemia.
Rather than retreating inward with her loss, McIlroy got involved with the Project Life bone marrow registry program on campus, and served as its chair for the past two years. She helped host a 20-year celebration of Project Life this past fall, bringing marrow donors and recipients together for a memorable celebration.
Just three weeks ago McIlroy also received the psychology department’s Edward L. Palmer Award for community service.
McIlroy also sang with the Delilah’s female a cappella group, and she worked last summer with a disadvantaged children’s educational enrichment program in Texas. She is moving to Dallas this summer to begin her career with Teach for America as a seventh grade science teacher.
Religion major Rachel L. Richardson of Tucson, Ariz., received the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award for “seeking to establish the common place between people to confer upon all the freedom to be recognized in their humanity.”
Richardson co-founded the “Ending Poverty in Charlotte” program for the poor and homeless in alliance with the Charlotte Urban Ministry Center. She led Davidson students on an “Urban Plunge” homelessness experience in Washington D.C., and she studied contemporary urban issues in New York, San Paulo, Cape Town and Hanoi.
Richardson has also been active on campus. Concerned about the impact of depression on students, she became the leader of “Changing Minds,” a group focused on decreasing the stigmas associated with psychological issues.
Richardson has also been recently honored on campus. At Spring Convocation she received the college’s Alberta Smith De Vane Religion Award.
|The community winner of the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award was Rosie Molinary '96.
Local activist Rosie Molinary received this year’s Algernon Sydney Sullivan community award. As one nominator wrote, Molinary is “not only a visionary thinker, but also a visionary doer.”
A former public school teacher, Molinary graduated from Davidson in 1996 and worked for several years in the college’s community service office.
Most recently she has found a career as a writer and activist. As a member of the board of the Davidson Housing Coalition, she created its HAMMERS program to assist people living in deteriorating housing who otherwise may not be able to make necessary repairs.
As a Puerto Rican native, she is particularly concerned with problems of body image and self esteem faced by Latina girls, and wrote about their struggles in a book titled “Hijas Americanas: Beauty, Body Image and Growing Up Latina.”
Taking that concern a step further, she founded and directs an organization called Circle de Luz that mentors and encourages Latinas to complete their education. One of her nominators wrote, “She represents the best of what we want in our community: a commitment to diversity that’s based on action, not just words; an open heart and generous spirit; a fine intellect given in service to voicing issues that need greater awareness; and courageous leadership.”
Davidson is a highly selective independent liberal arts college for 1,800 students located 20 minutes north of Charlotte in Davidson, N.C. Since its establishment in 1837 by Presbyterians, the college has graduated 23 Rhodes Scholars and is consistently regarded as one of the top liberal arts colleges in the country. Through The Davidson Trust, the college became the first liberal arts institution in the nation to replace loans with grants in all financial aid packages, giving all students the opportunity to graduate debt-free. Davidson competes in NCAA athletics at the Division I level, and a longstanding Honor Code is central to student life at the college.