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UMB Commencement Speakers Strike Themes of Collaboration across Institutions, Disciplines

More than 1,500 students graduated from the six professional schools and the Graduate School of the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) at commencement ceremonies held May 18 at 1st Mariner Arena in Baltimore. As has become the custom, many of the candidates marched jubilantly from University Plaza through the city's Westside neighborhood to the arena, bearing banners and accompanied by faculty members and administrators in academic regalia.

President Jay A. Perman, MD, was at the head of the procession. In his opening remarks at the ceremonies, Perman noted its greater purpose. "It emphasizes our bond with the Baltimore community," he said.

Freeman A. Hrabowski III, PhD, president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) since 1992, received a standing ovation for his keynote speech, in which he urged the graduates to reflect on the milestones they had reached.

"Take the time to feel empowered," he said, advising them to examine the actions that had led to their successes in order to build on them. "We must be self aware," he counseled.

An advocate of science and math education, with special emphasis on minority participation, Hrabowski in April was named one of the world's 100 most influential people by Time magazine.

To prepare for his appearance, Hrabowski met last week with a so-called cabinet of degree candidates selected from each of the schools, to hear what was on their minds. Among other things, they asked what to expect in the job market given the uncertain economy.

"You will be fine," he told them and their peers in the arena, suggesting that in the many positions they will hold over the next 40 years, they will be able to draw from the "skills, values and emotional intelligence" gained through their education. Each of his student advisers were introduced.

Speaking on behalf of the University System of Maryland (USM) was the student member of the USM Board of Regents, Collin Wojciechowski, a junior at UMBC.

UMB student remarker was Andrew York, who received a PharmD degree from the School of Pharmacy and who expects to complete a joint degree next year, a Juris Doctor from the Francis King Carey School of Law.

York, who has been president of the University Student Government Association and a student participant in the president's interprofessional clinic, reminded members of the Class of 2012 to put into practice what they have learned: "Different professions need to work together and collaborate as a team."

Perman conferred an honorary Doctor of Science degree upon Peter Buerhaus, PhD, RN, FAAN, director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Health Workforce Studies at the Institute for Medicine and Public Health at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn. Assisting in the honor was School of Nursing Dean Janet D. Allan, PhD, RN, FAAN. Buerhaus is considered the nation's pre-eminent authority on nursing workforce issues.

The ceremony began at 2 p.m., an hour earlier than past years so that it is closer to the schools' morning convocations. Leading the way into the Arena was a distinguished group of five honorary marshals, who among them have 199 years of service to the University. They are:

* Frank Calia, MD, MACP, School of Medicine, 1969 to 2012
* David Knapp, PhD, School of Pharmacy, 1971 to present
* Raju Varghese, EdD, MPH, MSW, MA, School of Social Work, 1972 to present
* J. Richard Bradbury, DDS, School of Dentistry, 1974 to present
* Morton Wood, DDS, MEd, School of Dentistry, 1975 to present

"It truly is an exceptional group," says Nancy Gordon, the senior director of University events.

Perman credited Calia with helping to bring him to the School of Medicine, where Perman chaired the Department of Pediatrics from 1999 to 2004. Calia held various posts including vice dean, senior associate dean, and chair of the Department of Medicine.

"His more than four decades of dedication, commitment, and unwavering support are more than deserving of this honor," Perman said of Calia being named University marshal, an honor not bestowed since 2007.

Combine Calia with Knapp, dean of the School of Pharmacy from 1989 to 2007; Bradbury and Wood, who have led departments and programs at the School of Dentistry; and Varghese, who brought about a formalized relationship between the School of Social Work and Rajagiri College in India, and this is one august group.

"The University wouldn't be what it is today without the contributions of these five men," Perman said. "On behalf of a grateful University, I feel privileged to honor them and share a stage with them at commencement."

Perman sent off the Class of 2012 with this admonition: "Make the world a better place."

Posting Date: 05/18/2012
Contact Name: Ed Fishel
Contact Phone: 410-706-3801
Contact Email: efishel@umaryland.edu