Reflections on Commencement 2013

by Bill Wyatt


"Through your training in the liberal arts tradition, you have gained a flexibility of mind that will allow you to re-think and to re-shape the world."
- Dr. Frances L. Flannery, associate professor of religion, 2013 Carl L. Harter Teacher of the Year

"Being a student at JMU for the past four years has been a rewarding experience, to say the least. I could not have imagined how much I would grow and develop as a student, and a person. This, however, would not have been possible without the professors I had, the people I met and the lasting friends I've made. The community I came into and the one I formed while here has been home to some of the most wonderful and lasting memories."
- Sarah M. Stacy ('13) of Suffolk, Va., B.A. English, Phi Beta Kappa

"The individual commencement ceremony for the College of Education/University Studies partnership is a most fitting way to recognize graduates who are richly prepared in liberal studies and who aspire to devote themselves to leadership and professional service on behalf of communities, businesses and schools."
- Dr. Phil Wishon, dean of the College of Education

"Because of its interdisciplinary nature and its intentional focus on the liberal arts, JMU's interdisciplinary liberal studies major provides the academic content needed by future teachers and is a wonderful major for other students interested in a broad and integrative undergraduate experience. Whichever path led our students through the program, we know they are ready to continue their journeys and we send them out with great pride."
- Dr. Linda Cabe Halpern, dean of University Studies

"To be great at anything, we must stick to it. ‘Stick-to-it-iveness’ can help us achieve greatness. Graduation is the culmination of the positive choices, hard work and determination!"
- Jason B. Wavell ('13) of Charlottesville, Va., B.A. individualized study, Adult Degree Program

"I am blessed to be representing JMU’s incredible community of artists as the college flag bearer. This title is very indicative of the task at hand for each graduating member of the College of Visual and Performing Arts. As we, the 2013 graduates, enter into a society that may see our talents as expendable or impractical, we must continue to bear our own flags as committed artists. Only then can we enrich our world with the unimaginable beauty that our alma mater has given to us."
- David K. Mann ('13) of Ashburn, Va., B.M. music education

"Don’t just go through the motions. Figure out your passion. Learn all you can about it and never stop learning. Learn from every person you meet. Learn from every situation you find yourself in. Learn your strengths and what you love to do. Make it your mission to help everyone around you learn and make sure you explain things in terms that they can understand."
- Dr. Barbara Reisner, associate professor of chemistry, recipient of College of Science and Mathematics' 2013 Distinguished Teaching Award 

"College throws a lot of opportunities your way that point you in the right direction. I’ve had a lot of great mentors in the College of Science and Mathematics. I’ve also loved being involved at JMU [as a tutor in the Science and Math Learning Center and a JMU student ambassador] and finding that joy in helping others and meeting prospective students and their families and sharing my love for JMU."
- Katherine Brown ('13) of Abingdon, Va., math major, valedictorian of the Class of 2013

"You have the special privilege of being the first graduates of our new college, which was formed in July of 2012. Our mission is to engage students, faculty and communities in learning, scholarship and service in health and behavioral studies to inspire responsible contributions to our world. We look forward to observing and benefiting from the contributions that you, as alumni, will make."
- Dr. Sharon Lovell, interim dean of the College of Health and Behavioral Studies

"Sometimes the changes I've witnessed here at JMU can be overwhelming – the growth of the university, the expansion of our facilities and programs – but I am calmed by my knowledge that I am in a place that continues to nurture undergraduates and respect their abilities. We strive for that as professors.  We extend the invitation to learn WITH us.  The growth and change we see in our students over the course of their studies is our reward."
- Carole Nash ('83), assistant professor of integrated science and technology

"We’ve made it through rigorous classes for our major, staying up late to finish lab reports, circuit homework, programming assignments, research essays and senior theses.  Throughout our four or more years at JMU, we have encountered an incredible sense of community, allowing us to form strong relationships, some of which will last a lifetime."
- Maryann Sniezek ('13) of Mt. Airy, Md., integrated science and technology major, valedictorian of the College of Integrated Science and Engineering Class of 2013

"JMU 2013 graduates --- now is your time to be brave.  Right now.  The first years after college will involve many life decisions.  So should you take the higher paying job in the distant city or stay close to family and friends?  No right decision there I suspect.  So you’ll need to be brave for either decision.   Get an MBA and leave a good job to incur expense furthering your career or stay put?  No right decision there either, you’ll need to muster your grit. You may be offered a job that you fear you can’t do.   In that moment, say yes and be brave."
- Don Rainey ('82), entrepreneur, member of the JMU Board of Visitors 

Published: Saturday, May 4, 2013

Last Updated: Thursday, October 20, 2016

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