video by Joe O'Neill
by Matt Getty; photos by Dan Loh
Dickinson College honored 508 graduating seniors on Sunday, May 22, as Commencement speaker and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Clarence Page encouraged them to justify his optimism in the future by giving their best to the world.
“I’m still a persistent optimist,” said Page, despite noting that political division, rising crime rates and wealth disparity offer plenty of reasons to be pessimistic. “I’m encouraged by bright young people like you. You know how to take a challenge and persevere. You continue to have the energy, capacity and aspirations for our own improvement—and a track record that some people still call the last best hope of the world.”
Reminding the audience that American’s constitutional purpose was to “form a more perfect union,” Page argued that the country must remain aspirational even in the face of daunting challenges. After sharing Martin Luther King’s call to “be dissatisfied until from every city hall, justice will roll down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream,” Page ended by quoting his mother.
“As my mother liked to say, ‘Give to the world your best, and the best will come back to you,’ ” he said. “Thank you, class of 2022, and remember: What your mind can conceive and your heart will believe, your body can achieve. So keep your eyes on the prize and hold on.”
During the ceremony, several faculty members and students were recognized with awards, which are bestowed each year at Commencement.
Amy McKiernan, assistant professor of philosophy and director of Ethics Across Campus & the Curriculum, earned the college's Constance and Rose Ganoe Memorial Award for Inspirational Teaching. Presented each year, the honor is determined by a secret-ballot vote conducted by members of the senior class. Professor of Music Jennifer Blyth won the Distinguished Teaching Award.
Anna Harvey ’22 (Russian, Italian studies) was presented the James Fowler Rusling Prize, which recognizes excellent scholarly achievement. Harvey will be traveling to Moldova after graduation on a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship. Hoang Viet Vo ’22 (computer science) received the John Patton Memorial Prize for High Scholastic Standing. Vo has accepted a position as a software engineer with Google after graduation.
The Hufstader Senior Prizes, which are awarded annually to two graduating seniors who, in the judgment of the college president, have made the greatest contributions to the good of the college, were awarded to Cristian Tineo ’22 (art & art history) and Shea Player ’22 (chemistry).
Player, who will be conducting liver-transplant research at the Johns Hopkins Department of Surgery after graduation, also was named Dickinson’s new Young Alumni Trustee. During each Commencement Dickinson’s Board of Trustees chooses a Young Alumni Trustee from among nominated seniors to represent young alumni on the board and serve a two-year term.
In addition to awarding Page the Doctor of Public Affairs honorary degree, Dickinson awarded two other honorary degrees during the ceremony as well as the Sam Rose ’58 and Julie Walters Prize at Dickinson College for Global Environmental Activism.
Judy Faulkner '65, CEO and founder of Epic, received the Doctor of Civic Engagement honorary degree; Lt. Gen. Laura A. Potter '89, U.S. Army deputy chief of staff of intelligence, received the Doctor of Military Science honorary degree; and Barbara Jatta, director of the Vatican Museums, received the Doctor of Arts honorary degree.
This year's Rose-Walters Prize went to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in recognition of its work advancing the understanding of the risks of climate change for people, the environment and economic prosperity as well as offering response options for limiting the risks. Hoesung Lee, the chair of the IPCC and Endowed Chair Professor at Korea University, accepted the prize on behalf of the panel.
“I’d like to congratulate Dickinson College on your work on sustainability education and achieving your goal to be carbon neutral,” Lee said as he accepted the prize. “The urgent need to reduce greenhouse gas can never be stressed enough.”
Following a long-held college tradition, the Commencement ceremonies ended with the graduates walking down Old West’s "old stone steps" to complete the journey they began four years ago by walking up those steps to sign in to the college.
“As a class you accomplished a great deal,” said Dickinson President John E. Jones III ’77, P’11, who presided over his first Commencement as college president. “You’re each now making your way beyond Dickinson, where I know you will work to improve your own communities … and indeed improve our world.”
View the full ceremony.
Published May 22, 2022