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Eckerd College Commencement
Commencement Recap

Eckerd College Celebrates 42nd Commencement

Eckerd College's 42nd Commencement took place on Sunday, May 22, at 8:00 a.m. on the South Beach Field of the campus under a 'big top tent' that seated 5,000 people. Surrounded by Florida palms and waterfront views, 506 graduates received their bachelor's degrees in arts and sciences. Dennis Lehane, novelist and 1988 alumnus of the College, was the commencement speaker. Eckerd graduate and District 7 Councilwoman Rene Robinson-Flowers surprised Mr. Lehane with a Key to the City of St. Petersburg during the Commencement ceremony.

The 332 graduates from the Residential Program and the 174 graduates from the Program for Experienced Learners (PEL) hailed from 32 states ranging from Maine to South Dakota and Minnesota to Alaska and 25 countries including Afghanistan, Canada, Nicaragua, Colombia, Morocco, India, Panama, Sweden, Cyprus, Brazil, Russia, Venezuela, Guatemala, Thailand, France, Italy, and Yugoslavia.

Honorary Degree Recipients

Dennis Lehane '88, award-winning crime novelist and Commencement speaker, will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree. A 1988 graduate of Eckerd's creative writing program and former student of novelist Sterling Watson and poet Peter Meinke, Mr. Lehane is the author of a highly successful series of Boston detective novels. "Mystic River," a New York Times best seller, became an Oscar-winning film directed by Clint Eastwood.

Mr. Lehane teaches fiction writing and serves as a member of the board of directors for a low-residency MFA program sponsored by Pine Manor College in Chestnut Hill, MA. In addition to serving as co-director of Eckerd's Writers in Paradise workshop held in January at Eckerd College, Mr. Lehane will be a writer-in-residence at the College for the 2005-06 academic year.
Click here for the complete text to Dennis Lehane's honorary citation.

Bruce Cole, a scholar of Renaissance art and eighth chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree. Mr. Cole came to the NEH, an independent grant-making agency of the United States government dedicated to supporting research, education, preservation, and public programs in the humanities, in December 2001 from Indiana University in Bloomington, where he was Distinguished Professor of Art History and Professor of Comparative Literature.
Click here for the complete text to Bruce Cole's honorary citation.

Akiko Tanaka, president and co-founder of the Tampa Bay Research Institute and recipient of an honorary Doctor of Science degree. Dr. Tanaka leads the Institute's research programs that focus on the study of chronic diseases such as cancer and infectious diseases. The Institute holds more than 10 patents on a pine cone extract that has the potential to prevent or ameliorate the effects of herpes, HIV and hepatitis C infections as well as inhibiting cancerous growth.
Click here for the complete text to Akiko Tanaka's honorary citation.

Award Recipient Notables
Click here for more information on award recipients

Ronald Kenneth Porter of Randallstown, Maryland, recipient of the Philip J. Lee Honor Award - presented to the senior student whose scholarly achievements at Eckerd College have demonstrated both exceptional accomplishment and superior promise. Ronald will give the welcoming remarks on behalf of the Residential Program graduates.

Christian Damon Vogel of Palm Harbor, Florida, recipient of the Irving G. Foster Award - presented to the graduate of the Program for Experienced Learners who demonstrates excellence in overall academic achievement.

Tonya Michelle Womack of Pensacola, Florida, recipient of the James H. Robinson Award - presented to the senior student who has by leadership and example contributed significantly to the minority experience at Eckerd College and to a fuller appreciation of cross-cultural values throughout the whole Eckerd community.

Vanessa Pinckney of St. Petersburg, Florida, recipient of the David and Blanche Colgan Memorial Prize - presented to a graduate of the Program of Experienced Learners who has demonstrated extraordinary determination and perseverance in achieving a solid academic record and who exemplifies the spirit of life-long learning. The award is provided through the generosity of Eckerd College trustee Mary Miller, a 1997 PEL graduate herself, in memory of her parents.

Marjorie S. Hardy of St. Petersburg, Florida, Associate Professor of Psychology, recipient of the Robert A. Staub Outstanding Teacher Award - Eckerd's equivalent to "Teacher of the Year". Click here for the complete text to Marjorie S. Hardy's award citation.

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