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Eckerd College Commencement
Commencement Recap

Eckerd College Celebrates 44th Commencement

Eckerd College's 44th Commencement took place on Sunday, May 20, at 8:00 a.m. on the South Beach Field of the campus under a 'big top tent.' Peter Meinke, noted poet and fiction writer, was the commencement speaker.

The 348 graduates from the Residential Program and the 195 graduates from the Program for Experienced Learners (PEL) adult degree program - totaling 543 graduates in all - received their bachelor's degrees in arts and sciences.

The 543 graduates hail from 37 states ranging from Maine to Wyoming and New Hampshire to Hawaii and 20 countries including Bulgaria, Kenya, Spain, the Republic of Panama, Sweden, Japan, Uzbekistan, and South Korea.

Three Honorary Degree Recipients Reflect the College's Values

Harvey E. Jeffries, a leading atmospheric chemist, received an honorary Doctor of Science degree. Harvey Jeffries graduated from Eckerd College, then Florida Presbyterian College, in 1964 with a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry. A professor in the graduate program of the Department of Environmental Science and Engineering faculty at UNC, Chapel Hill for more than 35 years, his research is relied upon heavily by policy makers and polluters as well for understanding the chemistry of photochemical smog formation in urban atmospheres and for establishing appropriate air quality standards and the mechanisms for achieving them. Click here for the complete text to Harvey E. Jeffries' honorary citation.

Peter Meinke, a noted poet and fiction writer, received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree. Peter Meinke's most recent work, The Contracted World, is his fourteenth book of poems and seventh in the prestigious Pitt Poetry Series, which includes Zinc Fingers, Scars, and Liquid Paper. His poetry has received many awards, including two National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Fellowships and three prizes from the Poetry Society of America. His book of short stories, The Piano Tuner, won the 1986 Flannery O'Connor Award. Now Eckerd College professor emeritus of creative writing, Meinke taught literature and creative writing at Eckerd College for 27 years and served as the director of the Eckerd College Writing Workshop until 1993. Click here for the complete text to Peter Meinke's honorary citation.

Six Student Award Recipients

Zoe Rachel Friedman of Sarasota, Florida, received the Philip J. Lee Honor Award, which is presented to the senior student whose scholarly achievements at Eckerd College have demonstrated both exceptional accomplishment and superior promise. Read more about Zoe Friedman's award.

Audrey Mills Copeland of Ashland, Oregon, received the Miller Award, which is presented to the senior student whose life activities best exemplify the ideal of unselfish and public-spirited service to the community, off campus as well as on campus. Read more about Audrey Copeland's award.

Pamela Lyra Hilliard of St. Petersburg, Florida, received the Irving G. Foster Award, which is presented to the graduate of the Program for Experienced Learners (PEL) who demonstrates excellence in overall academic achievement. Read more about Lyra Hilliard's award.

Charlotte J. Quandt of St. Petersburg, Florida, received the James H. Robinson Award, which is 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. Read more about Charlotte Quandt's award.

Daniel James Rudge of Millbury, Massachusetts, received the Ronald Wilson Award, which is presented to a senior student who has made a significant contribution to the total College community. Read more about Daniel Rudge's award.

Olesea Tran of Clearwater, Florida, received the David and Blanche Colgan memorial prize, which is 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. Read more about Olesea Tran's award.

TEACHER OF THE YEAR AWARD

Laura R. Wetzel of St. Petersburg, Florida, received the Robert A. Staub Outstanding Teacher Award. As Associate Professor of Marine Geophysics, Prof. Wetzel's research has focused primarily on mid-ocean ridges, ranging from earthquake seismology to submarine hydrothermal vent geochemistry. In field research within a few miles of the Eckerd campus, she is exploring the implications of a large-scale dredging project in Lake Maggiore. She is a Florida LAKEWATCH volunteer, taking water samples monthly from the lake that are sent to the University of Florida for phosphate, nitrate, and chlorophyll analyses. The information becomes part of a statewide database quantifying the characteristics of Florida lakes. Read more about Laura Wetzel's award.

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