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Eckerd College Commencement
Commencement Recap

Eckerd College Celebrates 45th Commencement

Eckerd College's 45th Commencement took place on Sunday, May 18, at 8:00 a.m. on the South Beach Field of the campus under a 'big top tent' that seated 5,000 people. Florida Congresswoman Kathy Castor, who represents the 11th Congressional District of Florida, was the commencement speaker.

The 403 graduates from the Residential Program and the 179 graduates from the Program for Experienced Learners (PEL) adult degree program - totaling 582 graduates in all - received their bachelor's degrees in arts and sciences. The Residential Program graduated its largest class in the College's history. The graduates hailed from 41 states and 23 countries including Bulgaria, Ghana, Pakistan, Colombia, Japan, and Saudi Arabia.

Special Student Awards

Scott Arthur Hale of Muskego, Wisconsin, 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 Scott Hale's award.

Jake Loomis of Bradenton, 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 Jake Loomis's award.

Johnny Von Shawn Boykins 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 Johnny Boykins's award.

April Yvonne Glasco of Sarasota, 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 April Glasco's award.

Grace Ann Gair of Fort Myers, Florida, received the Ronald Wilson Memorial Award, which is presented to a senior student who has made a significant contribution to the total College community. Read more about Grace Gair's award.

Amanda Elaine Sciarrotta of Safety Harbor, Florida, 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 Amanda Sciarrotta's award.

Special Faculty Awards

Margaret R. Rigg, Professor Emerita of Visual Art, of St. Petersburg, Florida, received the John Satterfield Outstanding Mentor, which honors the special and vital role of the mentor in a student's life at Eckerd. The selection of the recipient is based on the impact the mentor has had in the areas of academic programming, career planning, and personal growth. Read more about Professor Emerita Rigg's award.

Alison Ormsby, Associate Professor of Environmental Studies, of St. Petersburg, Florida, received the Robert A. Staub Distinguished Teacher Award, which emphasizes the primary importance of teaching in the College, recognizes teaching excellence in an individual faculty member, and encourages the pursuit of teaching excellence by the faculty as a whole. Read more about Professor Ormsby's award.

Three Honorary Degree Recipients Reflect the College's Values

Congresswoman Kathy Castor, U.S. Representative for the 11th Congressional District of Florida, received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree. Congresswoman Castor has led a life dedicated to public service. She was previously a Hillsborough County Commissioner representing District, is the former President of the Florida Association of Women Lawyers and, in 2005, was named the Tampa Bay Business Journal's Woman of the Year in government. Over the years, Congresswoman Castor has built a strong record on health care reform, the protection of wetlands, the regulation of utilities, and the regulation of lobbyists and special interest groups. Click here for the complete text to Congresswoman Kathy Castor's honorary citation.

Roger John Porter M.D. '64, neurologist and pharmacologist primarily in the development of antiepileptic drugs, received an honorary Doctor of Science degree. Dr. Porter graduated from the founding class of Eckerd College, then Florida Presbyterian College, with a Bachelor of Science degree in biology. He received Eckerd's McArthur Outstanding Alumnus Award in 1977 and served on the Board of Trustees from 1994 to 1997. He is the former deputy-director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and President-Elect of the American Society for Experimental NeuroTherapeutics. A Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology, he is also a former research scientist with Wyeth-Ayerst Pharmaceuticals. Click here for the complete text to Dr. Porter's honorary citation.

Dr. Charles Mitchell Stripling III '68, a retired public school administrator and president of Stripling, Inc., a family farm corporation, received an honorary Doctor of Letters degree. Dr. Stripling graduated from Florida Presbyterian College, with high honors with a Bachelor of Arts degree in American History in 1968. In 1976, he was elected to serve as Superintendent of public schools in racially divided Mitchell County, Georgia. Dr. Stripling received Eckerd's McArthur Outstanding Alumnus Award in 1984. He is a member of the graduate faculty of the College of Education of historically black Albany State University, whose Educational Leadership Program has in recent years under his guidance trained many of the education administrators throughout the State of Georgia. Click here for the complete text to Dr. Stripling's honorary citation.
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