Speeches & Remarks
Honorary Degree Recipients
At Eckerd College's 47th Commencement on May 23, 2010, 594 graduates were, in the words of retiring Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty Dr. Lloyd W. Chapin, "welcomed into the company of educated men and women."
The 417 graduates from the Residential Program and the 177 graduates from the Program for Experienced Learners (PEL) adult degree program received their bachelor's degrees in arts and sciences. The graduates hailed from 38 states, including 280 from the State of Florida, and 14 countries, including Brazil, South Korea, the Philippines, Italy, the Dominican Republic, and Romania.
General David H. Petraeus, Commander of the United States Central Command headquarted at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Fla., delivered this year's Commencement address to an audience of nearly 5,000 people.
During his welcoming remarks, Eckerd President Dr. Donald R. Eastman III noted, "This ceremony is called a 'commencement'. We celebrate not only what will end today, but what is to begin today." This sentiment rang true for Dean Chapin, for which Sunday's ceremony marked his final Commencement after 31 years of service as Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty.
As residential student speaker Charlie Gilbert expressed, "I want to recognize Dean Chapin for being a tremendous source of guidance and knowledge for the Eckerd community over the last 31 years. We will miss you greatly, but we wish you all the best in your post-Eckerd world."
Special student awards were presented to graduates Kelli Barr, Stacey Burke, Caitlin Meehan-Draper, Amber Robinson, Donna Knudsen, and James Yanacheck. Barnet Hartston, Associate Professor of History, received The Robert A. Staub Distinguished Teacher Award.
General Petraeus, Dr. Carlos Barbas III '85 and Eckerd trustee Mrs. Martha Rudy Wallace were awarded honorary degrees. The tables were turned on a surprised Dean Chapin, when Eckerd Trustee Helmar Nielsen announced the Board's approval of the conferral of an honorary degree on Dean Chapin. The presentation was received with a standing ovation.
And the tie that binds a decorated four-star general, a long-serving academic dean, an innovative chemist and molecular biologist, a revered community leader, and hundreds of ambitious graduating seniors? A dream that is realized with discipline.
PEL student speaker Thomas Stovall, who first stepped onto the campus in 1970 when it was still Florida Presbyterian College, shared, "Discipline (is) the backbone of every soldier, the secret of each successful artist, and the hallmark of every college graduate." Thomas continued, "For some of us it took longer to develop the discipline to complete our education. We will take our hard-won discipline with us as we journey ahead."
Congratulations, 2010 graduates, as you journey ahead. This ending is only the beginning!