CSM Celebrates 15th Winter Commencement

CSM awarded 625 associate degrees and 298 certificates at its 15th winter commencement. The ceremony marked CSM’s milestone of its largest winter graduating class.

Ceremony Marks Largest Winter Class with 649 Graduate Candidates

The College of Southern Maryland (CSM) recognized 649 candidates for degrees and certificates during its 15th Winter Commencement held Jan. 16 at the La Plata Campus.

“Each one of our graduates has a story and we are proud of each and every one of them. Each one has so much potential and it is our responsibility to prepare them to be successful in achieving their future goals,” said CSM President Dr. Brad Gottfried.

Gottfried told students that he is impressed at the perseverance of students who have completed their studies while working, raising families and volunteering in the community.

“You have chosen to make sacrifices in your life now in order to invest in a more promising future. We hope you stay part of this college, your college, and to your community. This is now your alma mater and we take great pride in your accomplishments,” Gottfried said.

            The college awarded 625 associate degrees and 298 certificates: 40.4 percent of the students receiving awards are from Charles County, 30.2 percent are from St. Mary’s County and 24.7 percent are from Calvert County while 4.8 percent are from outside of the region. One-quarter of all associate's degree candidates for graduation earned a 3.5 grade point average or higher.

The ceremony marked CSM’s milestone of its largest winter graduating class. Associate degrees were awarded predominantly in the fields of general studies, business administration, and arts and sciences, while general studies: transfer and advanced and basic accounting topped the list as the most popular certificates. Of the graduates, more than 64 percent are female, the oldest graduate is 71 and the youngest graduate is 17.

Oldest Graduate

Graduate Eileene Zimmer, of Waldorf, at age 71 earned an associate degree in Arts and Sciences: Mathematics/Physics. Although Zimmer previously had earned a bachelor's degree in food science and nutrition from Brigham Young University in Utah and a master's degree in industrial and labor relations from Cornell University in New York, she wanted to pursue a field that she had struggled with at the beginning of her academic pursuits.

            “I stopped taking math after not doing well in pre-calculus [in my early college experience]. I thought I would try to go back and try again after receiving a notice for an open house at CSM,” said Zimmer. In January 2011, she registered for college algebra.

            Zimmer received support from her four sons. “One said, 'Why are you doing this?' and one I inspired to return to give calculus another chance,” said Zimmer. Another son is a mathematics instructor who she will lean on when she returns to CSM to take a course in linear algebra this spring. Zimmer said that she wants to be an example to her grandchildren that learning doesn't end when you have a family—learning doesn't ever have to end.

            Zimmer is applying for tutoring jobs and when she completes the second part of “Concepts of Geometry and Algebra for Teachers” she hopes to teach math at a middle school.

 

Youngest Graduate

The youngest student, Magen Stempin, 17, of La Plata, got an early start in her collegiate academic pursuits. When she was in sixth grade, she read about a program at Mary Baldwin College (MBC), west of Charlottesville, Va., where students could begin college after middle school through a middle college type of program. With the help of her seventh grade teacher Mrs. Walent and the permission of her parents, Stempin headed for MBC after completing Milton Somers Middle School.

            Stempin has been passionate about literature and writing since seventh grade, she said. She transfered to CSM in fall 2012. She appreciates Associate Professor Erich Hintze as a mentor and an inspiration. “He guided me and helped me blossom as a writer,” said Stempin, who registered for an English class with Hintze as an elective after meeting her requirements. She earned an associate degree in General Studies: English.

            Stempin is considering colleges that offer anthropology so that she can become proficient in science writing.  

 

Student Speaker

Giving the student address was Winter 2014 Graduate Austin Rick, of Waldorf, who told his fellow graduates that among his favorite quotes is, “The biggest room in the world is the room for improvement. Good, better, best, never let it rest until your good is better and your better is best. Always make room in your life for improvement.”

“We can make ourselves into whatever we wish. The formula is simple: recognize possibility, envision success, pursue relentlessly—and swing wide open the door to the biggest room in the world,” he said.

 

Keynote Speaker Vice Adm. David Dunaway

Commencement keynote speaker Vice Adm. David Dunaway, commander, Naval Air Systems Command headquartered at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, told graduates and guests that America’s founding fathers were smart as they placed into the Constitution checks and balances to keep the country focused on individual liberties—life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. “[As citizens] we are entitled to opportunity. We do our best work when we are service-oriented; when we serve each other more than we serve ourselves. We do our worst work when we are greedy.”

            Dunaway offered students advice using three themes: tribalism, oysters and buffalo herds. On tribalism, Dunaway said that people break off into their own tribes such as when rooting for their football team, but will come together as a larger tribe when rooting for the country as in supporting the United States at the Olympics. On oysters, Dunaway said that when he sees oysters, he marvels at the first person to have cracked one open and eaten what was, unappealingly, inside. “Who did that? Because that person is the kind of person I want on my team. They did not see the crust, they did not see the slime,” said Dunaway of people who are bold and innovative, curious people. Finally, on buffalo herds, Dunaway said that the lesson comes in two points. “One, if you are the lead buffalo, follow the path that keeps your herd from running off a cliff. If you’re a following buffalo, don’t fall down.” Dunaway said that the three items provide good analogies about life, that tribalism is about healthy competition, that oysters are about learning, innovation and being bold, and that buffalo herds are about being a good leader and a good follower. For more on Dunaway, visit http://www.csmd.edu/news/archive/2014/b90d68d8a858ea9bf8deaa1389db40b587b524f2.html

           

Trustees’ Distinguished Service Awards

            The Board of Trustees recognized former Trustee MacArthur Jones and former Board Chair Austin J. Slater Jr. for their service to the college.

            Jones was an educator in the Calvert County Public School System for more than 30 years where his activities still resonate today, said Middleton. He served on the college's Board of Trustees from 2003-13, serving as vice chair from 2007-09. He also served as the trustee liaison to the CSM Foundation Board 2008-10. During this time the foundation launched its 50th anniversary major gifts campaign with a goal of raising $5 million. With the direction and support of Jones and the foundation board, the foundation exceeded the goal and raised $7.7 million.

            “MacArthur Jones has been a solid rock to this college. He is always there when you need him and has the wisdom that helped shape the direction and future of CSM and we thank him for his years of dedicated service,” said Middleton.

Slater, president and CEO of Southern Maryland Electric Co-op (SMECO), is a 1974 alumnus of CSM, formerly Charles County Community College, and he sat where graduates are sitting tonight, Middleton said to CSM’s winter graduating class. “He recalls getting a job right out of high school and realizing that he needed an education to become successful. After working long hours during the day, Joe would come to the college at night, in his muddy boots and work clothes, to get his education. He credits the college for much of his success,” said Middleton.

Slater served as a trustee from 2008 to 2013 and as the chair, 2012-2013.

 

Faculty Excellence Award Honoring Adjunct Faculty

            The annual Faculty Excellence Award Honoring Adjunct Faculty was presented to Early Childhood Education Instructor Yvette M. Dodson who is in her 16th year with CSM. “Ms. Dodson has developed most of the materials in the courses she teaches. These courses have been developed and are taught based not only on her experience with children—she’s a mother of seven—but on her research and understanding of ‘Brain-Based Learning Theory and Universal Design for Learning’,” said CSM Faculty Senate President Mike Green.

Nursing Recognition

The 10th winter class of nursing students participated in the inaugural Alpha Omega Chapter of the Alpha Delta NU Honor Society induction ceremony and a recognition ceremony earlier in the day. Health Sciences Chair Dr. Laura Polk presented an Academic Achievement in Nursing Award to Carrie Catalan, of Waldorf, who graduated with high honors. Adriene Braccialarghe-Vallejo, of Waldorf, received the Achievement in Nursing Award which is given to a student who has demonstrated advanced clinical competence, service and dedication to the community, leadership within and outside of the classroom, and academic excellence.

 

Winter Commencement Candidates for Graduation

The following students were recognized as candidates for associate’s degrees or certificates at the commencement ceremony: (See attached listing)

For photos and additional stories from commencement, visit http://csmphoto.zenfolio.com/14jangrad/h1beb3c4b#hdf99670

For information about the college, call 301-934-7765 or 301-870-2309, 240-725-5499 or 443-550-6199, Ext. 7765 or visit www.csmd.edu.

 

CAPTIONS

15th Winter Commencement

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CSM’s 15th Winter Commencement processional was led by Senior Coordinator, Transfer Services and Articulation James Spence and CSM President Dr. Brad Gottfried. The caps, gowns and hoods worn at college and university functions date to the Middle Ages when monks and students wore them to keep warm in the damp and drafty 12th-century castles and halls of learning.

 

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CSM's Solid Brass jazz ensemble, led by Randy Runyon, plays “Pomp and Circumstance” as the processional of candidates for graduation enters the gym for the 15th Winter Commencement Jan. 16 in La Plata.

 

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Nursing graduates show off their decorated caps as they process for the start of the 15th Winter Commencement ceremony. Earlier they attended the Nursing Recognition ceremony when they received their nursing pins.

 

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CSM awarded 625 associate degrees and 298 certificates: 40.4 percent of the students receiving awards are from Charles County, 30.2 percent are from St. Mary’s County and 24.7 percent are from Calvert County while 4.8 percent are from outside of the region. One-quarter of all associate's degree candidates for graduation earned a 3.5 grade point average or higher.

The ceremony marked CSM’s milestone of its largest winter graduating class. Associate degrees were awarded predominantly in the fields of general studies, business administration, and arts and sciences, while general studies: transfer and advanced and basic accounting topped the list as the most popular certificates. Of the graduates, more than 64 percent are female, the oldest graduate is 71 and the youngest is 17.

 

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CSM student Henry Boyles, of Leonardtown, sang the National Anthem at CSM’s Winter Commencement.

 

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CSM President Dr. Brad Gottfried welcomed graduates and guests to the 15th Winter Commencement Jan. 16 to celebrate nearly 200 of the 649 graduate candidates who participated in the evening ceremony.

 

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Giving the student address was CSM Winter 2014 graduate Austin Rick of Waldorf, who told his fellow graduates, “It is a great honor to stand here tonight, and to celebrate our important achievement. As graduates, we have faced uncertainty and we have overcome challenges.

 

For as long as I can remember, music was my life. I was disinterested in college, and wanted nothing to do with the boring, everyday workforce. I saw for myself a future far greater. During high school, I took extended excused absences so I could travel to Nashville to work on my first studio album. For five years following high school, I traveled and performed. I recorded music and I signed autographs—lots of them. I thought myself invincible. I called my own shots, and I answered to no one but myself.

 

This world—these artificial realities in which I resided—would eventually come crashing down. Then my life changed forever.

 

In a chance conversation with my cousin, Ashley, I was asked if I had ever considered returning to school. I laughed. I didn’t fit my own image of an undergraduate student

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