As many times as it has happened, it's never the same. Thus, Emory's 152nd commencement ceremony began as others have before, with the haunting lilt of bagpipes, the multi-hued procession of faculty, students and honored guests and the certainty of nervous, proud and relieved parents craning their necks for the best view.
But a new Chief Marshal, Ray DuVarney, opened the ceremony, by saying, "These procedings are now called to order. All please be seated."
University chaplain Susan Henry-Crowe delivered the invocation, pausing to remember Bishop William Cannon, former dean of the Candler School, who died Sunday, May 11. He was a "scholar, a churchman and deeply committed to Emory University," she said. "We are thankful for his life and all that he meant."
Introducing commencement speaker Christiane Amanpour, President Bill Chace said of the CNN correspondent, "Few people are better qualified to tell our students what the world holds in store from them and for us." Amanpour received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree during the ceremony, joined by alumnus and scholar J. Rogers Hollingsworth, who received a doctor of letters, and longtime Methodist Church and Emory leader Bishop L. Bevel Jones III, who received a doctor of divinity degree.
Emily Elizabeth Tripp, who graduated with both bachelor's and master's of arts degrees and a perfect 4.0 grade point average, won the Marion Luther Brittain Service Award (see story on p. 6). Tripp was termed "a phenomenon, a uniquely gifted person, the likes of whom we will never see again," said Vice President and Dean for Campus Life Frances Lucas-Tauchar, quoting a member of the Oxford College community.
Faculty award recipients included Elaine Walker, professor in the Departments of Psychology and Psychiatry, who won the University Scholar/Teacher Award, and Provost Billy Frye, who was presented with the Thomas Jefferson Award and a sonnet penned by his boss and friend, President Chace. Religion Professor Deborah Lipstadt, Biology Professor Ronald Calabrese, History and Political Science Professor Kenneth Stein and Law Professor Richard Freer were honored with the Emory Williams Award for Distinguished Teaching.
Dobbs Professor of Philosophy Tom Flynn received the first annual George P. Cuttino Award for Excellence in Faculty Mentoring. The award carries a cash prize and the gift of a heraldic medallion-to be designed later-in honor of Cuttino, whose love of English heraldry was well-known.
President Chace invoked the "Gettysburg rule" in addressing the crowd, promising to keep his remarks as brief as that famed address-271 words. "The rhythm of this ceremony thus reminds us that to be human is to teach," he said in part. "It is one of the oldest human skills. Loving parents have taught; they are here today to bear witness to their love. Skilled professors have taught; their students shine today. And now the world, with all its novel, exquisite and painful challenges, stands ready to carry on the great adventure of teaching in which Emory has been glad to take a part. May these students be prepared; may the world be merciful; may we here today be exhilarated."
Emory conferred 3,251 degrees to students from 46 states and 80 foreign nations. The majority of degrees, 55.5 percent, were awarded to women. The youngest degree recipient was a 19-year-old Emory College graduate; the oldest was a 69-year-old Candler School graduate who took home a master's in theological studies. All took their place among the more than 70,000 alumni already claimed by Emory.
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