Bolt formally takes reins at Cecil College ceremony
First graduate to serve as president
— The Saturday before the latest crop of Cecil College graduates celebrated their achievements, the college celebrated its new president.
An investiture ceremony formally handed the power, duties and responsibilities of the president to Mary Way Bolt. After serving as interim president following W. Stephen Pannill’s departure,
Bolt began her presidency on July 30, 2015. She is the first Cecil College graduate to serve as president of the college.
“My vision for Cecil College is to respond to our existing student body and build the capacity for future needs for our students and for our employers,” Bolt said on Saturday. “This will not occur without institutional commitment, innovative strategies that respond to our existing and emerging conditions.”
The investiture ceremony occurs within the first year or at the end of the president’s term in office. During the ceremony, Bolt received the college’s presidential medallion during the ceremony, which symbolizes taking on the responsibilities to the college. The medallion has different symbols, including ducks, which stand for the Eastern Shore, Chesapeake Bay and the natural resources of the Bay. The second symbol is a torch, which stands for knowledge being passed on. Lastly, a map stands for the county.
Bolt said the college’s “greatest success” is ensuring students leave the college with the credentials to transfer to another school and seek and secure employment.
She said students will learn in adaptive and interactive environments, atmospheres and classrooms to create an engaging learning experience.
Bolt said “these strategies are realized in part by the college’s effort to continuously strengthen our community alliances” through public dialogue about education, among other ways.
Bolt said students will have handson experience through collaborative partnerships. She said the college will continue to create opportunities for students to be involved in their studies such as receive hands on work through programs such as internships, fieldwork, work experience and workplace projects, supported by local employers.
“A college education is an invest-
ment in the future and quality of life in our community,” Bolt said.
Several guests spoke during the ceremony, reminiscing and congratulating Bolt.
Christy Dryer, dean of nursing and health professions with the college, told a story about how she forgot to introduce Bolt during two pinning ceremonies. She said she apologized to Bolt both times, and Bolt was not upset or mad.
“After teasing me a little bit, she told me, ‘It’s OK. It’s not about me, it’s about the students.’ That statement sums up a lot about Dr. Mary Way Bolt. She truly does not feel it is about her, but it’s about the students, the faculty and the community,” Dryer said.
She said this story, as well as another time Bolt entertained Dryer’s young son while his sister was at dance class in the college’s theater, depict her as a kind person with a great sense of humor, among other positive traits.
Gabrielle Alexander, who graduated on Sunday with a degree in biology, said her time at the college has increased her confidence.
“Dr. Bolt’s passion for education and focus on the needs of the county, in
terms of skill gaps in the work place and workforce development, has made the value of a Cecil College degree so much richer,” Alexander said.
Sarah Colenda, chair of the college’s board of trustees, said the board received many applications for the presidency, but Bolt “rose to the top throughout the process.”
Bolt has not only been a student with the college, but has held numerous jobs within the college, earning the respect of many.
She received her associate’s degree in nursing from Cecil College in 1986. Bolt then went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County; a master’s degree from University of Maryland, Baltimore; and a doctorate in higher education and leadership from Widener University.
Bolt grew up in Conowingo and graduated from Rising Sun High School. She lives in Colora with her daughter, Emily, and son, Daniel.
Referencing the students who tell their Cecil stories each month during the board’s monthly meetings, Colenda said: “I believe Dr. Bolt is our Cecil story.”
Cecil College graduates Stephanie Forrest and Elizabeth White pose outside the college on Sunday afternoon.