180 grad­u­ate from Ch­e­sa­peake Col­lege

Record Observer - - School - By DENAE SPIERING dspier­ing@ches­pub.com

WYE MILLS — “May you live in in­ter­est­ing times,” com­mence­ment speaker Dr. David J. Sko­r­ton said Wed­nes­day, May 24, at the 49th Ch­e­sa­peake Col­lege grad­u­a­tion cer­e­mony in Wye Mills.

“This is a big day,” Sko­r­ton said. “Not our day — it is your day.”

The cer­e­mony be­gan at 6 p.m. in the Todd Per­form­ing Arts Cen­ter, where more than 180 grad­u­ates walked across the stage to ac­cept their de­grees.

Sko­r­ton is the 13th sec­re­tary of the Smith­so­nian In­sti­tu­tion, and over­sees 19 mu­se­ums and gal­leries, 20 li­braries, the Na­tional Zoo and nu­mer­ous re­search cen­ters. He is a board-cer­ti­fied car­di­ol­o­gist and a pro­fes­sor at Ge­orge­town Univer­sity, and pre­vi­ously served as pres­i­dent of Cor­nell Univer­sity.

Sko­r­ton de­liv­ered a mes­sage of hope to the grad­u­ates, who are in what he called “try­ing times.”

He be­gan his com­mence­ment speech with the quote once used by Pres­i­dent John F. Kennedy and ex­plained how it is easy to be­come dis­cour­aged in the present state of world.

He spoke about cli­mate change, the job mar­ket and the hy­per­par­ti­san state of the gov­ern­ment.

“It is all too easy to be­come dis­cour­aged,” Sko­r­ton said. “How­ever, th­ese are in­ter­est­ing times; they hold great prom­ise for all of us.”

“Be­fore you feel the rush to prove my op­ti­mism is cor­rect,” Sko­r­ton said, “I want to tell you why I have so much hope for our fu­ture.”

He listed statis­tics re­gard­ing col­lege grad­u­ates, specif­i­cally those with as­so­ci­ate de­grees and how those de­grees and fields are of great value to the econ­omy.

“Col­leges like Ch­e­sa­peake play a crit­i­cal role for their stu­dents, for their com­mu­ni­ties, for their coun­try,” Sko­r­ton said.

He left the grad­u­ates with three as­sign­ments for their fu­ture.

“Imag­ine the world as you would like it to be in five years, 10 years,” Sko­r­ton said. “Then fig­ure out how to get us there.”

“Please do not let life’s in­evitable changes dis­suade you from mak­ing a dif­fer­ence,” Sko­r­ton said. “Fi­nally, be adapt­able and do not be­come cyn­i­cal.”

Fol­low­ing the com­mence­ment speech, col­lege trus­tee Don Bradley pre­sented Ti­mothy Dig­nen with the John T. Har­ri­son Award.

Dig­nen spoke about his jour­ney to col­lege and his plans for the fu­ture. He thanked Dr. Bar­bara Viniar, pres­i­dent of Ch­e­sa­peake Col­lege, along with fac­ulty, staff and Har­ri­son for hon­or­ing him with the award.

The pre­sen­ta­tion of can­di­dates was con­ducted by Dr. Clay Rai­ley III, vice pres­i­dent for work­force and aca­demic pro­grams.

Viniar and alum­nus Robert Shee­han con­ferred the de­grees to the grad­u­ates.

This was the last grad­u­a­tion Viniar will over­see at Ch­e­sa­peake. Her term as pres­i­dent ends July 1. She served as pres­i­dent for the past nine years.

She told the grad­u­ates how much it meant to her to see them com­plete their jour­ney at Ch­e­sa­peake.

She said her heart was over­flow­ing know­ing this would be her last class to see grad­u­ate.

“I loved ev­ery minute of my time here,” Viniar said. “Grad­u­a­tion is my fa­vorite day of the year.”

“Through­out the year, it is all about bud­gets and meet­ings,” Viniar said. “It can be easy to for­get why we are here, but then grad­u­a­tion comes and we re­mem­ber.”

Like many com­mu­nity col­leges, Ch­e­sa­peake en­rolls a di­verse range of stu­dents; some in­di­vid­u­als are just start­ing their jour­ney as adults, while oth­ers may be rais­ing a fam­ily while pur­su­ing their dreams.

Cathi Ro­mag­nano is 20 years old and orig­i­nally from Ser­vena Park. She cur­rently lives in Eas­ton and grad­u­ated with her de­gree in gen­eral col­lege stud­ies.

Ro­mag­nano will at­tend Sal­is­bury Univer­sity in the fall and will pur­sue a bach­e­lor’s de­gree in bi­ol­ogy. She said her fo­cus even­tu­ally will be in the med­i­cal field.

In ad­di­tion to earn­ing her de­gree at Ch­e­sa­peake, Ro­mag­nano was a cen­ter fielder for the col­lege’s soft­ball team, the Skip­jacks.

Lau­rie Davis of Greens­boro is a wife and mom of three. She has op­er­ated a day care in her home for sev­eral years. Davis grad­u­ated with her as­so­ci­ate’s de­gree in early child­hood de­vel­op­ment and plans to open her own day care cen­ter.

She said as a mom and some­one run­ning a busi­ness full time, she some­times found col­lege life to be hard and stress­ful, but she was de­ter­mined to achieve her goals.

Davis said she en­joyed her ex­pe­ri­ence at Ch­e­sa­peake, specif­i­cally her pro­fes­sor, Sarah Ross.

Her hus­band, Frank Davis, said it was hard at times for his wife to jug­gle work, fam­ily and col­lege but he was proud of her ded­i­ca­tion.

“I am re­ally ex­cited for her to take the next step,” Frank Davis said. “She has in­cred­i­ble de­ter­mi­na­tion.”

Then there are grad­u­ates like Sonya Somerville, who re­minds the world that age does not mat­ter.

Somerville is a proud 54-year-old grad­u­ate who earned her de­gree in hu­man ser­vices, men­tal health, and said her time at Ch­e­sa­peake has been a bless­ing.

She cur­rently vol­un­teers at the A.F. Whit­sitt Cen­ter in Ch­ester­town and plans to pur­sue a fu­ture in her field.

“The race isn’t given to the swift or the strong,” Somerville said, “but to those who en­dure.”


On Wed­nes­day, May 24, Ch­e­sa­peake Col­lege held its 49th grad­u­a­tion com­mence­ment. Over a 180 stu­dents walked across the stage to re­ceive their de­grees. Above, Lisa Marie Young is the last to cross the stage and gives a cel­e­bra­tory fist pump as she she left walk in front of her fel­low grad­u­ates.

On Wed­nes­day, May 24, Ch­e­sa­peake Col­lege held its 49th grad­u­a­tion com­mence­ment. More than 180 stu­dents walked across the stage to re­ceive their de­grees.

On Wed­nes­day, May 24, Ch­e­sa­peake Col­lege held its 49th grad­u­a­tion com­mence­ment. More than 180 stu­dents walked across the stage to re­ceive their de­grees. Above, Michele Danae Emory re­ceives her de­gree from Dr. Bar­bara Viniar.

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