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2010 News Releases
Longwood awards 994 degrees at Commencement 2010
May 8, 2010
Longwood University graduates were urged at commencement to become leaders who will pursue "the joyful use of self to better the human condition."
"Leadership is a privilege, the privilege of serving others, of serving society," Longwood President Patricia Cormier told the 798 graduates who received bachelor's degrees and the 196 graduates who received master's degrees May 8.
"Leadership is not about wealth, recognition, power, and prestige; indeed, ultimately it is not about material or worldly things at all," said Dr. Cormier, who is retiring June 30 after 14 years as Longwood's president. "It is about knowing who you are, what your unique gifts are - we all have them - and applying those gifts to a life of service. The value, the ethic that I believe defines true leadership is service, service to others, service to the common good."
In the commencement ceremony, Dr. Cormier was conferred with President Emerita status by the Board of Visitors, and her husband, Dr. Raymond Cormier, visiting professor of French at Longwood and self-described "First Gent," was awarded First Gent Emeritus status.
Also, Barry J. Case of Midlothian, former rector of the Longwood Board of Visitors and chair of the presidential search committee that selected Dr. Cormier's successor in March, was given the Presidential Distinguished Service Award. Case served on the Board from 2001 to 2009 and was rector from 2003 to 2005.
Ashley Elizabeth Lauer of Glen Allen, who earned a B.S. in political science, and Jobeth Michelle Cole (B.A. in English) of Virgilina shared the Sally Barksdale Hargrett Prize for Academic Excellence, given to the graduating senior with the highest grade-point average. Both graduated with a perfect 4.0 GPA.
T. Jordan Miles III, a history major and political science and geography minor from Dillwyn, received the Dan Daniel Senior Award for Scholarship and Citizenship.
Dr. Ryan Hebert, assistant professor of music and director of choral music, received the Student-Faculty Recognition Award, which honors a faculty member for professional excellence and devoted service to students.
In Dr. Cormier's remarks, which focused on the lessons she has learned as Longwood's president, she spoke of the citizen leadership that her presidency has emphasized, which she described as "a responsibility to live a life that is of benefit to more than just oneself."
"Your education at Longwood prepared you not only for your career but for your 'job' as citizens of the world," she said. "One of the transcending historical characteristics of American higher education is a pronounced emphasis on social responsibility. Here at Longwood we call this Citizen Leadership. I hope that you have taken from your time at Longwood a tremendous pride in the fact that your education has gone well beyond book learning, stressing that any knowledge you accumulate, any skill you develop, is ultimately useless unless it is employed in a meaningful and beneficial manner."
Dr. Cormier also urged the graduates to acknowledge the past while looking to the future, to maintain balance in their lives, and if faced with a crisis, such as Longwood's Great Fire of 2001, to respond with "strength and confidence" and to use it as a defining moment.
"We were able to use the fire to reinforce our community, to remind everyone that we are a family, that our campus is more than just bricks and mortar, but that we can all pull together after a tragedy. Throughout my years at Longwood, we have been tested several times, but the way our community pulls together reinforces for me why Longwood is such a special place."
Dr. Cormier thanked the graduates "for the lessons you have taught me. You have shown me how to embrace life with enthusiasm, how to be unafraid to try new things, how to work hard for an ultimate reward, how to be a good friend, and how to be a good communicator. I will always remember our time together and the lessons that I have learned from you."
Commencement 2010 Photo Gallery