Centre College sets May 28 commencement
DANVILLE, KY - Centre College will hold commencement exercises on Sunday, May 28, and in a shift from recent tradition, the program will feature an address by a graduating senior and a member of the college faculty. Shavonne Smith of San Antonio, Texas, has been selected as the student speaker, and the faculty speaker will be Larry Matheny, Harlan Professor of Government.
The college will recognize 226 candidates for bachelor's degrees and will confer three honorary degrees. The honorary degree recipients are Tori Murden-McClure, the Louisville woman who rowed across the Atlantic Ocean; Wendell Ford, retired U.S. Senator from Kentucky; and Ron Mazzoli, retired U.S. Congressman from Kentucky.
Commencement activities will begin with an 11 a.m. baccalaureate service in Newlin Hall of the Norton Center for the Arts. The service is free and open to the public at no cost, although seating will be limited. The Centre graduation exercises will begin at 3 p.m. in Newlin Hall. All seats are reserved for Centre seniors and their families.
Murden-McClure will deliver the baccalaureate sermon. She earned international acclaim on Dec. 3, 1999, when she rowed into Guadalupe in the Caribbean to complete a 3,333-mile journey. She previously had become the first American to ski to the geographic South Pole and the first American to successfully climb Antarctica's Lewis Nunatuk summit.
A graduate of Collegiate High School in Louisville, Murden-McClure earned a master of divinity degree from Harvard. While there, she served as a counselor at Boston City Hospital and worked at a homeless services center. More recently, she completed a law degree at the University of Louisville and was admitted to the Kentucky bar. In Louisville, she has worked as a project coordinator for public policy in the Louisville mayor's office. In 1999, she joined the staff of the Muhammad Ali Center as the development director.
Smith, the Centre senior speaker, is an honor student who recently was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. She is completing a double major in anthropology/sociology and Spanish. Smith completed overseas study programs in Africa, Ecuador and Mexico, and she was chosen as Centre's first student writer for the "On Campus" page of the Lexington Herald-Leader.
Matheny has taught at Centre since 1966 and is considered one of the college's most distinguished and sought-after teachers. He has received the David Hughes Memorial Award for excellence in teaching. A veteran of study abroad in Oxford, London, Edinburgh, and Dublin, he has been associate dean at Centre and has chaired the college's government program. Matheny has led travel-study programs in London and has taught seminars at Oxford University and St. John's College. He received his bachelor's degree with honors from the University of Virginia, where he also earned a doctorate.
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Public information coordinator: Patsi Barnes Trollinger