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Bethlehem, Pa., May 7, 2014—Moravian College will hold commencement exercises on Saturday, May 10, beginning at 10 a.m., in the outdoor quadrangle behind the Haupert Union Building on the Main Street Campus. The ceremony will conclude the 272nd academic year at Moravian, America’s sixth-oldest college. In the event of rain, the program will be held in Johnston Hall. Moravian College President Bryon L. Grigsby ’90 will confer degrees to approximately 389 bachelor degree candidates, 19 Master of Business Administration degree candidates, and 10 Master of Education degree candidates, 6 Master of Science degree candidates, and 4 Master of Science in Human Resource Management candidates.
In honor of a longstanding Moravian College tradition, the graduating class elected a student and a faculty member to speak at the commencement ceremony. Anders Engman, double majoring in psychology and sociology with a concentration in pre-law will serve as the Class Student Speaker for 2014. Engman explained that his speech’s message is based around the idea of “looking ahead and living an ethical and fulfilling life,” he said. “I hope to convey these pillars of conduct and character because I believe in a greater good and that greater good is only achieved through the collaboration of many separate individuals toward a common understanding: Life itself can be profound and wonderful as long as we let it, as long as we don't distract or inhibit ourselves or others.”
The graduating class recently elected faculty member Robert Mayer, professor of education and a member of the College faculty for 27 years, to give the Statement to the Graduates. Mayer teaches courses on multicultural and philosophical foundations of education as well as courses on reflective approaches to teaching for all secondary teachers and for social studies teachers. Dr. Mayer spends his springs in schools supervising student teachers. He also teaches a variety of courses in the Colleges M.Ed. program. Beyond teaching, Mayer has published two books for young people, The Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Greenhaven Press), a book he edited, and When the Children Marched: The Birmingham Civil Rights Movement (Enslow Publishers). Both won the Carter G. Woodson Award from the National Council for the Social Studies. He has also written for Cobblestone, a magazine of history. His primary research interest is in the area of teaching history. Mayer has published articles about teaching history in The Social Studies, Social Education, and the Magazine of History and more general articles on teaching in Teaching Education and Teacher Education Quarterly.
From the Comenius Center, M.Ed. degree candidate William Neal (Bethlehem, Pa.) was selected to deliver the statement of the Master’s Graduates. Neal, a curriculum and instruction/reading specialist certification student in the Master of Education program, is currently a fifth grade teacher in the Northampton Area School District and is the Assistant Men’s Tennis Coach at Moravian College. He received his Bachelor of Arts in elementary and special education from DeSales University.
There are a number of remarkable graduates in the Class of 2014 including Shane Burcaw (Bethlehem, Pa.), who has spinal muscular atrophy, a genetic disease that causes progressive muscular degeneration. Burcaw has turned his unique sense of humor into an inspirational blog "Laughing at My Nightmare" that was launched in 2011 and now reaches more than 500,000 readers. Despite the difficult circumstances, Burcaw is motivated by a passion for making people laugh and unfailing optimism. He has traveled the country as a motivational speaker, helping others understand how a positive attitude and sense of humor can be life changing. He is currently working on a book, Laughing at my Nightmare (Roaring Brook Press). He continues to give back through his nonprofit organization, "Laughing At My Nightmare", which raises money to support Muscular Dystrophy research. Burcaw's story has been featured on Katie Couric, in the Huffington Post and on SoulPancake. In 2013, he was the subject of a video that won a Mid-Atlantic Emmy Award by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in the “Human Interest - Program Feature/Segment” category for his video, "Happiness is Always an Option."
Three area students will graduate with two degrees: Stephanie L. Christ, cum laude, B.A. in English, B.S. in biology, with Honors in biology (Bethlehem, Pa.); Rameet Kaur, B.A. in art, B.S. in computer science (Easton, Pa.); and Brian Matthew Welsko, cum laude, B.A. in philosophy, B.S. in neuroscience (Nazareth, Pa.). Note to editors: A list of graduates by state and hometown will be sent on Friday, May 9, 2014.
The Moravian College baccalaureate service is scheduled for Friday, May 9, at 5 p.m., in Central Moravian Church, Bethlehem, Pa. The honored speaker will be Dr. Kelly Denton-Borhaug. professor in the Religion Department for nine years, and more recently, in the Peace and Justice Studies Program at Moravian College. She teaches contemporary Christian ethics and theology, in courses such as "Theology and Culture: Searching for God in a (Post)modern World" and "Jesus Saves? Salvation Metaphors in Christian Thought". Her research, writing and activism for many years have investigated U.S. war-culture and prospects for encouraging peace building; she recently authored U.S. War-culture, Sacrifice and Salvation. Her talk is titled, “On Love” will reflect the gratitude for encounters with beauty, truth and love in life, teaching, learning and scholarship; and she is thankful for the ways many Moravian College students have helped her to grow as a scholar, teacher, and friend.
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