The Rain It Raineth ...

For the first time in a decade, Commencement was rained out. It began to sprinkle Friday afternoon during the Baccalaureate service. By nightfall, it had become a drenching downpour, moving the Senior Soirée into the HUB. And it continued well into the next morning.
So everything moved into Johnston Hall, where there occurred one of the most seamless, hassle-free graduations to be held in Moravian's 260 years.

A new set-up helped. Instead of the stage's being at one end of the gym, as in 1992, it was placed along the north side. Those sitting in the south bleachers could see comfortably without getting a crick in the neck.

Any professor who has wondered whether the faculty address to the graduates goes in one ear and out the other might have been heartened by the Baccalaureate speech of the Rev. Carol Vogler '80, '86, a member of the governing body of the Moravian Church in Canada. She quoted from the commencement address given to her undergraduate class by Robert Stinson, professor of history: "You are going out into a world whose most obvious face is its mask." They had remained with her for 22 years, she said.

And Stinson, sitting up in the balcony with the Moravian College Choir, heard his words come back at him and tried to sink into the ground. Several helpful students, however, announced: "He's up here!"
This year's speakers to the graduating class were, for the bachelor's graduates, Kevin R. Bush, a prize-winning athlete and vice president of the senior class; for the master's graduates, Norman O'Shaughnessy; and, for the faculty, Steve R. Gordy, professor of religion.

The senior class speaker was to have been Allen H. Frank, but he had left campus a few days earlier to join the road company of Blast!, a stage extravaganza that is said to be for marching bands what Stomp is for street percussion. Frank plays the tuba, and jobs for his instrument are infrequent enough that he thought it best to take this one.

The Class of 2002 included Michael J. Sands, 18, who entered Moravian at 14 to study computer science. At an age when most teens are preparing to be undergraduates, he has a degree backed by a perfect 4.0 average.

The M.B.A. class included Frederick '82 and Teresa Sonn Smollinger '80, who put their belief in family togetherness to the test. In between degrees, they produced a set of twins, Max and Robert, who are destined for Moravian's Class of 2020.

The entire College rose to its feet for one new graduate: Christopher Pittman, a management major, who received his B.A. cum laude from a wheelchair.
The College bestowed honorary Doctor of Laws degrees on Curtis H. (Hank) Barnette, chairman emeritus of Bethlehem Steel, and Philip J. Erdle, president of the International Education Foundation and professor emeritus at the U.S. Air Force Academy.
Barnette is Comenius Professor of Leadership and executive-in-residence at the College. Erdle, a past member of the Board of Trustees (1998-2000), established the Carolyn Knies Erdle Fund for the College's President and the Alfred T. Williams Jr. Leadership Series.

The Seminary awarded honorary Doctor of Divinity degrees to two international religious leaders: Rev. Andrew A. Kyomo '75, who teaches pastoral theology at Makumira University College, Tumaini University, Tanzania, one of the largest theological seminaries in Africa; and Rev. Hans-Beat Motel, chair of the Unity Board, the governing body of the world's 19 Moravian Church provinces. Kyomo had the added pleasure of seeing his grand-nephew, Tuntufye Mwenisongole, receive his Master of Divinity degree.

Speakers at the Seminary's Commencement, by which time the rain had stopped and the sun had come out, were J. Christian Giesler, former chaplain of the College and Seminary, and Jami Possinger.

Last but not least, Commencement 2002 marked the first public performance of a new college song, "Proud Moravian," by Larry A. Lipkis, Bertha-Mae Starner '27 and Jay F. Starner Professor of Music and composer-in-residence, with words by his wife, Linda, an adjunct professor of English. How many of us know the origin of the current Moravian alma mater, "Old M.C."? It's sung to the tune of a popular song of the 1880s called "Annie Lisle," to words by J. Kenneth Pfohl of the Class of 1900. Best known as the tune of Cornell University's alma mater, it is also used by many of the high schools, colleges, and universities in the United States.