Thousands salute UDs 155th spring Commencement
Thousands of family members and friends streamed into the stadium as early as 7 a.m., two hours before the formal event began with Pomp and Circumstance as members of the Class of 2004 entered the stadium to cheers, waves and bright signs that sparkled in the sun. Lauren, love you, read one.
The soon-to-be alumni were followed by representatives of the classes of the 1930s through 2003. The procession included 42 parents and two grandparents of graduating seniors and 10 members of the 50th reunion class of 1954.
Leading the procession of alumni delegates were Patricia Cordes and Charles Collins-Chase, recipients of the 2004 Alumni Associations Warner and Taylor awards, which recognize the outstanding senior woman and man.
The ceremony opened with a moment of silence during the presentation of the colors by members of the University of Delaware Air Force and Army ROTC. UD President David P. Roselle also paid tribute to the 48 students and five employees whose Reserve or National Guard units have been called to active military duty in Iraq.
Colorful flags of the home 50 states and 130 countries represented by the student body were displayed on the field, and graduates who participated in study abroad during their undergraduate studies wore sashes that featured the colors of the flags of the countries where they studied.
Conferred were 192 doctoral, 718 masters, 10 associates and 3,649 bachelors degrees earned during the past academic year. Kate Stark, of Wilmington, and Stefanie Perri, of Haverford, Pa., were recognized for achieving the highest grade point average4.0in full-time study at UD.
The graduates, between the ages of 20 and 65, included five sets of twins and one set of triplets.
Today is a doubly happy day for the Breault, Gordon, Herrmann, Santoro, and Schenkel families, who have twins graduating, Roselle said. And today is a triply happy day for the Muchnick family, whose triplets, Jordan, Seth and Lauren, are graduating.
Kathy Washall, whose daughter, Megan Washall, earned a degree in finance, said the good weather made it a special day for her family.
We are really glad the weather is nice because when our son graduated a few years ago, it was pouring rain and we opted out of the big one, Washall, of Newark, said.
Cristobal Pacheco, whose family emigrated from Chile eight years ago and moved to Newark, said the ceremony was a proud moment for his mother, Scarlet Galvez, and the whole family.
For some students, the celebration extended beyond academics.
Its a new beginning for my career, Wen Wu Cui, of Wilmington, who earned a doctorate in biological sciences, said. My wife had a baby girl yesterday. I got only a few hours sleep. It is very good things coming together.
Stephanie Lucyk from Conyngham, Pa., celebrated her graduation with two grandmothers, Louise King and Lucy Lucyk, her father, Dan Lucyk, sister Heather, and an aunt, Pauline Gargasz.
Shes my little girl, King said of Lucyk. I brought her home when she only weighed four pounds.
Kevin Tressler from Philadelphia said his four years at UD went too fast.
U.S. Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr., who delivered the Commencement address, received an honorary degree from Howard Cosgrove, chairman of UDs Board of Trustees.
Alli Garwood and Amy Bouza, representatives of the senior class, announced that they collected more than $25,600 in gifts and pledges to help replace the century-old linden trees in front of Old College on the Newark campus that were destroyed by Hurricane Isabel last fall.
All of you bring your own set of identifying characteristics and experiences to this celebration today, Roselle said. All of you set forth today on a path even more remarkable than the one that brought you here. All of you will meet challenges. I hope you will face them with the tools you have acquired at the University of Delaware and make better lives for yourselves and for the people of our world.
Article by Martin Mbugua
Photos by Kathy Atkinson, Greg Drew, Duane Perry and Kevin Quinlan
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