Washington and Lee Celebrates Commencement, Baccalaureate
Washington and Lee University celebrates its 225th undergraduate commencement on Thursday, May 24, by awarding bachelor’s degrees to slightly more than 400 students.
The ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. on the historic Front Lawn in front of Lee Chapel. Washington and Lee President Kenneth P. Ruscio will address the graduates. Scott McClintock, the president of the Executive Committee of the student body and a politics major from Tunica, Miss., will speak on behalf of his classmates.
The commencement festivities will begin on Wednesday, May 23, with the traditional baccalaureate service, also held on the Front Lawn, at 10 a.m.
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The Rev. Dr. Christoph Keller III, director of the Institute for Theological Studies at St. Margaret’s in Little Rock, Ark., will be the featured baccalaureate speaker. He is an Episcopal priest and a theologian. After receiving a bachelor’s degree from Amherst College and a master of divinity from the Episcopal Divinity School, he served for 16 years in parish ministry and as canon missioner of the Diocese of Arkansas. In 1991, he started St. Margaret’s Church in Little Rock, initially conducting services in a bargain-movie theater. In 1999, he moved with his family to New York to pursue advanced study in theology, which resulted in his receiving a doctor of theology degree in Anglican studies from General Theological Seminary.
His daughter, Mary Olive Keller, is a member of the Class of 2012. His father, the late Rt. Rev. Christoph Keller Jr., was a member of the W&L Class of 1939 and served as bishop of Arkansas from 1970 to 1981.
In the event of rain, the events will be in Cameron Hall at Virginia Military Institute.
During the commencement ceremony, the University will recognize five retiring members of the faculty: Denis Brion, professor of law; Michael J. Evans, the Lillian and Rupert Radford Professor of Mathematics; Frank Miriello, head football coach; Gordon Spice, the Edwin A. Morris Endowed Professor of Music; and Cecile West-Settle, professor of Spanish. Altogether, those five have served the University for a combined total of 135 years.
Included among this year’s seniors will be 14 who are receiving both a bachelor of science and a bachelor of arts. In addition, 30.5 percent of the class will have completed more than one major, and three students have completed three majors. The graduates represent 39 states plus the District of Columbia and 12 countries, and are divided evenly between men and women.
Among this year’s outstanding graduates are students receiving special honors and highly competitive scholarships.
Two graduates won Fulbright Fellowships to study and work abroad for a year. Ryan Hartman, a geology major, from Yorktown, Va., will study in Kazakhstan, and Tyler Grant, a double major in East Asian language and literature and politics, from Suwanee, Ga., will go to Taiwan.
Three members of the class won prestigious NCAA Postgraduate Fellowships: Kat Lawson, a soccer player, from White Post, Va.; Brian Stirling, a swimmer, from Skillman, N.J.; and Chris Washnock, a swimmer, from Greer, S.C.
One of the graduates has completed a degree that he began when he enrolled in 1978. Grant Kunkowski is a member of the Class of 1982 who left Washington and Lee after his sophomore year to pursue an acting career in New York. Performing as Grant Aleksander, he was best known for his role as Phillip Spaulding in the daytime drama “The Guiding Light.” Kunkowski returned in 2011 and earned a B.A. in theater.
Details on all activities are available on the Commencement website.