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Washington and Lee University to Celebrate 228th Commencement, Baccalaureate

Washington and Lee University celebrates its 228th undergraduate commencement May 28 when it will award bachelor’s degrees to 452 students.

University President Kenneth P. Ruscio will address the graduates at the 10 a.m. ceremony. Lucy Wade Shapiro, president of the Executive Committee of the student body and a graduating senior from Memphis, Tennessee, will speak on behalf of the Class of 2015.

Commencement festivities begin May 27 at 10 a.m. on the Front Lawn with the traditional baccalaureate service, featuring guest speaker Anne Holton, Virginia Secretary of Education. Holton will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree at the service.

A graduate of Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and Harvard Law School, Holton has compiled a decades-long record of service to Virginia’s families and children. She first worked as a legal aid lawyer serving low-income families, then became a juvenile and domestic relations district court judge. As Virginia’s First Lady from 2006-10, she spearheaded a reform of the Commonwealth’s foster care system to connect greater numbers of children with permanent families. She later consulted on foster care reform nationally for the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

In 2013, Holton served as program director of Great Expectations, an initiative of the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education that helps youth in the foster care system gain access to higher education. Gov. Terry McAuliffe appointed her education secretary in January 2014.

Holton is the wife of U.S. senator and former governor Tim Kaine and the daughter of former governor Linwood Holton, of the W&L Class of 1944.

During the commencement ceremony on Thursday, W&L will recognize seven retiring members of the faculty: Bob Culpepper, visiting professor of business administration; Tim Jost, Willett Family Professor of Law; Bill King, professor of accounting; Craig McCaughrin, professor of politics; Brian Richardson, professor of journalism and mass communications; Ken Ujie, associate professor of East Asian languages and literatures; and Lyn Wheeler, professor of accounting.

The University will also award an honorary doctor of humane letters degree to Dr. James C. Cobb, Spalding Professor of History at the University of Georgia.

The Class of 2015 hails from 40 states, the District of Columbia and 11 other countries. Two seniors have received scholarships for postgraduate international work. Naphtali Rivkin of Teaneck, New Jersey, been awarded a Fulbright research grant for research in Latvia the country’s resistance to postwar domination by the Soviet Union. Sommer Ireland of Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, has been awarded a U.S. Teaching Assistantship from the Austrian government to teach English in the country’s rural Western Tirol.

In the event of rain, events will be held at Virginia Military Institute’s Cameron Hall, and the University community will be notified by broadcast e-mail, a notice on the University’s website and other means. Full details on all commencement activities at W&L can be found at www.wlu.edu/commencement. The commencement ceremony will be streamed live online at http://livestream.com/wlu/ugrad-2015.