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Washington and Lee University to Celebrate 231st Commencement, Baccalaureate

Washington and Lee University celebrates its 231st undergraduate commencement Thursday, May 24, when it will award bachelor’s degrees to more than 440 students.

University President William C. Dudley will address the graduates at the 10 a.m. ceremony on the Front Lawn of the main campus. Mason Grist, past president of the Executive Committee of the student body and a graduating senior from Lexington, Virginia, will speak on behalf of the Class of 2018.

Commencement festivities begin Wednesday, May 23, at 10 a.m. on the Front Lawn with the traditional baccalaureate service, featuring speaker Harlan Beckley. Beckley is the Fletcher Otey Thomas Professor of Religion Emeritus at Washington and Lee, as well as the founder and first director of the Shepherd Program on Poverty and Human Capability. He led the national expansion of the program through the creation of the Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty (SHECP), a nonprofit comprising 23 colleges and universities across the U.S., and served as the consortium’s founding director until 2017.

Also speaking at the baccalaureate service are this year’s recipients of the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award, Hannah Falchuk, of Hockessin, Delaware, and Angel Vela de la Garza Evia, of San Pedro Garza Garcia, Mexico. The two were selected by the faculty as individuals who best demonstrate high ideals of living, spiritual qualities and generous service to others.

During the commencement ceremony on Thursday, W&L will recognize 28 retiring members of the faculty and staff, who represent a total of more than 793 years of service.

Four graduating seniors have been awarded Fulbright grants for postgraduate international work.

  • Carson Bryant, a German and economics double major from Waxhaw, North Carolina, will be a foreign language teaching assistant in Germany.
  • Hannah Falchuk, a politics major from Hockessin, Delaware, will work as a foreign language teaching assistant in the Slovak Republic.
  • Jeremy Friedlander, a business administration and religion double major from Bethesda, Maryland, will be a foreign language teaching assistant in Romania.
  • Jared Shely of Lexington, Kentucky, a double major in Spanish and history, will be a foreign language teaching assistant in

Seven other seniors also received scholarships for postgraduate work.

  • Kiki Spiezio of Taunton, Massachusetts, received the William Jefferson Clinton Scholarship at the American University in Dubai and the College to Congress Internship, a summer internship on Capitol Hill.
  • Elizabeth McDonald of Allen, Texas, received a Critical Language Scholarship from the U.S. Department of State, to participate in a language and cultural immersion program in Japan.
  • Emily Austin of Russellville, Arkansas, received a Critical Language Scholarship from the U.S. Department of State, to participate in a language and cultural immersion program in Indonesia.
  • Emily Perszyk of Hales Corners, Wisconsin, received a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship for three years of funding in support of graduate study at Yale University.
  • Faith Pinho of Everett, Massachusetts, received an ODK Leader of the Year scholarship for post-graduate study in journalism.
  • Tara Loughery of Roanoke, Virginia, received a U.S. Department of Energy Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education fellowship.
  • Gillen Beck of Blacksburg, Virginia, received a National College Athletic Association Postgraduate Scholarship in support of graduate study.

The Class of 2018 hails from 34 states, the District of Columbia and nine other countries.

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 https://livestream.com/wlu/ugrad-2018.