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Ursinus Celebrates 145th Commencement

Bachelor’s degrees were bestowed upon 377 graduates on Saturday, May 12, on the lawn outside the Berman Museum.

Under cloudy skies, parents and families gathered under the large tent to watch the culmination of the students’ Ursinus careers.

Sophia Gamber ’18, chosen by her classmates to speak at commencement, said, “Ursinus…called us to live bravely, authentically, intelligently, to love deeply and think critically.”

“Each and every one of us here today are all woven into the fabric of this Ursinus memory,” she said.

Roald Hoffmann, an American theoretical chemist who won the 1981 Nobel Prize in Chemistry and a published author of plays and poetry, delivered the commencement address and received the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.

“The world is going to engage you in work that will range from dreary to exciting, that at times may leave you with only numbness,” Hoffmann told the graduates. “It’s difficult to think about the poetic or philosophical at the end of a hard day; all one wants is a beer and to watch a ballgame. That’s fine, too, as it is to spend time with your children, to vote in the school board election, write a letter to your parents. But I also want you to serve your soul and mind, to read and think, to look at nature and art, to care.”

As a writer, Hoffmann explores science, poetry and philosophy through many of his works. He spoke to the Ursinus class of 2018 about the intersection of creativity, science, art and the humanities.

“At Ursinus your minds and souls have been opened to the world, the world of art, the world of science, the world of the world, of everyday life. It’s a place of beauty and of terror, in and around us. Keep trying to understand it,” he said.

Ursinus also recognized the dedication and commitment of the faculty by honoring three professors who represent mentoring, teaching, and scholarly achievement.

The H. Lloyd Jones, Jr., Award for Excellence in Mentoring and Advising was awarded to Julin Everett, an assistant professor of modern languages. The Lindback Distinguished Teaching Award was given to Jon Clark, an associate professor of sociology. Finally, the Laughlin Award for Professional Achievement, endowed by Henry P. Laughlin, M.D. ’38, an internationally recognized scholar and psychiatrist who served for many years on the Ursinus Board of Trustees, was awarded to Holly Hubbs, a professor of music.

President Brock Blomberg acknowledged three retiring faculty members: Carol Cirka, a professor of business and economics, and Ross Doughty, a professor of history.

In his closing remarks to the graduates, Blomberg said, “No matter what your path, remember and cherish your family, your friends and Ursinus College. Just as they have nurtured you to this day, remember that they, in turn, will need your attention and care. Stay in touch with us. Let us know your life stories. You are part of Ursinus just as Ursinus is a part of you, forever. We are a family.”—By Ed Moorhouse