COLUMBIA — “Pomp and Circumstance” filled the air as faculty, administrators, trustees and graduates entered the Stephens College arena for the undergraduate commencement ceremony.
The Senior Ensemble led the national anthem at the beginning of the commencement ceremony in the John and Mary Silverthorne Arena. Stephens College President Dianne M. Lynch then gave a welcome speech, congratulating the 142 Stephens graduates who received bachelor's degrees.
“It is for you, and about you, and because of you,” Lynch said.
Lynch also recognized the faculty, staff and administrators’ dedication and commitment to the success of the students.
Mary Hassinger, vice president for academic affairs, then acknowledged awards made earlier to faculty members.
Courtney Cothren, assistant professor in the School of Design and Fashion, was the 2011 Distinguished Teacher of the Year award. Barbara Scott Dawdy, assistant professor and MPA coordinator in the business and marketing department, was the recipient of the 2011 Distinguished Adviser of the Year award.
The keynote speaker for the ceremony was Gail Collins, author and columnist at The New York Times. She joined The New York Times in 1995 and six years later she was named the first female editor of the newspaper’s editorial page.
Collins spoke about her experience as a college student and shared stories with the graduates. She also suggested that the graduates “pay attention to the world around you” and "maintain the option of being totally outrageous."
The class speaker, Sascha Streckel, said: “Stephens College has taught me what it is to be a real woman. Stephens College taught me about how to be a person that people can rely on.”
Streckel, who graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor of fine arts degree in theatre arts, also listed five things the graduates should take from their college education at Stephens — perseverance, listening, courage, love, and trust.
Stephens College also hosted a master's commencement ceremony Saturday morning, where 57 graduates received their master's degrees.