May 24-June 6, 2002
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Use values of liberal education, Gov. Warner advises graduates
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Slight change in press’ name confirms University’s support
Call for nominations: Zintl leadership award
Elmaleh’s watercolors on exhibit
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Correction -- faculty salaries article
New Supervisor Orientation Program
U.Va. women encourage leadership
Use values of liberal education, Gov. Warner advises graduates
Photos by Jim Carpenter
U.Va. President John T. Casteen III (left) and Virginia Gov. Mark Warner process down the Lawn at Finals May 19 behind Grand Marshal Charles Tolbert.

By Lee Graves

Gov. Mark R. Warner urged members of U.Va.’s Class of 2002 to use the values of a liberal education to navigate in a world of rapid change and increasing uncertainty.

“Today, more people in more parts of the world live in freedom than ever before. But the fundamental values of civilized society – liberal democracy, free expression and economic opportunity – are under assault everywhere, as we all know after 9-11 in America.”

Warner, whose wife, Lisa Collis, is a 1977 graduate of U.Va., was the guest speaker at Sunday’s 173rd Final Exercises, which drew more than 30,000 people to the Lawn and satellite locations. He also advised graduates to resist distilling complex issues into sound bites, to honor tradition without being bound to it and to remember the foundation of values laid by the University.

“It won’t be easy, but our country needs the values more than ever,” he said.
For some of the more than 5,000 students who received more than 5,500 degrees, what they needed was a job.

“The employment status has changed drastically” in the wake of Sept. 11, said April Orr, a Virginia Beach resident who received a degree in communication disorders. She has yet to land a job, but her thoughts Sunday were more about celebrating achievement than fretting about the future.

“It was an experience of a lifetime, given all the history and prestige of U.Va.,” she said about the ceremony.

Hi Mom!Satoria Brent of Sterling, an English and history major, also was somewhat overwhelmed by the finality of Finals. “It’s something bigger than myself. It’s like a shock. You can see it coming, but when it gets here, it’s so much bigger,” she said.

“You’re not the same person. No matter what you go out and do, you’re not the same person afterward. I feel a sense of accomplishment. U.Va. is not an easy school, and I had to work hard.”

That sense of accomplishment pervaded the exercises. On a day blessed with blue skies and crisp breezes, a day when every statue and set of steps provided props for photos with family, friends and well-wishers, a day when helium balloons floated into the wind and hung in the trees like oversized fruit – smiles, hugs, handshakes and high-fives were abundant.

President John T. Casteen III noted the achievements of three groups in particular in his remarks. He recognized three students — Jay C. Burgess of Charlottesville, Carrie Griffin of Springfield and Vickie Johnson-Williams of Crozet – as the University’s first recipients of Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Students degrees.

He singled out Kathryn Ganske and her son, Christopher, of Winchester. She received a doctorate from the School of Nursing while her son was awarded a bachelor of science degree in accounting from the McIntire School of Commerce.

graduates posingAnd he praised a collaboration between the School of Architecture and the School of Engineering and Applied Science that has involved nearly 80 students planning, designing and building a solar house for a competition in Washington, D.C. About 30 of those students received degrees Sunday.

In all, the number of degrees awarded was as follows:

• 3,255 baccalaureate degrees (45 of those earned in three years);

• 505 first professional degrees; and

superfan• 1,854 graduate degrees, including 292 Ph.D.’s, 31 Doctor of Education degrees and one Doctor of Juridical Science degree.

Casteen also noted that 493 of Sunday’s graduates were international students, a factor apparent in the language and garb among the thousands packing the Lawn.

The Grounds appeared in immaculate condition after Friday’s lashing from high winds and intense rains. The thunderstorms forced University officials to move Saturday’s Valedictory Exercises to University Hall, and one organizer said the turnout was good despite the switch.

In addition to honoring achievement, Sunday’s program included more than a nod to its cost. Warner plugged November’s referendum on spending $1 billion for capital needs on campuses around the state.

ultimate capAnd Casteen read a letter from the secret Seven Society disclosing a contribution of $27,777.77 to the College of Arts & Sciences. The letter emphasized that the classroom experience is the heart of a student’s education, and the gift was made so that that experience would not be hindered in the light of state budget cuts.

While Finals made for a spectacle rich in color and brimming with tradition, it also carried a sense of relief.

“I’m glad it’s over,” said Calvin Brent, Satoria Brent’s father, as he stood with her in the shade beside the Rotunda’s west wing. A plumber in Sterling, he said she is the only one of his children to finish college. “I’m glad that she finished and that she did well.

“I’m proud of her.”


© Copyright 2002 by the Rector and Visitors
of the University of Virginia

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