2012 Graduates Urged to ‘Take an Idea, and Then Turn It on Its Head

At Franklin & Marshall College’s Commencement on May 12, New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg encouraged the Class of 2012 to be independent and innovative thinkers and to be active and generous members of their community.

Bloomberg, New York City’s mayor since 2001, delivered the Commencement address to the 554 members of the Class of 2012 and several thousand family members and guests on a sunny Saturday on Hartman Green.

“Take an idea, and then turn it on its head,” said Bloomberg, a successful businessman and philanthropist. “After all, if Ben Franklin had accepted the way things were, we might still be turning on the lights with a match...It may be lonely at times, it may make you unpopular at times, and it may be dangerous to your career. But independence lies at the heart of innovation, progress and pride.”

The College conferred many annual awards, including the highest recognition for students, faculty members and professional staff. The Williamson Medal, the College’s highest award for a graduating senior, was presented to Judith Stapleton ’12, an art history major and Italian minor. A summa cum laude graduate and a native of the United Kingdom, Stapleton said, “I feel deeply honored and proud to receive this award.

Thinking back to those in Glasgow who thirsted for opportunities they would never have been able to receive made me realize that my time here at Franklin & Marshall has been a privilege.”

2012 Commencement Honorees

Honorary Degrees: Wanda M. Pompey Austin ’75, president and CEO of The Aerospace Corp.; Michael R. Bloomberg, New York City mayor; Jaron Lanier, a pioneer in the field of virtual reality; and Lynn Nottage, a Pulitzer Prize- winning playwright

Bradley R. Dewey Award for Outstanding Scholarship: Professor of Philosophy Bennett Helm

Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching: Gregory S. Adkins, the William G. and Elizabeth R. Simeral Professor of Physics

Socrates Citations (for retiring professors): Bruce Gustafson, Charles A. Dana Professor of Music; Carl S. Pike, Harry W. and Mary B. Huffnagle Professor of Botany; and James M. Taggart, Lewis Audenreid Professor of History and Archaeology

Richard Kneedler Distinguished Service Award: Dan Lewis, F&M’s director of housekeeping and College House facilities

F&M’s Inaugural High School Teacher Award: Stephanie Nelson-Dennis, assistant principal at Mary E. Rodman Elementary School

Student honors: 18 students graduated summa cum laude; 61 magna cum laude; and 86 cum laude

Williamson Medal: Judith Stapleton ’12

Go to www.fandm.edu/commencement for additional photos, full remarks from Mayor Michael Bloomberg and F&M President Daniel R. Porterfield and the citations for the 2012 honorees.

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