Anna – Catherine Kueng ~ Assistant Editor
On Friday, May 17, 2019, the commencement ceremony for graduate students will begin at 6:30 p.m. in Turner Gymnasium, and on Saturday, May 18, 2019, the undergraduate commencement ceremony will begin at 9:00 a.m. on the front lawn.
Administrative Assistant and Commencement Chair, Lisa A. Scott, said, “The main thing is that this is the first year we will have separate commencement ceremonies, and therefore two different speakers.”
The graduate commencement speaker will be Bob Lemon. According to the University of Lynchburg website, “Born and raised in Virginia, Lemon earned his Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Virginia Tech in 1982 and Master of Business Administration from Lynchburg College in 1998. [He is] a member of the University of Lynchburg Board of Trustees.”
The undergraduate commencement speaker will be Kathrine Switzer. According to the University of Lynchburg website, “Kathrine Switzer [is] the runner who broke the gender barrier at the Boston Marathon 52 years ago. Switzer attended Lynchburg College in the mid-1960s. She became a pioneer for women athletes at Lynchburg by joining the track team, even though the school only had a men’s track program at the time.”
In addition to the two graduation ceremonies, there will also be a Baccalaureate service held at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 16, 2019, at Snidow Chapel. Coretha Loughridge will be the speaker. According to the University of Lynchburg website, “The Rev. Coretha Loughridge, transitional regional minister for the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Virginia, will be the Baccalaureate speaker. As a lifelong Disciple, she grew up in Pulaski, Virginia, and graduated from Lynchburg College with a degree in sociology and religious studies.”
The valedictorian and salutatorians cannot be named yet, as Scott explained, “As for the honor students, this will not be determined until a day or two before graduation, when all grades are in and the registar determines this.”
For many students, graduation comes with a lot of emotions, including denial, excitement, sadness, or a mix of them all.
Senior Endasia Mitchell is graduating as President of the Westover Honors College with a degree in Criminology and high honors in the Spanish major. She is currently contracted to become an officer in the Marine Corps this summer. About graduating from U of L, she said, “The fact that I am graduating has not hit me yet. There are small things that happen like an end of the year celebration or the end of the [track] season, but I still have not fully grasped the fact that this will all be over soon. I think that I will miss being so close to my friends. We all live on campus and we get into this routine of seeing each other every day and talking about our day. It will be strange to not have that instant connection anymore.”
As for the undergraduate ceremony itself, Mitchell said, “I look forward to spending time with my family and having one last hoorah with my friends before we depart.”