Commencement ceremony concludes the academic year


The University of the South's 2013-14 academic year came to a close with three ceremonies marking graduation weekend on the Mountain. The School of Theology’s Commencement was held Friday, May 9 (see full coverage of The School of Theology events here). The weekend events continued with the Baccalaureate Service Saturday, May 10 (see details here).

And finally, the procession of graduating seniors was led by valedictorian Margaret Hudson and salutatorian Joel Langham into All Saints’ Chapel for the final Convocation of the academic year, with the sound of bells marking the beginning of the Commencement ceremony.

Joel Langham (English, Philosophy) of Bay Minette, Alabama, gave the traditional salutatory in Latin, addressing the vice-chancellor, faculty, and the audience before concluding with the University motto “Ecce Quam Bonum.” Brittany Macon (Political Science), of Little Rock, Arkansas, was recognized with the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Medallion for character, leadership, and service to the University and the Sewanee community, receiving long applause from her classmates.

Two named fellowships and professorships were awarded to members of the faculty. Assistant Professor of Politics Mila Dragojević was awarded the Kennedy Fellowship, given to a faculty member early in his or her career. The Kenan Professorship for excellence in teaching and scholarship was awarded to Professor of English John Gatta.

See the complete list of awards and prizes.

In her valedictory oration, Maggie Hudson (left, with salutatorian Joel Langham) reminded her classmates of the familiar words of Ecclesiastes 3 (“For everything there is a season”), and suggested that this is not a time to stop learning, but a time to put aside their books and to use the knowledge they have gained over the last four years. Hudson, a Chemistry major from Paris, Tennessee, proposed that the graduates think of the Sewanee angels who will go with them from the gates as carriers of knowledge, helping the graduates take with them the experiences and understanding they earned on the Mountain.


The University’s School of Letters, which enrolled its first summer master’s degree students in 2006 and granted its first degree in 2009, this year granted eight Master of Fine Arts degrees and four Master of Arts degrees.

The University awarded 348 baccalaureate degrees, and before reading the University's charge to the "chosen and now honored youths," Vice-Chancellor John McCardell spoke to the graduates. In remarks that quoted both Wordsworth and Steve Jobs, McCardell spoke of being surrounded by memory in All Saints’ Chapel, of the memories made at Sewanee, and of the hope that first brought the graduates here. He recalled E.M. Forster’s “rainbow bridge,” and celebrated their crossing of that rainbow bridge connecting head and heart, hand and eye, adolescence and adulthood, memory and hope.

Read McCardell’s remarks here.

The traditional recessional took the new graduates of the Class of 2014 through the faculty and guests lining the sidewalks outside the Chapel into a cascade of applause, cheers and embraces. The bells of the Leonidas Polk Memorial Carillon reprised the first hymn of the day, “For all the Saints,” as the graduates, families and guests mingled in the Quad.

See photos from the weekend events here. Video of Commencement is here.

In a separate ceremony following Saturday’s Baccalaureate Service, 17 seniors were initiated into Phi Beta Kappa. Election to Phi Beta Kappa is perhaps the most prized honor a college student can receive. The following students join the 15 Sewanee seniors who were elected in February and the six members of the class of 2014 who were initiated last year as juniors.

Hannah Pace Beath (History), Nashville, Tennessee
Grace Morton Bukawyn (Economics), Short Hills, New Jersey
Amanda Ellen Callihan (Environmental Studies), Signal Mountain, Tennessee
Christopher Moore Daniell (Psychology), Cincinnati, Ohio
Paget Tilden Davis (International and Global Studies), Wilmington, Delaware
Zoe Beth Dubin (Human Biology and Psychology), Arden, North Carolina
Margaret Shepherd Dunlap (Political Science), Spartanburg, South Carolina
Johanna Christian Gundlach (Environmental Studies), New Orleans, Louisiana
Rachel Louise Harris (English), Hickory, North Carolina
Avery Corinne Kelly (International and Global Studies), Mobile, Alabama
Cornelia Barrett LaRussa (Biology), Birmingham, Alabama
Eric Thomas Leibrandt (Economics), Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio
Adam Evan Glynn Roberts (Asian Studies), College Station, Texas
Abigail Ellen Rowlands (Spanish), Temecula, California
Mengqi Shi (Biology, Environmental Studies), Nanjing, China
Mary Stuart Smart (International and Global Studies), Charlotte, North Carolina
Warren Leslie Snead (Political Science), Richmond, Virginia

View all stories in Academics 


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