Choose truth, Sadat's widow tells graduates

May 20, 1994|By Thomas W. Waldron | Thomas W. Waldron,Sun Staff Writer

COLLEGE PARK -- Jehan Sadat invoked the name of her slain husband, Anwar Sadat, yesterday as she urged the graduating class at the University of Maryland to do what is right, not what is expedient.

Common sense would have told her husband, the Egyptian president who was gunned down by Islamic fundamentalists in 1981, that it was impossible to make peace with Israel, Mrs. Sadat said. But he had defied the naysayers, leading Egypt to sign a peace treaty with Israel in 1979.

"My dear students, each of you will face a similar moment of truth," she told the large group gathered in Cole Field House on campus. "It may not be as big or as public. But it will be no less important, for it will be the moment when you must choose between honor and profit, truth and mendacity."

About 5,400 students received degrees yesterday, including 3,600 undergraduates.

The low-key, traditional ceremony was highlighted by the recognition of the graduating students, major by major.

The students had not only finished their courses but had also had "paid in full their parking tickets and library fines," President William E. Kirwan noted.

Chosen to speak for the students, graduating senior Susan M. Ator urged the class of 1994 to stop worrying about the future, at least for a while.

"Let's wipe our brows and smile a graduation grin," said Ms. Ator of Reisterstown. "Revel in this opportunity. Perfect your vision. Have a little fun and take pride in your accomplishments."

In the audience was Ms. Ator's twin brother, Scott. Both graduated with perfect 4.0 grade-point averages, Scott majoring geology, Susan a double major in Spanish and math education.

Other bachelor's degree recipients included Roy Biesecker and his son, Michael. The father and son, who are from Prince George's County, both majored in general business.

Rafaela Coello, an 84-year-old from Upper Marlboro who died last month, received a posthumous doctorate for her work in health education. Ms. Coello had finished her dissertation. University officials waived the requirement that she defend the paper, and her family accepted the diploma yesterday.

Allen J. Krowe, vice chairman of Texaco Inc. and a 1954 College Park graduate, received an honorary doctorate along with Mrs. Sadat.

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