Basking in warm waves of applause from the students, faculty and alumni of her new campus, Judy Jolley Mohraz was inaugurated as the ninth president of Goucher College yesterday afternoon.
The indoor ceremony, attended by nearly 900 people, formally invested Dr. Mohraz with the powers of president, although she took office July 1.
Accompanied by the august sounds of a six-piece brass ensemble playing classical processionals, representatives of nearly 100 colleges and of Goucher's faculty walked into Kraushaar Auditorium in full academic regalia. Senior officials from most of Maryland's public and private campuses attended yesterday's event at the Towson liberal arts college.
In her address, as in the events of the week marking her inauguration, Dr. Mohraz emphasized service to the community as a crucial component of both a well-rounded education and a salve for an ailing body politic.
"A malaise, a sense of impotence, prevails in many public arenas, as individuals believe they have little chance of making a difference," Dr. Mohraz said, supported by the full faculty seated behind her. "I would contend that the Goucher community and this educational experience produce a student who inhabits, with confidence, public space."
Goucher has fulfilled that role for women throughout its 109-year history; eight years ago, it began to admit men as well. The school now boasts a student body of about 930 undergraduates and 70 graduate students.
U.S. Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, representing state officials, remarked that Goucher had given her an honorary doctorate when she was a Baltimore City Council member. "Whenever I put on my toga, I, of course, think back to that," the senator, perched on a stand to elevate her above the lectern, said to laughter.
Speaker after speaker cited Dr. Mohraz's record as a scholar and administrator at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, where she has spent most of her professional career.
But above all, they praised her humanity and called on her to infuse Goucher with that spirit.
"Help her to lead Goucher to be more sensitive to injustice of every kind, and to guide it to use its resources now and in the future to do more than provide intellectual justifications for the inequalities in our society," Herbert O. Edwards, chairman of the Morgan State University philosophy department, said in delivering the invocation to the ceremony.
Predecessor Rhoda Dorsey, who served as Goucher's president for 21 years, hugged Dr. Mohraz after she was given the college's governing regulations by Trustee Chairman Bruce D. Alexander.
"Goucher students will not sit idly by and watch her administration," senior Odette T. Ramos, president of the student government, told the audience. "I am excited for Goucher's students. I am excited for Goucher."
"We will continue to act on Goucher's motto: 'Prove all things, hold fast that which is good,' " Dr. Mohraz said. "And we take heart as we see the carefully considered, engaged lives that alumni have led, the communities they have nurtured and built, and the knowledge they have contributed."