Midyear graduates of TSU not forgotten All can participate in May

winter commencement was canceled by blizzard

January 17, 1996|By Suzanne Loudermilk | Suzanne Loudermilk,SUN STAFF

Towson State University's 131st commencement will be remembered as the only one in the school's history that had to be canceled, leaving many of the 1,428 midyear graduates disappointed that the winter ceremony couldn't be held.

But they and other honorees aren't being forgotten in the aftermath of the Jan. 7 blizzard, which hit the day the commencement was scheduled. They will be honored at the university's May 22 commencement.

"Anyone due to commence can commence in May," said Susanna Craine, director of university relations. "There is enough space for everyone to come and walk across the stage."

Gene DiPaula, a new mass communications graduate, isn't sure he can participate.

"I don't know what I'll be doing four months from now," the 22-year-old Towson resident said, expressing his disappointment at the cancellation. "You work hard for 4 1/2 years for something. It acted as a symbol for all the hard work you put in."

Many aspects of the January ceremony will go on as planned in May.

John Glover, Tony-award-winning actor and Towson State graduate, is expected to address the graduates. And he and Realtor James P. O'Conor are to receive honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degrees.

Mr. Glover, a Salisbury native, tried to make it to Towson for the scheduled commencement but ended up snowbound at a Baltimore hotel for two days after driving from New York early that day.

Another honoree, George S. Friedman, an English professor who was to receive the President's Award for Distinguished Service to the university, wasn't surprised the ceremony was canceled.

"Once we heard the Weather Channel talking about blizzard and historic, we knew it wouldn't happen," said Dr. Friedman, who will receive his award in May.

Details of the spring commencement will be mailed to the midyear graduates -- 1,186 who were receiving bachelor's degrees and 242 who earned master's degrees -- by the end of the week, said Mary-Ann Myrant, associate vice president for academic affairs, who oversees commencement ceremonies.

Students will have the option of having their diplomas mailed to them or picking them up in person, Dr. Myrant said.

But just because the January commencement was canceled doesn't mean students won't graduate, she stressed.

"Commencement is a ceremony," she said. "Graduation is the completion of degree requirements."

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