A word of thanks. A call to service. A plea for meaning.
Exactly 200 Goucher College seniors and 29 master's students were given these pronouncements with their degrees yesterday morning during a muggy, two-hour ceremony at the Towson campus before an audience of more than 2,000.
Flanked by flags representing the 12 nations from which the school's graduating students came, Goucher President Judy Jolley Mohraz hailed the students for their academic endeavors inside the classroom and their activities outside it.
"They have collectively enriched our lives through their scholarship, leadership, sportsmanship and good citizenship," Mohraz said of the students during a ceremony moved to the campus gymnasium in response to the lingering threat of rain.
Elaine Chao, president of the United Way of America, acclaimed the work of her charity and, to laughter, reminded graduates that there was still time to give money during this year's drive. She also cited statistics showing growth in the number of charitable organizations each year and said that showed promise for voluntarism in America.
"So, despite the stories about Americans 'cocooning' and retreating to their homes, where they spend their free time channel-surfing -- or whatever -- there is clear and undisputed evidence that we continue to be a nation of joiners," Chao said.
Chao was among the honorary degree recipients, as were U.S. Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin, a 3rd District Democrat, and Goucher alumna Helen Coplan Harrison, an emeritus faculty member at the Johns Hopkins University who was cited for her research on rickets and other diseases.
In an address to his classmates asking for them to define their future, Goucher senior Gavin M. Patashnick said graduates should rebel against the label of "Generation X," against the portrayal of their cohort as "slackers and moochers, dreamers and weak-minded."
"Work hard to dispel the myths," he said.
Not all classmates are Patashnick's contemporaries: Alison Webb, 33, of Baltimore graduated from Goucher with a degree in psychology after 14 1/2 years. She could only afford to take one or two courses at a time, she said, moments before walking out of the gymnasium with her degree.
"It was a great struggle," said Webb, who will start a job with Associated Catholic Charities as a treatment counselor Monday. enjoyed it."
Along with teammates Courteny Crangi and Michele Mohlman, Goucher women's lacrosse midfielder Meredith Brown wore her team's shorts beneath the black academic robes for good luck. The team traveled to Lehigh University in Pennsylvania after the ceremony to start practicing for the Final Four of the national Division III title, which begin today.
Community college commencement schedule
Anne Arundel Community College: 7 p.m. May 29 on campus. Speaker, Anne Arundel County Executive John G. Gary.
Baltimore City Community College: 10 a.m. today, Coppin Center, at Coppin State College. Speaker, U.S. Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski. Carroll Community College: 7: 30 p.m. Wednesday, Alumni Hall at Western Maryland College. Speaker, the Rev. Harold Ridley, president of Loyola College.
Catonsville Community College: 7 p.m. May 29 at the campus gym. Speaker, James T. Brady, Maryland secretary of Business and Economic Development.
Dundalk Community College: 4 p.m. June 2 in the health life fitness building. Speaker, Duane Dunham, president of Bethlehem Steel Corp., Sparrows Point division.
Essex Community College: 1 p.m. June 2 in the campus gymnasium. Speaker, psychologist and faculty member Ann Kaiser-Stearns.
Harford Community College: 3 p.m. today in the campus quadrangle. Speaker, writer Juan Williams.
Howard Community College: 4 p.m. Thursday at Merriweather Post Pavilion. Speaker, Maryland Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend.
Pub Date: 5/18/96