Monsignor Robert R. Kline, president emeritus of Mount St. Mary's College in Emmitsburg, calculates that over the course of his career he taught more students -- 13,000 -- than anyone else in the school's 189-year history.
It is one of those claims that might be hard to check but impossible not to believe. Kline spent 46 years teaching at the school, leading generations of students through courses in philosophy, psychology and sociology. In addition, he was president from 1961 to 1967.
Yesterday Mount St. Mary's awarded him an honorary degree in recognition of his long service.
In a commencement ceremony that lasted just under two hours, the college also dispensed 302 undergraduate degrees and 103 advanced degrees.
Another honorary degree went to Thomas Kiely, a religious studies teacher at Good Counsel High School in Wheaton, a feeder school to the Mount. The college's President's Medal went to Sister Mary Nusbaum, an economics teacher, honoring her 50 years in Roman Catholic education.
The graduates and their guests heard an address by Raymond "Chip" Mason, president and CEO of Legg Mason, the Baltimore-based brokerage and investment advisory firm.
In other commencements in Maryland yesterday:
Coppin State College awarded about 300 degrees at a ceremony in the Baltimore Arena. The address was given by Genevieve Knight, this year's winner of the $70,000 Wilson H. Elkins Award, given each year to a professor in the University of Maryland System. Named for a former president of the University of Maryland, the award recognizes one distinguished professor each year. A member of the department of mathematics and computer science, Knight will be able to use the money for a project of her own design.
St. John's College in Annapolis granted 93 undergraduate and 27 graduate degrees under the Liberty Tree on campus. The speakers were Ray Cave, editorial director of Time magazine and president of the college's board of visitors and governors, and Dean Eva T. H. Brann, who is retiring.
Washington College in Chestertown gave degrees to 195 undergraduates and 12 graduate students.
Besides awarding the annual Sophie Kerr Prize of $29,300 to Brandon E. Hopkins of Frederick, the college honored writer John Barth with its Senior Fellow Award.
The speaker yesterday was Michael Dirda, a writer and editor for The Washington Post Book World.
The University of Baltimore Law School awarded 325 degrees in a ceremony at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. The address was given by Robert M. Bell, chief judge of the Maryland Court of Appeals.
At a ceremony for graduate students, the University of Maryland Baltimore County awarded 64 doctorates and 250 master's degrees. Guests heard an address by the school's president, Freeman A. Hrabowski III. Graduating seniors will receive degrees Wednesday.
At the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, degrees were granted to 382 undergraduates and 85 graduate students. Kevin A. Gray, an accounting major from Columbia, won the $5,000 Richard Bernstein Achievement Award. The Daniel J. Pinkett Award, which bestows $1,000 on an outstanding mathematics graduate, went to Robyn J. Deal of Baltimore. Tracy R. Ford, a senior from Baltimore, won the $500 Alumni Award. Henry Ponder, president of the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education, gave the commencement speech.