Delaware State University awarded 617 diplomas during its 2011 Commencement ceremonies, which included five 4.0 GPA students.
Some DSU graduates of the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences take the Alumni Pledge during the 3 p.m. Commencement.
It was the first planned multiple commencements weekend at DSU. The University held a 2 p.m. commencement for master’s degree and doctoral graduates May 21 in the E&H Theatre, and three undergraduate commencements on May 22 in Memorial Hall Gymnasium at 9 a.m., noon and 3 p.m.
Among DSU’s 2011 graduating class 617 degrees were: 500 were bachelor’s degrees, 112 master’s degrees and five doctoral degrees. This graduating class produced 121 honors students, which included 23 Summa Cum Laudes (3.75 GPA or above), 40 Magna Cum Laudes (3.5 to 3.74), 42 Cum Laudes (3.25 to 3.49) and 16 honorable mentions.
Dr. Williams presented Presidential Academic Excellence Awards to five graduates who maintained a perfect 4.0 GPA throughout their undergraduate years – Kelly Cheng, a Movement Science major from Australia; Martina Ferrari, a political science major from Italy; Suzanne Klein, an art education major from Middletown, Del.; Parth Patel, a computer science major from India; and Jasmina Woodson, an accounting major from Newark, N.J. Presidential Academic Excellence Awards were earned by Andrew John Hobbs, a computer science major from Laurel, Del., and Anna Ratnikova, a criminal justice major from Russia, neither of whom were able to attend their Commencement ceremony.
The DSU president also presented a Presidential Leadership Award to Jennifer I. Gray, a biology major from Dover, who received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology on Sunday. In addition to maintaining a 3.3 GPA, Ms. Gray served as the founder and president of the DSU Minority Association for Pre-medical Students, president of the DSU NAACP chapter, vice president of the Students Against a Godless Society, a Ronald McNair Scholar, as well as in a number of community service activities on and off campus.
During the DSU Commencement weekend, the University honored the 50th anniversary of the Class of 1961 during a reception on Saturday, May 21 in the new Martin Luther King Student Center. Thirteen 1961 graduates of then-Delaware State College returned to their alma mater this weekend, donned robes and took part in all three May 22 Commencement ceremonies.
The Class of 1961 showed itself to be “culture of giving” that has been developing among alumni by presenting the DSU president with a donation of $10,000 to go toward scholarships.
The Commencement ceremonies featured Quincy Lucas, DSU alumna and domestic violence prevention advocate, during the May 21 graduate/doctoral Commencement. She told the story of her perseverance to earn her undergraduate degree amid the tragic domestic violence murder of her sister Witney and how she went on to earn her master’s degree at DSU. She urged the graduates to use their master’s and doctoral degrees to make a better world.
The 9 a.m. and the 12 noon Commencement ceremonies on May 22 featured journalist, social activist and political commentator Jeff Johnson, who encouraged the bachelor’s degree recipients to “mesmerize” people so much with their individual excellence that “when people see you coming they will rush to get themselves together with what they are supposed to be doing.”
The 3 p.m. Commencement featured hip-hop artist and actress Queen Latifah, who told the students to be fearless. “Set your goals, go out in the world and get it,” she said. “Life is for the living. Your goals are still there to be reached.”