1780 – The Official Blog of Transylvania University

1780 | The Official Blog of Transylvania University

Transylvania awards 260 degrees to largest class in its history

Commencement 09 speakers
Dr. Shearer, commencement speaker John Carroll, and student speaker Marshall Jolly

LEXINGTON, Ky.—Transylvania University awarded bachelor of arts degrees to 260 seniors, the largest graduating class in the 229-year-old school’s history. Transylvania President Charles L. Shearer conferred the diplomas on the steps of historic Old Morrison as a crowd of friends and family, faculty and trustees looked on from the sun-dappled lawn.

John Carroll, former editor of the Los Angeles Times, the Lexington Herald-Leader and the Baltimore Sun, delivered the commencement address. He spoke of the challenges awaiting the graduates as they searched for a meaningful and rewarding career, and of a hope that they would always remember one another and their college days at Transylvania.

“May this class of 2009 go into the larger world and succeed by finding the right kind of work and the right people to work with,” Carroll said. “And may this class also remain intact, a group that treasures the once-in-a-lifetime shared journey that ends today. Go your separate ways, and may your paths converge again someday.”

Carroll is a veteran of more than four decades of editorial and executive experience at five metropolitan daily newspapers. He directed coverage that won Pulitzer Prizes for the Los Angeles, Lexington and Baltimore papers, as well as the Philadelphia Inquirer.

A nationally recognized leader in journalism, Carroll is a past member and past chair of the Pulitzer Prize Board. He was named Editor of the Year by the National Press Foundation in 1998, and in 2004 won the Leadership Award from the American Society of Newspaper Editors.

Carroll was awarded an honorary doctor of humane letters degree in recognition of his achievements in journalism and his support of Transylvania through his role as a member of the Board of Trustees. He is currently helping develop a new Strategic Plan that will give the university a renewed vision for its future.

Graduating senior Marshall Jolly, an American Studies major from Paris, Ky., urged his classmates to be uncomfortable with easy answers and half truths, feel anger at injustice and oppression, have compassion for the suffering of others and be “foolish” enough to believe they can make a difference in the world.

“As we take on the many problems of this community, this nation, and this world, let us be united behind our love for one another, and let us join with our brothers and sisters who share our human likeness so we may become not the mere memory of future generations, but instead, the hope for a better tomorrow,” Jolly said.

In conferring the degrees, Shearer wished the newest graduates well as they prepared to go their separate ways in life.

“You are the heritage of this institution and your dreams are ours, and we share them with you,” Shearer said. “Along the trail of life, may wisdom guide your spirit, serenity warm your soul, and hope rise forever in your heart.”

Reflecting the international perspective Transylvania has long emphasized, 178  of the 260 members of the Class of 2009 (68 percent) took advantage of study abroad opportunities during their Transy years. A vast majority of the class also performed community service, and class members contributed more than $20,000 to fund a scholarship for an incoming student next fall.

Charles T. Ambrose, a professor in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine, received an honorary doctor of humane letters degree for his distinguished career as a medical scholar and teacher, and for his championing of the unique story of Transylvania’s historic role in nineteenth-century medical education. At UK, he has won the Golden Apple award for excellence in teaching nine times and the Phi Delta Epsilon Professional Teaching Award.

Malcolm L. Warford, a member of the Transylvania class of 1964, was awarded an honorary doctor of humane letters degree in recognition of his accomplishments as a scholar, teacher, and administrator in the field of theology, particularly his leadership role in the reform of theological education. He is a former president of Eden Theological Seminary in St. Louis and Bangor Theological Seminary in Bangor, Maine.