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Thirty-seventh Class Graduates from Chesapeake College

Thursday, May 26, 2005


 

WYE MILLS – More than 220 students received their degrees and certificates during Chesapeake College's 37th commencement on May 25, marking 40 years since the college was chartered in 1965.

The ceremony featured two men who were instrumental in the creation of Chesapeake College. The commencement speaker, former Gov. Harry Hughes, had helped draft the legislation that created a regional community college for the area.

"Chesapeake College has been a marvelous success story," Hughes said. "I don't know of anything that has had a greater impact on this area than the college."

Hughes advised the graduates to be open to possibilities and not to fear failure. Life is full of surprises, he said, and they can all be learning experiences.

"Aim high, work hard, and you'll be surprised by all the opportunities that open to you," Hughes said.

Former Queen Anne's County school superintendent also helped in the creation of Chesapeake College. Rhodes pushed state officials for a local community college and, in 1966, organized early meetings of the college's first board of trustees. On Wednesday, the college awarded him with the Distinguished Community Service Medal of Chesapeake College.

"Forty years ago, I stood in this very spot. It was a cornfield then," Rhodes told the audience. "Watching the growth of Chesapeake College has been one of my greatest thrills."

He congratulated the graduates and urged them to value their experiences at Chesapeake.

"I hope each of you will leave here tonight saying, 'I graduated from Chesapeake College'," Rhodes said. "Be proud of it. Be proud of it for the rest of your lives."

Graduate Jayne Runyan of Queen Anne was awarded the John T. Harrison Award for outstanding service to the college and the community. Runyan, a 58 year-old mother of grown children and former Peace Corps volunteer, received her associate's degree in Computer Information Systems. She was also named the Outstanding Graduate for Computer Information Systems.

Runyan's record of public service begins in Talbot County, where she participated in recycling efforts, and recently took her to South America. A strong proponent of recycling, Runyan has worked on several environmental projects on the Mid-Shore over the years.

In 2001, Runyan and her husband Bill, an engineer, joined the Peace Corps and were assigned to the town of Leliendaal in Suriname. They were sent to help the local schoolchildren learn some computer skills. Their tour lasted 3 and a half years, and they become very fond of the people they served.

"Suriname is infested with mosquitoes and it's very hot, but it stole my heart," Runyan to the graduates.

The other outstanding graduates for 2005 were: Nicole and L. Schmidt and Judy C. Speiring, accounting: Paul G. Whitby, business administration; Sherry L.M. Peoples; Catherine D. Klakring, early childhood development; Lawrence C. Schelts, engineering technology; Elizabeth Fischer, food service management; Cindy M. Oswald, hotel management; Heidi Kessinger, liberal arts and sciences; Melissa N. Adams, nursing; Lori V. Whitehead Watts, paralegal studies; Kristin E. Lahman, physical therapist assistant; Laura E. Callahan, surgical technology; and Rebecca L. Bigelow.

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