Rider Confers 806 Baccalaureate Degrees at 147th Commencement on May 11

Rider University proudly bestowed the honorary Doctor of Science upon Dr. Maureen Maguire ’75 at the University’s 147th Undergraduate Commencement ceremony on Friday, May 11. President Mordechai Rozanski also conferred 806 baccalaureate degrees to students who had successfully completed their studies the previous week. They join 410 who received their diplomas the night before at the Graduate and College of Continuing Studies Commencement, and 131 who will receive theirs at the 83rd Westminster Choir College Commencement on Saturday.
Friday, May 11, 2012

Rider University proudly bestowed the honorary Doctor of Science upon Dr. Maureen Maguire ’75, Carolyn F. Jones Professor of Ophthalmology and Vice Chair for Clinical Research in the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Pennsylvania, at the University’s 147th Undergraduate Commencement ceremony on Friday, May 11.

Rider President Mordechai Rozanski also conferred 806 baccalaureate degrees to students who had successfully completed their studies the previous week. They join 410 who received their diplomas the night before at the Graduate and College of Continuing Studies Commencement, and 131 who will receive theirs at the 83rd Westminster Choir College Commencement on Saturday, May 12.

Heather Shankman ’12 of Basking Ridge, N.J., an Advertising major with a double minor in Public Relations and Sports Marketing who nearly died from a heart ailment in late 2010, presented the student address.

“I remained on life support for three days, since I was unable to breathe on my own, while the doctors told my parents that it did not look promising and they should consider making the necessary arrangements,” Shankman told her classmates. “I have had two heart surgeries as a result of my near-death experience, but I can assure everyone here today that if I can get through all of this, with my head held high, pushing forward, you can do anything you set your mind to.”

Rider University has been celebrating the 50th anniversary of its School of Liberal Arts and Sciences throughout the 2011-12 academic year, and at the Undergraduate Commencement ceremony, Rozanski bestowed the honorary Doctor of Science upon one of its alumnae, 1975 graduate Maureen G. Maguire, Ph.D.

Maguire joined the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania in July 1994 to establish the Center for Preventive Ophthalmology and Biostatistics. Since then, she has held leadership positions in several multicenter clinical trials for the prevention and treatment of age-related macular degeneration sponsored by industry and the National Institutes of Health. In addition, she was actively involved in the development of the Vision in Preschoolers Study, a National Eye Institute-sponsored, multicenter, clinical investigation of methods for screening young children for vision problems.

As a student at Rider, Maguire was an Andrew J. Rider Scholar and led the Math Club. She graduated summa cum laude as Mathematics major and was chosen as the valedictorian of the Class of 1975. She received her doctoral degree in 1983 from the Department of Biostatistics at the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health and subsequently joined the faculty of the Department of Ophthalmology, School of Medicine, at Johns Hopkins. 

Other Rider and Westminster Choir College Commencement Events:

Thursday, May 10 (Last Night)

Graduate and College of Continuing Studies Commencement

Total receiving diplomas: 410 (246 graduate degrees, 164 College of Continuing Studies)

Honorary Degree Recipient: Aaron Gast, Ph.D.

Aaron Gast, Ph.D., recently retired after more than 32 years of service on the Board of the Charlotte W. Newcombe Foundation of Princeton. Since its inception in 1979 through the end of the 2011 academic year, the Newcombe Foundation has provided more than $17 million in grants for mature women students at 58 colleges and universities in the United States. In 1981, Rider became the first school in the United States to receive funds from the Newcombe Foundation, and since then, it has received more than $1.2 million in scholarship support.

One-third of this total was used to establish an endowed scholarship fund for sacred music students at Westminster Choir College. The remaining two-thirds has funded scholarships for 600 mature women who have graduated from Rider University. This year, Rider will confer degrees on 10 proud Newcombe Scholars.

In December 2011, on the occasion of Gast’s retirement from the Newcombe Board, the Foundation made a major gift to Westminster’s proposed new academic building in support of that project. Gast’s wife, Mickey Gast, a Westminster alumna and member of Rider’s Board of Trustees, is co-chair of the Westminster Campaign Committee.

Aaron Gast served as the pastor to Charlotte Newcombe at the First Presbyterian Church of Germantown in Philadelphia during the final 11 years of her life. During his time at First Presbyterian, Gast guided the congregation in instituting 30 new programs, organizations and features in the church’s life. Significant among them were tutoring sessions and Daily Vacation Bible School. He is also the former dean of the Conwell School of Theology at Temple University. Currently, he is a member of Westminster Choir College’s Dean’s Advisory Council, Westminster Building Campaign Committee and Legacy Society.

Gast earned a Bachelor of Arts from Wheaton College in 1950, a Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1953 and a Ph.D. from the University of Edinburgh in 1956. He was honored with the Doctor of Humane Letters from Davis & Elkins College in 1981, the Doctor of Divinity from Ursinus College in 1982, and the Doctor of Law from Bloomfield College in 1987.

Saturday, May 12

Westminster Choir College’s 83rd Commencement  

10:30 a.m. in the Princeton University Chapel

36 University Place, Princeton, N.J.

Total receiving diplomas: 131 (76 undergraduate, 55 graduate)

Honorary Degree Recipient: Morten Lauridsen, D.M.A.

Morten Lauridsen, D.M.A., is a Distinguished Professor of Composition at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music whose work occupies a permanent place in the standard vocal repertoire of the 21st Century. Lauridsen chaired the Department of Composition at the Thornton School of Music from 1990 to 2002, and founded the School’s Advanced Studies Program in Film Scoring. He was also the Composer-in-Residence of the Los Angeles Master Chorale from 1995 to 2001.

Lauridsen’s five Grammy-nominated recordings include two all-Lauridsen CDs, entitled Lux Aeterna, by Polyphony and the Britten Sinfonia, conducted by Stephen Layton, and by the Los Angeles Master Chorale under the baton of Paul Salamunovich. His O Magnum Mysterium, Dirait-on, O Nata Lux and Sure On This Shining Night are the all-time best-selling choral works distributed by the Theodore Presser Company, a music publishing firm founded in 1783, and his life as a composer was documented in the award-winning 2012 film, Shining Night: A Portrait of Composer Morten Lauridsen, by Michael Stillwater.

In 2006, Lauridsen was named an American Choral Master by the National Endowment for the Arts. The following year, he was awarded the National Medal of Arts, the highest artistic award in the United States, by President George W. Bush in a White House ceremony in recognition of “his composition of radiant choral works combining musical beauty, power, and spiritual depth.”

Live Coverage!

Friday’s Undergraduate Commencement and Saturday’s Westminster Choir College Commencement can be heard live on Rider’s campus radio station, 107.7 FM, The Bronc, beginning at 9:30 and 9:45 a.m., respectively. To listen online to Friday’s event live from Lawrenceville, click here: http://www.rider.edu/commencement. To hear Saturday’s event live from Princeton, click here: http://www.rider.edu/wcc/about-us/commencement. You can also go to http://www.1077thebronc.com/ and click “Listen Live” to hear the broadcast of both events.

A Green Graduation

For the third year in a row, Rider and Westminster Choir College are using GreenWeaver caps and gowns, made from 100 percent, post-consumer recycled plastic bottles, to robe all students for Commencement 2012 exercises. Eco-friendly GreenWeaver gowns are made of fabric spun from molten plastic pellets, producing a comfortably soft fabric that literally turns trash into keepsakes. Each gown represents about 23 bottles.

Produced by Oak Hall Cap & Gown of Salem, Va., the GreenWeaver will be used by approximately 5 percent of colleges and universities this year. GreenWeaver is not biodegradable – Oak Hall vice president Donna Hodges maintains that caps and gowns should be keepsakes for a lifetime – but the fabric is easily recycled into other products, including fabric fill for coats. Oak Hall estimates that approximately 310,000 graduating students will wear GreenWeaver caps and gowns this year, and that the company has diverted about 9 million plastic bottles from landfills.

Learn more about GreenWeaver caps and gowns at:

http://oakhalli.com/greenweavermovement.php.

In addition, the Commencement programs have been printed on recycled FSC Certified paper using vegetable-based inks.

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Some of Rider's newest alumni just after receiving their bachelor's degrees on May 11.