Reminding the 552 students who received their degrees on Sunday, May 17, of the vast opportunities ahead of them, the Reverend James Morris Lawson, Jr., delivered an inspiring Commencement address that asked the 524 undergraduates and 28 master’s degree students “to make your life count in every fashion possible.”
Renowned as one of the most important advocates for nonviolence in American history, Lawson was once described by the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., as the “leading theorist and strategist of nonviolence in the world.”
For Lawson, being invited to speak at Trinity’s 189th Commencement held personal meaning. He recalled his time in Los Angeles as pastor of Holman United Methodist Church. Among the congregants was the family of Joanne Berger-Sweeney, then a high school student. The 2015 ceremony was Berger-Sweeney’s first Commencement as Trinity’s president.
The valedictorians were Donald L. McLagan Presidential Scholar Erin Carroll Barney of Stamford, Connecticut, who graduated summa cum laude with honors in engineering science and with honors in psychology, and Posse Scholar William Theodore Schreiber-Stainthorp of Chicago, Illinois, who graduated summa cum laude with honors in neuroscience. The salutatorian was Larsson Family Scholar Binod Giri of Nepal, who graduated summa cum laude with honors in engineering and mathematics.
The Trustee Award for Faculty Excellence went to Dan Lloyd, Brownell Professor of Philosophy, and the Trustee Award for Staff Excellence was awarded to Alison J. Draper, director of the Science Center and lecturer in interdisciplinary science. The Trustee Award for Student Excellence went to Binod Giri and Caroline Benson Hayes.
Daniel Blackburn, Thomas S. Johnson Distinguished Professor of Biology, received the Thomas Church Brownell Prize for Teaching Excellence, and Daniel Mrozowski, visiting assistant professor of English, received the Arthur H. Hughes Award for Teaching Excellence.
Recipients of Charles A. Dana Research Professorships were Sarah Raskin, professor of psychology and neuroscience; Stefanie Chambers, associate professor of political science; and Anne Lambright, associate professor of language and culture studies.
Lawson received an honorary doctor of divinity degree. Other honorands were JoAnne A. Epps ’73, dean of Temple University’s Beasley School of Law, who received an honorary doctor of laws degree; Jon A. Reynolds ’59, U.S. Air Force brigadier general, retired, and former prisoner of war, who received an honorary doctor of humane letters degree; and George Allen Weiss, founder of the nonprofit education organization Say Yes to Education, who received an honorary doctor of humane letters degree.
For more Commencement photos, visit our Flickr gallery. An archived webcast of the ceremony is available below.