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M.Ed. candidates receive degrees in summer Commencement

Thirty-nine students in the Master of Education program received their Elon University degrees Saturday morning in a Commencement ceremony featuring a keynote address from professor Judith Howard, the longtime director of the education graduate program who retires this month after serving the university since 1993 as a teacher, researcher and mentor.

Degrees were conferred on 39 candidates in Elon University's Master of Education program.

In her remarks to students, their families and their friends, as well as her colleagues in the School of Education, Howard reminded the master’s candidates that their drive to be better teachers is what brought them to Elon for graduate studies. “It was a major step for many of you to come back, a brave step,” she said. “It took time … it took money, in an especially difficult economic period. But you came, and you succeeded, and here you are. That’s what a master teacher does.

“My guess is that sooner rather than later, you’ll begin to think, ‘What can I do now?’” she said. “You’ll begin to grow restless, and you’ll want to move forward again.”

Some graduates will enter the administrative ranks of their school systems, Howard predicted. Others would return to higher education in pursuit of a doctorate. However, “most of you will remain teachers, because the classroom is where you want to be and it’s where your heart is. … My challenge for you today is that you are never completely satisfied.”

After all, she said, that drive for improvement is what fosters passion in the classroom and will help strengthen public faith in the nation’s educational system.

Howard specialized in the design of curriculum and instruction for exceptional learners. During her time at Elon, she produced a series of problem-based curriculum units for use in K-12 classrooms, and her current research explored effective implementation in inclusive settings. She published in professional journals, spoke frequently at professional conferences and consulted with more than 50 school districts nationwide.

Graduates process to Whitley Auditorium for the 10 a.m. ceremony.

Howard arrived at Elon at a time when the school was searching for someone to establish a new special education program. In 1999, she became the director of the Master of Education program and, two years later, restructured the program into its current three-summer cohort configuration for elementary and special education programs. In 2006, she worked to expand the program to include a program for gifted education.

Graduates and their guests also heard from Elon University President Leo M. Lambert and Elon University Provost Steven House.

“We trust that Elon has broadened your character as well as your skills,” House told graduates as he explained the symbolism of the light blue accent color of the hoods they were to receive. “Your achievements, and your allegiance to Elon, will be with you the rest of your life.”

In his charge to graduates, Lambert likened the role of great teachers to those of magicians, changing “conformity into creativity and dependence into self-reliance.” He also lauded them for the way their work will transcend decades as the children they inspire one day enter the world to create positive change.

“The influence of your work on other human beings will carry forward in wonderful and unimaginable ways,” he said. “Thank you for choosing Elon. We are deeply proud of you.”

School of Education faculty took part in the Commencement exercises.

The following students were candidates for the Master of Education degree conferred Aug. 20, 2011:

Nina Conrad Allen
B.A., The University of North Carolina at Wilmington

Allison Lynn Amrhein
B.S., Slippery Rock University

Danielle Kay Baker
B.S., Ashland University

Elaine Marie Baker
B.S., Bowling Green State University

Cary Ellen Brown
B.A., John Carroll University

Crissy Denise Penny Brown
B.A., Greensboro College

Casey Lee Hawkins Byrtus
B.A., The University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Hilary Elizabeth Dodson
B.S., The University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Elon University President Leo M. Lambert presented each candidate with his or her diploma.

Aaron Clark Erskine
B.S., The University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Marty Eugene Erskine
B.S., Clemson University

Jesica Michelle Ridgeway Fitzgerald
B.S., Brigham Young University

Matthew Francis Green
B.S., Appalachian State University

Jeanna Askew Hawkins
B.S., The University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Theresa Anne Vries Hegedus
B.S., University of Pittsburgh

Madison Leigh Barringer Hester
B.A., The University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Shayla Lenai Hilton
B.S., North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University

Jennifer Marie Hoffner
A.B., Elon University

School of Education Dean David Cooper hooded each candidate.

Melissa Nunn Hollomon
B.S., The University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Theresa Joyann Homlish
B.S., University of Delaware

Laura Louise Johnston
B.A., Albion College

Lisa Adelaide Jones
B.A., Appalachian State University

Amy Michelle Kunz Joyce
A.B., Elon University

Sara Childress Kesler
B.A., The University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Sheila Marie Kowalski
B.S., Indiana University

James Holt Lasley, Jr.
B.A., The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Noelle Sherrie Leslie
B.S., The University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Jessica Quinn Mahon
B.A., Hobart & William Smith Colleges

Lorrie Michelle Johnson Meade
B.S., Lees-McRae College
B.A., The University of North Carolina at Asheville

Lisa Annette Brame Miller
B.S., The University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Kimberly Anne Freeman Rate
A.B., Elon University

Tamara Tanasha Kerr Ray
B.A., Northern Caribbean University

Alan Ruffin Rigsbee, II
A.B., Elon University
B.A., North Carolina Central University

Jorge Luis Rivera
B.S., North Carolina State University

Keith Brent Robinson
B.Ed., University of the West Indies

Dannaya Sharelle Sellars
B.S., North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University

Stephanie Michele Sevelovitz
B.A., Elizabethtown College

Nadine Veronica Dennis Stone
B.S., Bennett College

Tya Marie Tyrrell
B.A., Edinboro University

Calla Lea Wilson
B.A., The University of North Carolina at Charlotte
 

Eric Townsend,
Staff
8/20/2011 2:24 PM