Elizabethtown College is honored to have Dr. Pauline Yu as the commencement speaker for the 2012 graduation ceremony. This is the 109th commencement ceremony at Etown and will be held on May 19 at 11 a.m.
The ceremony is a very important occasion for graduating Etown students. It is a day many share with family and friends and will be remembered for the rest of the students’ lives.
A segment of the ceremony that many seniors look forward to is the commencement speaker. The Special Occasions Committee at Etown tries to narrow its choices down to individuals who have impressive accomplishments, and who would be able to give the graduates an inspirational and memorable speech. The committee reviews a large number of speakers who are suggested by faculty, staff, students, trustees or alumni. They then narrow it down to who is available and which speaker would be the best fit.
According to Director of Public Affairs Caroline Lalvani, Yu is the president of the American Council of Learned Societies, a private, nonprofit federation. She received her B.A. in history and literature from Harvard University, and her M.A. and Ph.D. in comparative literature from Stanford University. She is the author of multiple books and has edited some as well. The topics of her books consist of classical Chinese poetry, literary theory, comparative poetics and issues in humanities. She is currently an adjunct professor in East Asian languages and cultures at Columbia University. She has been a trustee on multiple boards, including the Asian Cultural Council and the American Academy in Berlin. From 2003-2009 she was on the Harvard Board of Overseers.
Yu has many accomplishments and will be able to share how she promoted scholarship and research in colleges and universities across the nation. She will also be able to discuss the importance of global studies and inter-cultural understanding. Yu has the potential to inspire attendees and to serve as a role model, a quality often desired in a guest speaker, for those seeking careers in academia.
Etown also holds a commencement ceremony for the Center for Continuing Education and Distance Learning (CCEDL) graduates, which is the adult degree program at Etown. The speaker for this ceremony is Edward R. Murphy, a current member of the College’s Board of Trustees. He has contributed to The Hoover Center for Business and has been a strong supporter of the scholarship program for women that was created through the Charlotte A. Newcombe Foundation. The Committee chose Murphy because he is well-known throughout the center and has been a huge supporter of the adult learners program. It will be a great opportunity for these adults to hear him speak about their hard work and sacrifice in pursuing their education, while supporting their family and keeping up with a job. Murphy was also an adult student, making it easy for the students to connect with him.
Although some seniors may not be looking forward to graduation, for most it will be a day they will remember forever. The commencement ceremony closes a very important chapter of their lives before they are sent out into the “real world.” After a long planning process, the graduates can look forward to qualified and inspiring commencement speakers.