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Press Releases

Monday, May 7, 2007

Parks, Riley, Community Foundation Honored During SU's Spring Commencement

Julius Blattner Calynn Offer Herb Parks
Julius Blattner Calynn Offer Herb Parks

SALISBURY, MD---Salisbury University’s recent Spring Commencement ceremonies honored local community and business leaders, and, for one student, giving a commencement address marked his final moments as a civilian before he shipped out the next day for training for deployment to Iraq.

Julius Blattner of Salisbury, speaker for the 10 a.m. ceremony, received a special exemption from the Maryland Army National Guard to attend graduation before joining his unit as it prepared for the overseas mission. The elementary and early childhood education major spoke on perceptions of time and the importance of spending it wisely. He then graduated with other members of the Franklin P. Perdue School of Business and Samuel W. and Marilyn C. Seidel School of Education and Professional Studies.

During the morning ceremony, SU President Janet Dudley-Eshbach presented alumnus and business leader Herbert Byron “Herb” Parks with an honorary doctorate. From his humble beginnings in Kentucky, then growing up modestly in Cambridge, MD, he went on to found the North Carolina-based firm Byron Investments, Inc., which began brokering as much as $500 million in annual sales within its first four years. Parks was the Perdue School’s first Executive in Residence in 1986.

SU has benefited from his generosity throughout the years. He has helped others from Cambridge, establishing a scholarship for students from that area who plan to pursue business degrees at SU.

He also funded Herb’s Place, which for many years was a recreational area at the Guerrieri University Center. He joked that Herb’s Place was a tribute to the large amount of time he spent as a student playing cards and billiards. In 2006, the game tables were relocated to another part of the Guerrieri Center, and the area was transformed into the state-of-the-art Student Writing Center at Herb’s Place.

Special honors continued during the 2 p.m. ceremony, as Dudley Eshbach presented the first President’s Distinguished Community Leadership Awards to Lewis Riley, Salisbury native and recently retired Maryland Secretary of Agriculture, and the Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore, represented by J. Spicer Bell, executive director. The President created the award this year to allow the University to honor individuals and organizations that make extraordinary contributions to the Lower Eastern Shore.

Students in the Charles R. and Martha N. Fulton School of Liberal Arts and the Richard A. Henson School of Science and Technology graduated during that ceremony, which featured speaker Calynn Offer of Annapolis. The psychology major noted how her experiences at SU, from studying abroad in Ecuador to conducting psychological research, helped prepare her for life after college. Transferring to SU in her sophomore year, she was active in several student organizations, including track and field, and women’s rugby.

Among undergraduates, 630 students received the Bachelor of Science, 486 the Bachelor of Arts, 58 the Bachelor of Social Work and 21 the Bachelor of Fine Arts. Graduate degrees included Master of Social Work—29; Master of Business Administration—33; Master of Education—27; Master of Science—5; Master of Arts in Teaching—3; and Master of Arts—17. A total of 1,255 are members of the Spring Class of 2007.

For more information call 410-543-6030 or visit the SU Web site at

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